It was a super chilly Sunday night and I was curled up on the couch trying to stave off the Highveld frostbite (okay, no more melodrama I promise) when the legendary Doreen Morris called. She was filming a documentary on the life of Johaar Mosavel. Johaar was the first black principal dancer in the Royal Ballet Company and, as Doreen's investigation research uncovered, was my ballet teacher from the age of 4. I was gobsmacked. Over the years, I'd found myself wondering how Mr Mosavel was doing and here The Law of Attraction was bending the universe in my favour. I was going to reconnect not only with a man who holds hero status in my life but also... I expected to rediscover the little girl in me. Essentially, this was a trip back into time...
I was naturally, beside myself with excitement & retold the story to absolutely anyone who would listen & blasted it across social media. Well, the good people at The Best Western Cape Suites caught wind of my upcoming trip & VERY generously offered me a complimentary stay for the duration of my visit. Here's the mindboggling bit... I was born in Cape Town & I stay in different parts of the Cape when I visit, but never before have I stayed in Zonnebloem, where The Best Western Cape Suites are located. Zonnebloem made up part of the historic site of District Six. Johaar Mosavel was born in District Six! My father was born in no.5 Milton Road District Six!! I dont have enough exclamations marks for this part of the story!!! When you stay at The Best Western Cape Suites, you can walk to the District Six Museum:-)
Dear fellow earth wanderer...be warned ... the luxurious linen in your Best Western Cape Suite embodies a special ability to make you feel like you've been accepted into its 'fold' (see what I did there?).. and leaving will not be easy! I was motivated to get out of bed because I was set to meet Mr Mosavel shortly. I decided that I was going to salute him with a bouquet of Proteas, the national flower, because I sincerely believe that he is a national treasure. And where do you buy flowers when in Cape Town? The Adderley Street Flower market of course! The flower sellers are renowned for having a sense of humour second to none but because I've been around them since being a kid, I thought I'd heard it all. Was I wrong! I told the ladies that the proteas were for Johaar Mosavel and I was met with "Nee my kind, daaisie hoe jy dit se nie" (translated: no my child, that's not how you say it) they tried to correct my pronunciation for about 12 minutes. I'm sure I'm still saying it wrong:-)
I said I wouldn't cry (see how glassy my eyes look below?). Mr Mosavel's presence is that of Michael Jordan in flight on a rebound shot but he's real height belies his gigantic aura. I last saw him before I hit my teens and I couldn't believe how little he changed. Zero change in fact. The documentary director asked me to remove my shoes so that she could fit us both into the shot and I promptly removed my heels while saying "a dancer's feet are never cute but today I'm standing with the man who's responsible for these toes". Mr Mosavel glanced down at my feet and said in sheer delight " Yes! those are absolutely my feet". Doreen carried out the interview and one question asked was "What is Mr Mosavels legacy?". I answered:"Myself and all the children he's trained...WE are his legacy!" Johaar, I honour and Salute you.