Visual · June 24, 2018
Dreams + Discoveries in Johannesburg
We arrive at the airport and immediately after we step off the plane, I become excited, flustered, and jet-lagged. At the time, I wasn't sure if my anxiety was gradually rising because I’d finally made it to South Africa, or because of the assertive men that were trying to convince me to let them carry my luggage to a taxi that was within a 12-foot radius for "only 40 RAND." It could have been a combination of the two. During this moment, my thoughts are so focused on unpacking and reuniting with my South African friends.
We arrive 20 minutes after my departure from the airport; I'm already feeling at home.
It's day 6, and I'm lying in the backyard garden. There is lavender, cabbage, tomatoes, and aloe vera growing. I tear off the top piece of the aloe vera plant and rub the gel onto my scars. My bisabuela was an aloe advocate. As she was rubbing it into my arms under the hot Puerto Rico sun, she’d say “sé que apesta.”
I feel like I could stay here forever. The connection I feel with the community, nature, and self here is indescribable. I had a conversation last night with friends centered around colorism, black resistance, resilience and most importantly, power. For some reason, the phrase that resonated with me the most was “America may have advantages on us in a technological and economic sense, but we have so many other resourceful advantages.” I go to steep some rooibos tea and go for a walk. I tell myself “breathe in and out.” As I focus on my breathing pattern, I make an intention to pay close attention my actions and the impact of my words.
Tonight, we have a new moon Braam at our house. Earlier in the day, we went to the local crystal shop to purchase everything we needed for the Braam. It's the day before New Year's Eve, and I've started writing out my new year intentions & resolutions. Each intention - I recite aloud so that they manifest. I'm trying to turn my dreams and goals into reality. I'm working on finding my happy place.
It’s New Year’s Eve and my friends and I are getting ready for Afropunk. We're doing each others makeup, creating last-minute outfits, and blasting "Omunye" on repeat. All the ladies are in the bathroom so of course, we're running late. We take a few shots of gin and call our taxi to head out to the Constitutional Hill.
I’m standing in this boisterous crowd. Everyone is screaming “Anderson! ANDERSON!” waiting for Anderson Paak to perform on stage. He performs and kills his set! We all patiently wait for the countdown to start. The crowd slowly starts the countdown “10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 Happy New Year!” As soon as the countdown ended I begin to cry tears of joy, triumph, and relief. I cannot believe I am bringing in my new year in Africa. At this moment, I can’t fathom that my feet are standing on African soil. My ancestors were celebrating and dancing in the crowd with me. I know I am leaving South Africa an entirely different woman than when I arrived. Alas, I'm becoming the woman I envisioned myself to be.
As told by
Diamon Fisher is a Baltimore-based Jazz vocalist, photojournalist, interdisciplinary artist, aspiring community builder, and co-founder. She tends to dabble in all mediums of art, with the belief that you should have the ability to create as freely as possible. Diamon enjoys studying abolitionism and ethnocentrism. Some of her favorite indulgences are resting, scouting for new food spots or coffee shops, traveling and gardening.