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Ansisters Event August 2005


Detail from the performance 'Patterns Outside My Head' by Janine Lewis, Rantebeng Makapan and Bonisile Nxumalo. As part of the FACE Ansisters 2005 event, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.

Copyright © FACE 2005.
All rights reserved.

studio : participants : mariette de wet


Mariëtte de Wet

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Gypsy lights...


fresh gypsy blood

by Mariette de Wet. Monday, May 02, 2005 blog.

My reaction to this project was positive yet I struggled to find my connection with it. I realized that to a certain extent I’ve cut my roots and consider myself as kind of a gypsy [somebody who has a nomadic or unconventional lifestyle].

As a child, my family [parents and siblings] have always lived far from relatives, and I never got to know any of them. The odd occasion when meeting these ‘strangers’ I’d realize that I’m not interested in associating myself with them anyway. Sounds a bit harsh but we’re worlds apart. They’re either too old, too ordinary or too alcoholic. Of course this isn’t a true reflection because I honestly don’t know them. It’s nobody’s fault, it just is. I’ve tried a few times in the past to get the kind of information that would paint some kind of picture of who my family is and where they come from – it’s just that my parents don’t seem to know either and the lack of enthusiasm slowly killed my flame of interest.

I thought that at least I know some uncles and aunts, and I used to on occasion get to play with cousins that roughly fall in my age group. So there are five cousins that I know more or less; three are my mother’s sister’s kids [much older than me] and the other two are my dad’s younger sister’s kids. Or so I thought… Recently I was told that all five of them were adopted! So much for ‘knowing’ my bloodline. The rest of the family is obscure and scattered all over the country.

I haven’t yet reached an age when I feel the need to do a bit of family research. I’m not going to until I have that feeling. There is too much that I want to explore instead. Therefore my project will reflect my current state of being – fresh gypsy blood.

My imaginative brain and my yearning heart [searching for meaningful connections] have invented some elaborate spiritual connections with various cultures and ideas. Not very plattelands. I’ve bonded with Eastern philosophies such as Taoism, food with excessive spice and a strange obsession with nomadic cultures – specifically the Toaregs of the Sahara, the Aboriginies of Australia and the Toltec sorcerers of Mexico and South America. I’m also for some reason infatuated with the modern culture of Iceland. All in all it’s in my head while my heart is firmly rooted in South Africa.

So as a kid I used to gather a lot of shit. Everything from stones to feathers to whatever. But high school was in JHB and my life became divided between different homes and hostel. My parents moved to Cape Town before I finished Grade 11, so I stayed in JHB. My ‘homes’ were all temporary and I had to keep things simple. I threw away everything and packed light. So I did become a gypsy and I love it. I was free from attachment and the horror of what I’d lose ‘if my home burned down’ was gone.

I’ve also found that my friends come and go [vice versa, actually] like mere visits to time periods. I don’t keep in touch – call me a bad person I don’t care – I prefer having one or two close friends that associate with me for a certain period of time. Even my telephone book is light [very light as it’s digital ha ha].

My mom seems to identify with my idea of being a gypsy – I don’t know how unconventional she is, but she’s also the youngest child, a very laat lammetjie and she used to move around constantly as a child. Being a laat lammetjie, your family thinks that they’ve done their duty of introducing their kids to the rest of the family – not considering that you were two years old when this happened. Everyone’s too old to play with you and too tired to tell you anything. So it’s really a syndrome that’s quite common. The result is ………..fresh gypsy blood.



To be updated….

Project: Fresh gypsy blood

I’ll be pack[ag]ing light. I’ve always wanted an excuse to make lights, so here it is! As a gypsy, I’m rude and I steal things [but I won’t tell you what]. A gypsy packs light, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing….. light in different packages. Interestingly, my forefather Voortrekkers must’ve known [almost] everything about packing light - so my ‘detachment’ doesn’t entirely come from a detachment of ancestral tendencies!

posted by mariette @ 9:19 PM0 comments 

Posted 02 May 2005, ansisters blog site, author: Mariette de Wet.