This time last year, I had a job in the Television industry in Cape Town. I was earning a salary that allowed me to rent in Cape Town CBD, do groceries and help out my sisters where I could.
But, deep inside me was a feeling of exhaustion because the industry was just too fast-paced and I wanted more money for those hours that the job demanded. Also, I couldn’t do my art. The artist inside me was dying and was causing turmoil in everything I did.
By May, I had had enough of that life. My contract was going to come to an end anyway so I asked that I be released from it. The manager needed some research done so she asked me to stay one more month. That month was the most horrible month of my year, I was too exhausted. The work was still the same, the team were doing their best to be supportive but my entire being had shut down. I was done with that life. I was done with the job and I was done with Cape Town.
For a month, I stayed in my place jobless, applying for work with no luck. Then, in August, I had to go to Kenya for a poetry festival..
I knew when I was in Kenya that I would not go back to Cape Town. Something in me was saying “move to Joburg.” So, after Kenya, moving to Joburg is exactly what I did; with no family, one or two friends there, no job and not much of a plan. When I was running out of money, I decided to go and find cheaper accommodation in Soweto (where I currently live) and two month later, I got an opportunity to go back to Cape Town to write and direct for a short film.
When I was leaving Cape Town, people said “stay for this year at least,” “why are you moving to Joburg? Cape Town is where it’s happening,” and “Joburg is horrible.” I remember my previous employer telling me not to go to Joburg unless there is a job waiting for me there. He meant well because he had had his fair share of a tough time in Joburg when he was younger. “Zee,” he said, “there are many young hopefuls like yourself in Joburg that end up being junkies, everyone will be looking for what you are looking for.” I wasn’t shaken. I was nervous but I knew that my heart, my mind and my body wouldn’t all be wrong on a decision like this.
When things got really bad in Johannesburg when I had just arrived, there were offers from friends who wanted to pay my rent out of the blue, people reaching out tremendously and so on, and that is partly how I survived. I remember sending my friend a text saying, “shit, my mother who is late is really looking out for her daughter.” And, honestly, being in Johannesburg is really the first time I have felt the presence of being protected and guided constantly like this by a power that is higher than me.
I didn’t know why there was urgency for me to leave Cape Town so suddenly, but the feeling for me to do so was too strong, that even when I was being convinced otherwise, I could not take those in. Also, my sister had just had her second child and was living in a very small space. My father couldn’t help me, my mother is no more, so I had to make a plan for myself feeling like, “shit, Zee, you are on your own for real now.” In Cape Town, there was always the comfort of my two sister who are there though financially they can’t help, but they are there, you know?
The most important thing is that I listened to the spirits that guided me here because sometimes, the things we are feeling deep inside cannot be explained in words, only in taking the action you are supposed to take.
I’m meeting a lot of people who are stuck, the same way I sometimes am because of bills and all the fear surrounded things which bombard our lives.
But, today, make a decision to just take the leap of faith and go especially when what’s holding you back is fear of what you will eat and so on. Listen to your intuition and go to where you need to be. There are certain places in your life where you won’t progress as you should for whatever reasons. This might not apply to a geographic space to some of you, maybe in a job or a relationship or a state of being, but leave if that’s what your intuition is telling you. You obviously need to be very much in touch with yourself to hear those things. With all of the trials and tribulations that come with being in Johannesburg right now, I would do it all over again – because when your heart is not in something anymore, habit is not enough. You just need to go for your own good.