The guy across the table from us sinks the eight-ball in the corner pocket and the game is instantly over. Taxis line up outside, flashing red and yellow against the wet, black streets. It is nearly and the blood is running strong in this African port city.
In Langa, the shebeens are overcrowded and the women are watching, waiting nervously for their men to return—Will he bring home a check? Will we eat this week? Will I live to see my baby grow up? Will he wear a condom?
In Langa the roads are dusty, and the smell is of sweat, of work, of old gasoline and corn meal. A gunshot goes off in Crossroads. A fire starts in Joe Slovo. A home is robbed in Observatory.
And on Long Street we dance. We dance because we can. Because this is the new
We dance because there is victory, because ten years ago this was impossible and because apartheid is dead—the book is closed and we have moved on.
We dance, but only with each other. The white man with his woman, eyeing his black brothers carefully across the room, lest they attempt theft of the last thing he can claim as his own. On Long Street we dance, but only because we can. This is the new