I think we are all dreamers at birth, and somewhere along the way, disappointments, challenges and life in general has a way of smothering the dreamer in us. I discovered that somewhere in my life I stopped dreaming. Adulting much? ‘Despite That’ requires me to take stock of the good in my life, my community and my nation, and hope for what could be better.
I found that people have more in common than we have differences. It is when we define these commonalities that we divide ourselves as us and them. We all have a desire to be heard, seen and celebrated. We are all creative beings with a deep expression of what it means to be human right now, wherever we are placed. Some of our expressions sound like joy, some like despair, some anger, but all with the ability to evoke emotion and perhaps solidarity with the next person. None of those emotions are foreign to the listener on the other side of the screen, even if the experience that gave birth to the expression may be. We all have pain and we all sometimes want to dance in the rain, right? Or is that just me?
As a young Brown South-African living in Cape Town I am more than just the dances, songs, colours and pain that the media portrays. There are thousands of stories embedded in my veins. Stories of courage, holding on to hope and fighting for justice. Stories from my ancestors, stories of deep joy, innovation and the stories we dream of for the ones still to come. We are a deeply spiritual people, infinitely creative, and the ‘we will rise, come what may’ mantra seems to be part of our DNA.
To me ‘Despite that’ means to look at life in the context of light, at myself, my community and others. Where there is light, there is life. Where there is life, there is hope.
It takes a lot of courage to live in the light, to dream and show up as your most authentic self. Dreamers are bold, and revolutionary. I think we are all created to dance in the light and yes I know, sometimes it's night and darkness seems daunting, but I hope through this project people are encouraged to dream again, so that when day comes we can get to work and make those dreams our reality.
- Gracia Nicholls, South Roots International