when young black men gather, fear comes up the stairs

it’s a cliche i think, but today i am reminded of how fear rises in us all whenever a gathering of more than, say, 5 young black men aged, say, between 16 and 23, happens.
i am sitting at my desk at pass central, absorbing the noise, odour and excitement emanating from a group of 19 such brovvas. they are on the mic, live on the webradio, spewing raps in xhosa and jumping up ad down on the floor of our first floor studio-cum-lounge.
just now, the manager of the schwarma business below – a nice turkish man who (i am venturing) has over his, say, 50(?) or so years of life also been the subject of some prejudice, for whatever reasons – the neighbour is worried that the ceiling of his shop (our floor) is about to collapse. so he’s come up to ask me to ask my ‘boys’ to keep it down and stop jumping. i understand. i think, were i him, i would also have walked up the flight of stairs curious and needing surety that the clump of young slimshady-looking types going up the stairs were not about to cause any trouble. it’s an assumption i think many of us make everyday.
even as i sit here, i realize just how little used i am to witnessing so much testosterone become concentrated in one small place at 12 midday on a random saturday, and how it makes me feel. i am smiling now because it’s clear – this is just a set of mchana’s showing off for each other. how awfully fearful we have become…


.org.za