thursday, june 26th:
“houston, we have a problem!”, says one of the actors looking out the window of the green-room yesterday. we shoot in the centre of town, in a building right next to the carlton centre and only a few blocks from the M2 which is visible from the 6th floor. i look to see what he’s talking about. nothing. as in no movement on the freeway. cars are literally, parked. a spar truck is clearly visible, trapped amidst innumerable other frustrated motorists. 2 hours later; it is still there. ditto an hour later. meanwhile lasz calls to tell me that there’s a problem on the freeway. the office starts getting calls. on the really sucky internet connection in production, the p.a. starts checking the news sites.
metro police are protesting. their salary demands are not being met so they’ve taken to the streets and are basically holding thousands of people hostage by blocking off freeway on and off ramps. everybody’s lives on hold. what we don’t know till the next day, is that there is a shoot out. police are shooting rubber bullets, the metro police respond with live rounds. at least one metro police woman dies. people’s cars are damaged as the people meant to protect and serve, play shoot-’em-up. all over johannesburg, thousands of children are waiting to be picked up from school, waiting to be fed. waiting. i wonder about the countless stories waiting to be told by each of those trapped workers, travellers. people with their lives disrupted. what disasters happened elsewhere because someone could not be there on time, because someone got caught up in a knot of metal ants on the M2. most of these stories we’ll never know, but i wonder.
i finally get home at 9pm when the roads have cleared.
uh huh. just another day in africa.
(image from the star online)