Ten years ago, at the very last day of our stay in South Africa then before flying back home, we were mugged in downtown Johannesburg. Because money and driving licence was stolen we had to visit the nearest police station at John Vorster Square to have a report made.
Next to office where my partner Linnemore was active spreading her knowledge there was a glove factory. I was welcome to move around freely and take as many pictures as desired. This metal ‘thing’ was hot, if not to say bloody hot I notice, to iron the newly made gloves.
Since we only had five days in KWT I asked our contacts if they knew of someone who could accompany me on my photo safari in the hope that this person would get me directly to places I would not easily find being on my own. I was brought in contact with ‘T-man’, a young artist who would probably understand what I was after.
Often people try to compare themselves and others with animals. According to my girlfriend for example, I am a beluga whale. I at first was not familiar with the beluga whale, but since seeing some pictures, I completely agree. The resemblance is uncanny.
But more interesting I think it gets when you compare people with objects. I found that out on a Brussels’ terrace last summer when I compared a friend of mine with a pallet. A comparison that the other people at the table – to my own surprise – wholeheartedly agreed with.
I also found out then that you have to be careful when making comparisons with objects. When I compared another friend with a flypaper, she did not seem to like that. Apparently flypaper is anything but a compliment.
Since last weekend I also know what kind of object I myself can be compared with. While I was waiting on the train station of Antwerp a man came standing next to me who was on the phone with a friend. That friend was also somewhere in the station but they had trouble finding each other. In an attempt to accurately describe where he was, he suddenly noticed me.
“I’m standing next to a man with red hair.” He said.
It took his friend another three minutes to find us. Just at the moment my train rolled in the station. I actually wanted to use those three minutes to get a coffee, but I decided to stay put. Because it’s sometimes better to be what people think you are. And in my case that is apparently a meeting point.
Photo: Lev Ilizirov
These days there seem to be a higher degree of biodiversity in the city than in rural areas. The bee population in the city is in good shape. There are grants for façade gardens. People throw seed bombs in the verges along the highway. Flat roofs are planted with mosses and succulents.