Pandemics come and go, monarchs live and die, but the mavericks banner will always fly high…

There is a running joke in Cape Town about the Mavericks banner. You might know the one. The joke goes that it doesn’t matter what’s happening in the country, from lockdowns, to protests, to load shedding level 25, the banner for cape town’s most infamous strip club will always be flying somewhere through the sky. Obviously it’s not meant to be taken seriously and yet, lately, and admittedly, weirdly, I’ve found its presence oddly comforting.

Perhaps some context will help.

Recently my partner and I moved into a hotel.

As in we bought a hotel and moved into it together. I’m aware this also sounds slightly odd. It’s not every day that you hear about someone buying a building, renovating it in just two weeks and then opening up their doors to the public.

But that is exactly what we did.

Similarly to our decision to open a cafe, despite having almost no experience in hospitality, the hotel wasn’t so much planned as it was, for lack of a better term, manifested into life, after we came to the realization that life really is too short to not spend it doing the things you truly want to do. 

That one could in actual fact, open up a cafe during a pandemic or become an interior designer, a barista, a carpenter or an entrepreneur seemingly overnight if they just possessed the right amount of grit, enough willingness to work hard and enough resounding determination to overcome the sense of imposter syndrome that so often lingers in our heads.

Truthfully I never saw myself as a business owner, a chef or a hotelier. But then I never saw myself as any verb. Do any of us feel that we are put here to do just one thing with, as Mary Oliver would say, our one wild and precious life? Or do we adapt, grow and ultimately maneuver ourselves into the spaces that feel right.

We hadn’t planned to open a hotel, especially not so soon, it was more of a pipe dream, a “one day perhaps when the time is right” kind of thing. But then somehow the time was right, right now. And without entirely meaning to we stumbled across our perfect property. A 6- bedroomed, refurbished Dutch home on a quiet road in the heart of the city, on the fringes of the Bo-Kaap, cape Town’s historically colourful, Muslim neighborhood. With its capacious, open plan rooftop and grandiose views of Table Mountain, our distant day dream burst into life.

Everything happened quickly once we signed the papers. Suddenly our lives were filled with pinterest boards and paints swabs and callouts to carpenters, friday nights spent in malls and laborious drives to Brackenfell to buy antique chairs from ladies called Maralieze. We hung pictures, painted walls in mustard yellows and aruba blues and then, just like that there were strangers in our living room.

Renovation Station

Despite the thrill and excitement of it all, the uprooting of our daily lives has also unearthed within me  some familiar feelings. October emotions, I’ve begun to call them as they always seem to crawl out of the woodwork, around this time of year. As we piled all of our belongings into storage, listed our own home on airbnb, and moved from room to room, I’ve found myself grasping for a sense of stability. A desire to bury myself in the familiar.

As winter’s hem unravels into spring and the last few months of my 20’s spools away from me, I am once again reminded of how fragile all that we cling too really is. Of the importance in allowing ourselves to dive into new experience even if we don’t always feel ready to handle it. To continue showing up in a world that is forever in motion.

But in those moments when I catch myself fumbling for the familiar, I’ve found a comfort in that which remain consistent.

Like the noon gun that chimes every day, on the dot, grounding us all in time.

Like the chanting of the mosque’s call to prayer which happens 5 times a day, without fail. And as I stir in bed at 6am, I find myself basking in the sound of this mysterious chanting that bellows out from the golden-tiered mosque, just meters from my window. Like a mothers touch or the brush of a lovers thigh, its presence returns me to me.

Or like the Maverick’s banner, which I look up and notice from the rooftop or the tennis court or in my car as I am driving round the mountain and find myself laughing aloud with joy as its steadfast presence becomes a comforting companion in a silver ocean of constant change. 


One Comment

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  1. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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