Johannesburg’s traffic lights, intersections and stop signs almost seem naked and missing an important feature if there is no beggar in the vicinity. This is one of the city’s features that both serves as a constant reminder of the country’s history, a litmus test of the present and a glance into the future. Beggars hang a piece of cardboard on their necks with almost the same desperation and heaviness delivered by the content of the words written on it. The passer-by is savagely hi-jacked and kept hostage for a few seconds while with every word they are drawn deeper into a life of a complete stranger. The viewer is then offered an option to leave the intersection with grinding guilt or pay a ransom and with God’s blessings buy another day in paradise. The viewer is also subliminally reassured that their lives are more comfortable, well off and comprehensively better that of “others”.
But, is there an “others”? Or are we all the same at the end of the day when that moment of reflection visits just before we sleep? What would the “comfortable general public” write if they were to write their stories on pieces of cardboard? What are their desperations? What is their story? Is it a story that links us all and keeps us waking up to go chase our different endeavours on a daily in this high rise jungle called Johannesburg? Or are we different with different fortunes and despairs?
Johannesburg is a place of dreams and hopes shattered or realised. If we didn’t’ know better we would call it a God. Jo’burg is loving, demanding of praise, nurturing, brutal, generous, protective and harsh. We almost owe our lives to it and it owes its life to us. It shapes our view of the world, what we are today and wish to be. Johannesburg is the uncelebrated God. From the time we wake till we retire back to our homes, we unconsciously ask Johannesburg to bless us and may its favour fall upon us. “May Johannesburg Bless Me” is an unconscious prayer.
Authentic Creatives seeks to answer these uncommon questions. We want to tell the story of the supposedly “comfortable” public. Stories about lives and personal problems that seem disconnected yet one worse than the other.