A Slice of Gay Pie: What is Home?
By: Juanne-Pierre de Abreu
Published October 2011
In Cape Town, the city with oodles of possibilities, however lacking any real sense of urgency, I find myself wondering if it has become my home yet? And not to say that I am wondering if I am a Cape Tonian yet or not, but how comfortable am I really in a city filled with strangers? It is the saying we have all heard before “Home is where the heart is”. So when do we know we are home? When do we know for sure that which our heart deems home sweet home is in actual fact home sweet home?
Packing a bag and heading back to Johannesburg for work, I decided it was time to put myself to the test and see whether I ran away from Johannesburg or if I ran towards Cape Town. Where does my heart lie?
I land in OR Tambo and the land is dusty and brown. The crisp air reminds me of early hours waking up for school time. A memory I care not to remember because lets face it, coming out is really when I felt my life began and I only did so in my Matric year. So with miserable memories flushing back into the foreground of my mind I am already very unimpressed to be back… ‘home’.
So would it be fair of me to totally throw all that Johannesburg is made up of, down the sink merely because it is bitterly cold, unattractive and dry? Of course not, because what makes Jozzie town an amazing city are the people, the many different faces and smiles that have all seemed to find themselves crammed into this, albeit very large, landmass. Working hard and socializing even harder. It’s the city of cool people. So why have I left? Why have I abandoned all these very amazing South African people for another city.
The sea is a biggie, the mountain too, the foreign men are a bonus but it all boils down to the fact that I can walk the streets… and no I do not mean work the streets. In Cape Town, it is possible to walk the streets of the city at night. Yes, one should always be vigilant but the walking of the streets has more to do with the fact that it is pedestrian friendly than because it is not as riddled with crime as the City of gold. If one has to walk around in Jozzie you mainly just walk past high wall after high wall, security complex after security complex. This is hardly pleasing to any of the senses when one wants to take a stroll just around their block.
Hardly half way through my project and I am missing Cape Town, missing the moisture in the air that the cool sea breeze brings in and missing the sidewalk shops that I pass on my way to the grocery shop - sans the mall. However, Jozzie is my little sin city now. The men are so delicious with their inviting attitude and friendly demur. One cannot help but to dive off the top high board towards the deep, swirling pool of men… all waiting to swim with you.
With all the back stabbing that goes on in the Mother City it was good to be back amongst men who understand what it means to be a community. It took me a while to drop the whole “Don’t touch me” attitude I adopted from that little Mountainous Seaside Village but eventually I swam. I dived down so deep I almost did not come up for air. Almost.
But Like any good Sin City, there is always a time when we have to leave. And I will say it again: There comes a time we HAVE to leave. This time of year shows us exactly how amazing change can be. Spring is in full force up here on the Highveld. The first thunderstorm has raged over our heads, flashing its bright lights and cracking some pretty fierce thunder. And the flowers are in full bloom, which fills the morning and evening air with some of the sweetest smells. Now I prepare to get my overworked ass back home. Leaving Jozzie town to return to my lazy little Village by the sea and next to the mountain. It has become my home even though it seems I am going home to nobody… but like spring from winter, we learn that something will come from nothing and with the best treatment it can blossom.