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A Leap of Faith on Youth Day…

Youth Day started out like any other Public Holiday…slight hangover, out of bed at 8, showered and ready, Twitter, Facebook and a cup of tea…because I’m good like that!

What made this day a little more visceral than most was the fact that I would be jumping off a suspended bridge which evidently hangs between two towers…made of flimsy wood and concrete might I add…yes – Orlando Towers Bungee Jumping – sounds, stupid, is stupid, is awesome! Now, many of you might not know this about me, but I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, which doesn’t mean I go skipping around on a super-bike nor does it mean that I wrestle crocodiles for fun on the weekend – that’s my day job and it’s getting kind of boring – but what it does mean is that I will never back out of a crazy challenge, will always want to go higher and faster and will always be the guys to attempt to “freak you out” just before…because, you know, I’m good like that!

Apart from the mind-blowing anticipation of hurling myself off a flimsy bridge somewhere in Soweto…it was Youth Day and therefore decided we should do the jump in our (or whatever we could find) school uniforms – okay, it was just the blazers – mine, no where to be seen and my 61kg-in-Matric-at-the-time-brother’s blazer would have torn from my shoulders in a Hulk-like fashion if I attempted to scratch my nose – so I went in my old jersey which was honestly the only shred of evidence I ever attended that school!

Okay, Okay…I kid the nostalgic people…I’m a hoarder so I still have everything…even my old study notes from Matric finals…what a nerd! But, the blazer…no where to be seen…wasn’t going to stop me from jumping though…so off we went!

Arriving at the “jump site”, I was surprised to see the set up they had actually constructed…”hey, it seems kosher…” a friend utters to me on the side. Yes, because I’m concerned about my Yiddish heritage round about now…have you seen how high that f-ing thing is? I want to say to him while clasping my hands around his neck – no really – it always seems higher than what it is from the ground up…foreshortening and all that I thought to myself. (Nevermind the view from up there…yoh!)

After signing my life away via the Indemnity Form, we were weighed and sent on our way to continue to anticipate ourselves to death. “Strapping up” gave me the most visceral sense of nostalgia…yes, nostalgia…it’s true…I have had an assisted-attempted-no-so-much-suicidal jump before and not so previously  jumped Victoria Falls Bridge before (2008)…let it be known…but the feeling was unmistakable and truly brings reality home!

Have I mentioned that upon arrival, we were greeted by a film crew from FIFA? No…oh…well, listen to this…this crew have been trawling the South African cultural and activity based hot-spots since last week, documenting some of the greatest sights, sounds and activities to do in South Africa – not specifically during the World Cup – but as a constant gem that every South African should be able to share…

Yeah…so they were Poms yeah…*stop it*…can’t help but mimic an accent when I hear it – strange brain.

One of our seemingly “fearless crew” even got microphone up – I declined upon initial offer as I’m suprised at 90% of the things that come from out of my mouth and I assured them that damn near everything I said would have to be *bleeped* out…or *beeped* out…or…you *beeping* get it right? Yeah…*snort*

Right…! Did I also mention it was freezing…supposedly this week will have the lowest registered mean temperatures since June 1994 and we all remember what that was like — NOT! — I kid the fogies…! I remember being this cold, but it wasn’t in this country…it wasn’t even in this hemisphere…! To make matters worse, we ascended the incredible convex then concave watering tower as angles that would have made Michael “Smooth Criminal” lean look pitiful! At the top – what a view – it was literally breathtaking and ignoring the fact that we couldn’t see Soccer City from up top due to the Mine Dump, it was incredible to be experiencing such unadulterated glee…appropriately on Youth Day!

The Jump was insane…

Pure natural high…the only one you need.

Geronimo!!! I screamed BAFANAAAAAAAA…!!! *snort*

Jumping Vic Falls was good…thinking back to it, I can’t picture the ground or the sides of the canyon as I went down, all I can picture and remember quite vividly was the sight of the bridge at my feet as I bounced back up! “The Leap of Faith” was exhilarating, even more than Vic Falls (111m free fall) because of…the ground rush…yes, watching the ground come screaming up directly at your face as you hurtle towards the ground…it’s insane…but such a rush…a complete and utter natural high!

After landing and the celebratory hugs and high-fives, we headed off to a “Shisanyama”…feel bad for not remembering the correct spelling – will correct it later if I have referenced it wrong! So apologies in advance! For writing purposes, I will call it an “eatery” – now, I don’t want to hear the, “Oh, I’ve been to Wandies Place bro, I know all about it”…shut up, because you don’t…I can honestly say that I have not been to an more rural establishment in my life…AND without taking a breath I can say, with complete and utter confidence that every single South African should pay a visit to that “eatery”.

Without divulging too much into the emotional side of things…let me outline a couple of things that you can hopefully place a reference to: 7 Quickies…

  1. The crowd95% local – This is a venue that is frequented by more than ±2000 people on an “average” Friday night – “Are you serious?” You may ask…serious as Cancer buddy! Unbelievable potential…!
  2. The meatamazing – better than any “Dutchman-Braai” I have ever had, better than any take away I have ever had and better than my own damn cooking and I have the hidden ability to whip up quite the storm when in the mood! Oh…and did I mention that someone cooks it for you, on a braai the size of a Ping-Pong table, and the chef remembers every single persons order and selection of meat…just amazing!
  3. The beera steal – literally, when I tell you that to acquire your tasty beverage all you have to do is walk half way round the “block” – a mere 50m – to the local Bottle Store where….wait for it…wait….just wait……………….a quarts (660ml) beer is R10-00 – I’ll say it again…real slow for all you new people…R10-00……………for……………660ml of beer…! Beat that!
  4. The papinsatiable – I could easily just have eaten the the pap with Atchar and chili-salsa on the side – and for all you new people, pap is a traditionally African dish, a porridge made from mielie-meal (ground maize or other grain) – it is delicious – better than delicious…it’s incredible!
  5. Plastictruth – there are no cushioned chairs here people, plastic tables and chairs all round – most people are happy to just have a seat but evidently the vibe at the “eatery” builds at such a pace before the sun sets that you feel almost compelled to stand…I stood. Not while I ate, but I stood and chatted.
  6. Handsdouble truth – there are NO knives and forks here “my love”, you use your hands making sure not to mix sauces too much and no licking of fingers until you have finished eating – hygienic reasons and all that…LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT…there truly is something special about eating with your hands…(so many things come to mind *ahem*)
  7. Brothersconnected – apart from the close friends I experienced the day with…I felt connected, not only to the other 95% of the people around me, but to the heritage and the past that the establishment held, the town held and without a doubt the significance of the Day in which we celebrate the lives of the youths who gave their lives in the battle for freedom against the Apartheid regime.

Youth Day on 16 June in South Africa commemorates the start of the Soweto Riots of 1976, initially sparked by a government edict that all instruction in black schools would be held in Afrikaans. The iconic picture of Hector Pieterson, a black schoolchild shot by the police, brought home to many people within and outside South Africa the brutalities of the Apartheid regime.

Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo after being shot by South African police. His sister, Antoinette Sithole runs beside them.

Yes…even connected to something as horrific and shocking as that…I felt connected!

This Day was more to me than just an adrenaline rush and a “trendy township tour”…

…it was my “Leap of Faith”.


4 comments on “A Leap of Faith on Youth Day…

  1. Pingback: A Truly African experience at Panyaza | Rate That Restaurant

    • davidanthony0904
      June 18, 2010

      The lunch at the Panyaza made it all worth it…what an incredible experience!

  2. Celine
    June 18, 2010

    You captured it perfectly Dave- a gifted writer you are!
    What an experience- Every South African needs to visit Panyaza in Soweto and if you are brave- do the jump at the Orlando Towers- You won’t regret it!

    • davidanthony0904
      June 18, 2010

      Thanks Celine, truly appreciate that!

      Just so everyone knows, Celine…”The Master-of-The-Towers” bungee jumped backwards – yes – frikking backwards…here we are, 5 testosterone gents thinking we’re all big and bad making our own leaps of faith on the day and Celine, with a touch ever so deft, decides to fall backwards off a 100m drop…our Hero!!!

      Thanks for commenting Cini!

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This entry was posted on June 18, 2010 by in Blogging, David Alves, Johanneburg and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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