I don’t know if it’s because I went out so much in Philly or just because I try not to do things I do at home when I’m in another country, but being in South Africa has really been about trying to find or create some peace for myself. It’s been about taking the time to decompress from the past nine months (because WOW), process them, and figure out a way forward. Unbeknownst to me when I got in the drivers car and journeyed to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, was the piece of peace I would find while there.
The Cape of Good Hope was “first” discovered in 1488 by Bartolomeu Dias. He named it the Cape of Storms, but it was later named the Cape of Good Hope because of optimism surrounding the promise of a shipping route from Europe to India and Asia. Cape of Good Hope is marketed as the point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, which apparently isn’t accurate, it’s actually at Cape Alghus, but something about oceans meeting at the Cape of Good Hope just sounds and feels better.
It’s impossible to go to Cape Point/the Cape of Good Hope and not leave in awe of the natural beauty. The ocean is so incredibly blue and there is this sense of calm in the air. Even though I don’t like to swim, water has always been it for me in terms of my preferred natural environment to interact with. There’s something romantic about the way waves constantly kiss the shore. About both how beautiful and dangerous the ocean is. Maybe it’s also the middle passage beckoning me home. I don’t know.
Cape of Good Hope is beautiful and dangerous too. Many a storm sunk a ship. Many a ship crashed on the rocks. That’s why a lighthouse was built at its highest peak, Cape Point. A lighthouse that could guide ships home, or at least help them see safely around the bend…
Around the bend. Bend. Bending.
I didn’t realize how bent out of shape I was.
I didn’t understand that the power comes in the bending but not breaking.
That I was not broken.
They, he, Penn, professors, couldn’t break me.
Contort? Bend? Crash into? Sure, that was allowed, that happened too.
I became my own lighthouse a long time ago. This isn’t my first time blooming.
But, it’s good to be reminded.
Good to have your breath taken away.
Sometimes, the bends in other places, people, things – land formations and oceans,
are what we need to snap back into shape.
I met God that day, in that place, on those boulders. I saw her in the grass and rocks. She was at the peak and down in the valley. She was the water – cleaning me, purging me, and moving me around.
“I found God in myself and I loved her. I loved her fiercely.”
And she created, instilled, and reaffirmed in me, a GOOD HOPE.
for colored girls who have turned to travel, when their own backyard, was not enuf.
Photos: Damola Akintunde
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