Day one was definitely going to be a day of firsts, first time on an underground train, the famous double decker London buses and first time meeting so many people from all walks of life.
So Zanele finally finds her way to Heathrow airport and off we went to the underground train. The city is always on the move, always rushing despite the fact that the trains come every few minutes from each other. One thing that struck me about the London Underground was how effective the communication was, from the station assistance to the graphic maps and the intercom voice telling the next stop and if you need to change over for other destination ect. Even normal pedestrians are happy to help a lost noob like me. The standards of service are really not that different from that of the airport.
From a quick bite at Burger King I desperately needed a shower and a nap wouldn’t hurt since I couldn’t get much sleep on the plain but my excitement wouldn’t let me miss out on the London experience and Zanele’s scheduled talk at the London school of fashion put together by The Photographer’s Gallery.
Public commuting really helps you grasp how big and diverse London is and that’s what you get using the bus system. Zanele also had to freshen up at her friend’s place Rene also a photographer but more into curating artists like Zanele. We struck an interesting conversation about the use of sexuality as a device in the movie Ex Machina, to post modernistic art and what it means for art and so on.
Time to head to The Photographer’s Gallery for the talk on Zanele’s work as a nominee on the Deutsch Borse prize. As the people start coming in and the BBC broadcaster, Bidisha starts introducing Zanele and her work shown around the world I am reminded on what an active and driven a person Zanele really is. When she started presenting her own work with such insight and intention on telling a specific story through visuals and how intimately she knew her participants I was truly inspired and enlightened.
As we went out I glanced at my wrist watch and looked outside, it just didn’t make sense, the time was 8:45pm but outside it was bright as noon. I mumbled to myself: shouldn’t I be asleep now?
But a local lady over heard me and she replied humorously: you probably should be. But the night was young and Zanele had a craving for some Japanese food. So Janice a Canadian born photographer turned curator who thought I too was from Canada because of my strange accent thought of a newly opened spot called Wagamama just across the street.
A local lad Oli joined us and we started chatting about a ton of things from where we come from to the history of the Zulu people, I waffled my way around that introspective, lengthy conversation because to be honest I grew up in the township where Zulu historic pride has been watered down a bit.
The food was really amazing, I couldn’t stop telling Janice and Oli about how well Wagamama would do back home. As Janice said maybe that should be my next venture, bringing Wagamama to South Africa.
by Dalisu Ngobese
2015 April 20: My best experience in New York
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