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Anne Townsend

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

No Title 26 December 2016


Photo Credit Anne Townsend Surfer’s Corner

Diary of an Arrival

Diary of an Arrival

Photo Credit Anne Townsend

“You were like 25 metres away!!!!!!”

“Howzzzitttt Brah!!!” The hands go up to above the face as the two palms knock against each other.

“All good, brah!!! Good. Good.”

“I saw you in the water!! You were like 25 metres away!!!”

“It was very foggy, hey, but there was also like a good three footer. Stunning day, hey??!!”

“Ja, lekka man. Good. Good.”

More palm punching. Hitting the upper arms now. Wriggling into jeans behind a towel.

“Yesterday was good, hey??!!”

“Jah, I was really, really stoked.” (“Oh, howzitttt babe!!!!!” accompanied by wild waving at surfer walking by in bikini, carrying surfboard under her arm.)

“Jah. Good. Good. All good here.”

This can continue indefinitely with minor alterations in vocab and characters.

To the local writer, Damon Galgut, who hails from Pretoria, (a place I’ve heard of but never visited, and not on my bucket list either), who describes Cape Town as ‘a place lacking in any cultural or intellectual life’, have you visited Surfer’s Corner recently, Damon? It’s high culture, brother. And cool breeze, bru. It’s cooking. And it’s looking crispy.Beach


At home in the world








Photo Credit Anne Townsend Majestic Cafe

Diary of a Departure


Photo Credit Anne Townsend Surfer’s Corner

Thank you, Blog. You rock. (((((Blog)))))

I know transience. Change. The Transit Lounge. Suitcases. Boxes. Broken leases. Unreturned deposits. Midnight change of plans. 2009. Chek Lap Kok Airport. My suitcase bearing a hot pink sticker. DISEMBARKED. Anne is not flying to Seoul. Long story. Short decision. Walking away into the equatorial pollution of Hong Kong.

My garden at the washing line at Geriva Mansions. Indigenous. French (lavender), UK (roses). Mint, lettuce, spinach and pin cushions. Water slushing through the gutter. What are you doing, woman? A garden. A dog. My own business, running a cottage industry. Rude people calling us unemployed white yuppies. That blunt, crass former politician writing to the Cape Times. (I never give the finger).

Moving to the South Side where I live in a yuppie enclave. Landlocked in concrete. Security guard. Electric fence. The Body Beautiful. Bluebottles, starfish, seaweed. I used to think Muizenberg beach was windswept and distraught. The more time I spend on the sand, the more I notice. It’s not ‘my’ beach. Just as Knead is not ‘my’ café. Let’s put things into perspective here, folks. It’s those who are most territorial who are most homeless. Our bodies know we belong. It’s our minds that make us homeless. (Tara Brach)

Naysayers. Tips. Advice. Warnings. This. That. The Other. Don’t buy in a small town, Anne. Never sell your Vredehoek apartment. Muizenberg?! Brothels and crackhouses. This last nugget from a Kalk Bay resident who laughs at drug dealers, describing them as ‘nice people.’ OK, that’s the drug lord that does business in her street in Kalk Bay.

I love The Transit Lounge. Surfers, beggars, ice cream cones at The Majestic in Beach Road. My French neighbour. The cute dog that accompanied his mom who bought my desk on Sunday and for the first time since I moved in, my ‘apartment’ was a ‘home.’ But don’t we all need advice, tips, warnings, suggestions, this, that, the other?

Nope. I don’t. I need my heart, my gut, my intuition and my Morning Pages. I need Martha Beck, Natalie Goldberg, Augusten Burroughs, Peter Hessler and Eric Weiner. I need my blog on Who would have thought? My blog has morphed into the patchwork quilt of home, roots, and belonging that I knew I needed all along. It’s all on here. Especially the Trash Folder holds the key. The deleted posts are the core of my story. Trash. Ping. Gone. Whoosh.

Thank you, Blog. You’ve become my Home Folder. You are my Transit Lounge. No naysayers, no comments, no snide bitches trailing behind me after every post.

Thank you, Blog. You rock. (((((Blog)))))1978864_10202439850495638_697440246_n


This blog post will not be trashed

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I have heard it all.

Let bygones be bygones.

It’s the past. Move on.

Are you sure you want to go there, after all this time?

I am sure Mummy didn’t know.

Sexual abuse so wasn’t the pattern in our family.

OK, those were the comments I can remember. The really bad ones I forget.

What are the right comments? Because have you noticed that when someone nowadays has cancer, or is mourning the loss of a husband, or a child, or they have lost a limb, they tend to write articles and books telling us how angry they are at the ways the world failed to meet them. They have been mistreated. People said the wrong thing, or they said it too quickly, or too softly, or they shouted. Or they never said enough. Or they said too much. It just never ends. The way people get it wrong. When your world has caved in, the world needs to get it right else they’re going to be in your article or in your book. And not in the chapter about the good people.

Those who tell us to listen more are often the ones whose listening skills are poor. The very people who boast about being open-minded, are the ones that crack down on any Facebook comments that don’t agree with their status update. The world is going to hell in a hand basket, and the American elections are not yet over. Why are you typing this blog post, Anne, at 23:54pm on a Monday night? Because that’s what blog posts are for. Blogs are anchors for groundlessness. Blogs are there for when you have questions.

It’s not the Bob Hewitts and Bill Cosbys that befuddle me as much as the villages that protect the Bobs and the Bills. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse a child. Can’t everybody just tell the truth? What does Bob Hewitt’s wife think she is doing when she defends her husband in court? Did Bill Cosby’s wife know at the time that he was molesting all those women? Well, she knows now. Let’s forget for a minute about what Bob Hewitt thought he was doing. Why have some of Bob Hewitt’s victims who have stood up to the abuse in public, lost the support of their families, their children, and their friends? What is that all about? Can someone explain to me about the enabling of child sexual abuse? That’s the bit I’m not getting here. It is now 00:07 on a Tuesday morning and Cape Talk is discussing student protests and human faeces. This blog post will not be trashed. It’s a keeper.



The truth must unspool slowly






























Photo Credit Anne Townsend





No Title Today




























Photo Credit Anne Townsend