So where does an addict go to convalesce, in South Africa?
If money’s no option, and you like to hob-knob with local celebs and schlebs (monied non-celebs, who think that they should be celebs and behave accordingly…) you could always trade in your vice at either the Oasis Counselling Centre, in Plettenberg Bay, or at Stepping Stones, outside Cape Town, or if you’d like to be brow-beaten into submission, with a theological mien, Noupoort – also in the Cape – is an option. One place I love to visit, if only for their beautiful setting, is The Cedars, in Scottburgh, Kwazulu-Natal. Jozi’s famous Houghton House is a choice (now THERE’S a word that needs re-looking: CHOICE!) along with the globally recognisable Narcotics Anonymous.
But I’m homeless, and penniless, so these six options are not options at all, unless the state pays, and while I agree I’m at rock bottom, and fast becoming familiar with the territory, I have not yet had to have the South African government intervene on my behalf…yet…I aim to keep it out of my life, as far as possible!
Musina is my port of call, the charity and beneficence of my brother and sister-in-law having relocated me to the farmhouse they call home, on Dongola Ranch, some 30km west of Musina, on the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana. It’s hot, it’s dusty. It’s so far from anywhere that even the Middle of Nowhere is far away. There are animals, there are creepy-crawlies…and there are snakes. Plenty of them.
I used to think places like this were hell, but as my mind settles from the crazy psychotropic fantasies I created through my…hey, let’s not get all P.C. here, by calling it my “substance dependency“, and call it what it is: my drug addiction, I realise that this facsimile of the Garden of Eden is probably the very best place I can be, to get straight.
Bathed each day by the magnificent African sun, who unashamadely puts on a phantasmagoric light show, twice, daily, and then mesmerised by the lunar strobe and stellar swathes that arch across the night sky, Dongola’s ambience, if only you lift your eyes above the horizon, are unmatched in their awesomeness, certainly in my recent experience: they beget awe, in major amounts, in anyone lucky enough to witness them.
Last night, I was caressed by the urgent, hot and truculent wind, a mini Chinook, a tiny Sirocco, eine kleine Föhn (look them up – I’ve given you six hyperlinks already, you lazy sod, you!) that my brother – we’ll call him Geordie, (though he’s not from Tyneside) tells me brings destructive, violent storms. Though I don’t wish violence or destruction on anyone – not even the sod who stole my shoulder bag, yesterday, with every important piece of paper I need in it – I do love a dramatic storm. Also, Oneiro, in his track “Shhhh!” bids us to remember that “madness and unreason, have often moved the world forward, and pure passion, has created most of the beauty and the music you love…”
And pure passion, that is everything that a beautiful, sonorous, dramatic storm is…much like the recent months of my life, and the reason I am sitting here, today.
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