The dog barks …… but I try to move on. Ok, that doesn’t really work, especially for those who don’t know the original. And even for those who do. The original is an Arab proverb: the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on. Meaning that, despite noisy, meaningless interventions, important things will happen, progress will take place.
But I wrote this because, across the road, on the top floor of a block of flats, lives a reasonably decent fellow whose only problem (as far as I am concerned) is that he has a dog which stands on his patio (it’s a kind of penthouse apartment) and barks at anything that moves – and in Yeoville Bellevue, there are people and cars and other dogs moving in the streets virtually all the time. I’ve tried to engage with him on the issue in the nicest of ways – the dog barks day and night – but he cannot see that he is impacting on my (and other people’s rights to a reasonably quiet and peaceful existence). What’s most important to him is his right to have the dog (which he appears to love dearly). I have considered the options explored by Kleinboer in Midnight Missionary, an outrageous translated-from-Afrikaans novel about the author in Yeoville/Berea/Hillbrow – not for the faint-hearted – but throwing poisoned meat at it does not seem the right thing to do. And I’m certainly not going to give up and move either.
I will have to find out the latest bylaw dealing with this sort of issue and then explore how easy it is invoke it. If I’m successful, it will be worth publishing because I think a lot of people have a similar problem in the area.
Back to the Arab proverb – I believe that development in Yeoville Bellevue will happen despite the noisy detractors on the sidelines who, driven by narrow party political interests, personal enrichment, ignorance or just irritating bloody-mindedness, try and sabotage the efforts of anyone who is genuinely interested in working for a better world and, in so doing, fulfilling the true goals of the struggle against apartheid. That struggle was not about getting rid of the racist regime as a narrow and prescribed goal, it was about creating the objective conditions in which it would be possible to ensure a good quality of life for all. Some things are in place which have brought us closer to achieving that (here and in the country as a whole), but there is still an extraordinarily daunting amount to be done.
Tomorrow (which is not today) is a public holiday – 21 March, Human Rights Day (commemorating the Sharpeville massacre of 1960). In the afternoon, the CPF is meeting with the tenants, management and owners of Time Square on the corner of Raleigh and Grafton. There are a lot of unsavoury (let’s put it mildly) things going on there, but it seems everyone wants to find a solution. We’ll see what we can do to help, as CPF and as the community.