I am entering the last week of my stay here in South Africa and my thoughts begin to turn towards home. I am missing my dog for sure. Nearly everyone here has a dog and so I haven't been short of canine company. There are many beautiful pet dogs that are soft and soppy and who roll over at the drop of a hat to have their tummy tickled but there are also guard dogs that bark and bark and bark and bark. Their owners often seem to be struggling to control them. Most people who I have seen with dogs are white, this maybe circumstance rather than a culturally norm but reading about the role of dogs during Apartheid gives an insight into why black and coloured people don't perceive dogs as 'man's best friend' or rather as 'white man's best friend'.
I had my first conversation in South African Sign Language yesterday (not the guy from Mandela's speech). I discovered the South African sign for HOME is the same as the British sign for CONNECT or ENGAGE. Our sign for HOME is iconic and is the representation of the roof of a house. It is completely understandable given the high proportion of homeless and roofless people that an iconic sign not be used. The South African sign represents the feeling of home.
I gave two performances of Still Life yesterday and Sunday and had a most gratifying response. The atmosphere in the hall where it was performed was warm and responsive and I felt the work to be listened to and understood. This country gets under your skin very quickly and demands a loyalty and commitment...one goes quite quickly from first date to marriage. As much as I am keenly anticipating my return home (iconic sign of a roof) I also hope to return to my home (conceptual sign meaning connection) here in South Africa.