walk into a bar. No - this is not a more cultural version of the joke, it was the first scene of the 3-day workshop which kick-started earlier tonight. I have a great feeling about the talented group of people I had the pleasure of meeting, hence the smiley face. This is just a small update to let everyone know that we ARE having an immensely productive, activity filled, expectations breaking, sleep depriving at times, horizon expanding and mostly fun 3 days ahead of us.
Joburg becomes, based on our own presumptions, interests, practices and experiences, one and the many. I have always been fascinated with the way in which this ambiguity, ambivalence and tentativeness of meaning operates in different circumstances. Why do I ramble about this tonight? Because, as I read your emails, your expectations, your desires and your hopes from this workshop, I realise that this workshop is not merely what I intended it to be, or what somebody designed it to be. This workshop, with its many faces, is going to be what You want it to be.
Apart from the vibrancy, lifestyle, culture and the spectacular hospitality of the city that is going to be the backdrop to our second Digital Natives workshop on My Bubble, My Space, My Voice, there is something else that perhaps needs invoking. For us, travelling from India, South Africa has special resonances. This is the country where Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of the modern Indian nation, learned his values and strategies of non-violence, non-cooperation and civil disobedience – things that were later going to help India gain independence from the British Colonisation.
I almost missed it. I was sulking when i called the African Commons office mid-day Friday to inform them that i couldn't retrieve my passport at the South African embassy in Nigeria and wouldn't be able to do so until next week wednesday after the conference has ended. Alhtough, painful, i was a little consoled at the options of joining via skype.
However, with anger, i went back to the embassy, to demand my passport, if i wasn't going to South Africa again, then i don't need the visa. To my surprise and astonishment, i met another officer and my passport with a valid visa was produced.