Yes. I baked banana bread during Lockdown.
I don’t particularly know why there is a banana bread craze. Maybe it’s because it’s relatively easy, it gives you something to do with the panic bananas you bought, it’s not fancy and it’s just pretty damn moreish.
I also don’t know why I made roti after about 10 years and various other dishes that had my pressure cooker whistling like an old Bollywood actor. These were dishes that would make most Indian Aunties proud, as they rush to draw up my profile for Shaadi.com (a famous marriage site).
When I think about it, I think making is a way of fighting back.
Just over a week ago, I was asked by Preetesh Sewraj, the new CEO of the Loeries, to write a positive piece about trading in a post-Covid environment. Like any true creative, I procrastinated. But then I went well over the acceptable procrastination period and had to question myself a little deeper.
The truth: It’s hard to be positive in these times. Positivity feels like privilege. It’s also hard when you’re a creative and quite used to feeling so much and wearing your skin inside-out. It’s hard because I think most of us are sitting in the middle of the see-saw, constantly falling towards fear and constantly climbing up to hope.
I’m no analyst so I’m not going to try to predict what the future of business looks like. But I am a creative and I will say that the best examples of creativity come from adversity – from strife in your heart, fear in your boots and restlessness in your soul. It comes from being vulnerable and seeing your weaknesses pour out of you like a leaky gut. It comes from crying your ugly tears and talking to yourself till you reach your core. And when we reach the core of what makes us who we are, we can relate to others through what we make and put out into the world.
This is the time to reflect and to create, despite everything. Creativity becomes our quiet defiance against the mighty virus. It’s what we do. We find resilience through meme-able joys and silly and provocative humour. We expand consciousness through storytelling and juicy slices of expression. And in spite of distance, we reach humanity by saying the unsaid, by uncovering the unseen and by being the most human we have ever been.
Our President, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his 9th of April address said, “We will learn from global experience and the best scientific evidence but we will craft a uniquely South African response.” And there it is. If there’s anything we’ve learnt about South Africa, it’s that we do things our own way. We have our own brand of humour and an arsenal of creativity and ingenuity that is enviable. We were born different and we will find our own unique ways of surviving and thriving. Though everything we know is being challenged right now and though we are scared, I know that the South African spirit is perfectly au fait with being reincarnated over and over again.
Arundhati Roy recently wrote an article called, “The Pandemic is a Portal”. She said, “We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
From our Ndlovu Youth Choir, to Sho Madjozi and Loui London, to Gilli Apter, Coconut Kelz, Loyiso Madinga, Laz Gola, Donovan and Davina Mae, to TikTok legends and Black Twitter, to our young advertising creatives and designers, to Tshepho the Jean Maker, to Kagiso Lediga, to Nelson Makamo and yes – even you, Rasta, to my mom learning to play the guitar all over again at 70, and to you quietly celebrating your banana bread baby…You are the creative soldiers of this country. You will help us all imagine another world. And we’ll be ready to fight for it.