“ How on earth do you think you are gonna manage to do something that many probably did months ago in a day? Less than 10 hours to be exact.” My mind panicking as I made failed attempts at finding anything to calmn me while looking up on the ceiling. You see, this was the second morning after finding out about this big arts competition called the Sasol signature art competition. I actually stumbled upon it earlier in the beginning of the year but definitely lost track of it since I had university workload to attend. So now it was the last day to enter this competition as the previous day I had failed to find anything to help make my art project.
My competition entry was a series of artworks for Black pride and consciousness I titled “Visions from the sunken place,as Africans become awakened” . I barely had money or knew how to embark on doing this project. But I desperately needed some breakthrough or progress in the art scene so this was my one chance to even make money. I was not going down without a fight. Sitting on my bed I realised it’s about 8am,and the only thing I had was the competition entry form file and the two artworks/photographs both in the phone. I had lots of paperwork to do and had to find special printers and and framers in and around where I reside. A day before I had tried finding these at least at any reasonable walking distances since I have no car . I tried a little harder that day. Being a milenial I know I can count on the internet to find just about anything and sure enough I did. Funny enough to my surprise turned out I couldn’t find a special printing place nearby. so I made some phone calls and was mislead to believe that one on my Google maps results was in the vesinity .
So I dressed up looking decent in my shorts and sneakers, dressed to walk basically. I managed to find a female friend who was still in town since everyone had gone home because it was just before University closed for the holidays. I literally hijacked her day and she was thankfully willing to do whatever she could to help so I set her the task of drafting and printing all those dozens of paperworks. Stressing as I went to the place where they were printing the photos.I already had sent the photos through email while on the way there. Upon arrival I found out that the business had long been relocated so I had to get transport. Standing on the side of the street I felt overwhelmed . I didn’t have money, at least for this. “oh screw it we ain’t giving up now” – I said to myself. I called them up and the lady said I should go stand outside the zoo which is where an employee of theirs would meet up with me.“ Oh no it’s too far and I only have few hours left” I thought. Still I agreed ,and had to walked all the way to the zoo which was downtown. I got there and waited for the car and after calling them again they told me the car had arrived already. When I walked up to the car I was told that I had to go with the guy driving,to the location of their business to sort out the printing services specifications. There I was,telling the gentleman that I thought he had done the printing and was only delivering, plus I had reason not to trust him since I didn’t know the place and things could go horribly wrong. I quickly decided to go with him besides all the reasons not to which I honestly wouldn’t recommend to anyone. On our way I tried to contact my friend and tried describing the stranger I was with, the car and place I was being supposably taken to, just incase anything happened to me.
Upon arrival I went in to find very friendly people. I then found out about their high prices. Again I managed to convince myself that I could get this done in time,and agreed anyway. After an hour they have finished and it was just the way I wanted. I felt like things were coming together. My hopes were abruptly met with news that the payment service was offline,and there wasn’t a nearby ATM machine from the bank I used. This lead to me walking in and around the neighborhood to find an ATM machine, unfortunately the one I found was also offline. I little frustrated I still had hope, time was ticking fast so eventually I tried a different Street which I was happy to find they had a random but functional ATM machine. I got back,sweating in a hurry to pay and then from there I got back on my way.But transport.So I tried using this sophisticated bus system introduced a few years ago. They told me I had to register first and I had no ID documents for that, this was going to take me straight to CBD closer to the picture framing house. In a panick, I resorted to taking the local taxis which are fast but not the best mode of transport considering I was carrying fragile artworks.
Sure enough the taxi dropped me further away from where I really was going, for some irrational reasons as usual. Again I had to walk even more, my feet were in pain by now but I was only worried about the time. With the use of Google maps I walked to the wonderful picture framers. The place was owned by a lovely old white couple. I also had called them after finding their numbers on Google maps to discuss the framing service. With just one hour left I was in a panick, the pricings of the service were even more ‘damaging’. But I had came this far and I wasn’t going to quite even when it meant loosing the already existing little money I had. I was scared since I knew I had nowhere else to get money anytime soon from anyone and to afford food to mention the least, things were going to be really hard from then. “Life is about taking risks” I thought.So yes I paid the full amount. I had never felt so scared about my future but I went along with it. About 40 minutes later the framing was done and they were beautiful… nothing like a expected. I was so amazed by what I had accomplished.
Next thing my phone battery was on 3% and after failing to get an Uber I resorted to calling my lovely friend for help. I asked her to get the Uber and to wait outside her apartment because I was on my way. Carrying the artworks I rushed through the rush hour traffic , my feet felt like cooked spaghetti straps. My head had the worst headache.My arms also started to sour from the heavy artworks I was power walking with. Eventually I got to the apartment and there she was holding all the finished layers of paperworks ,beautifully dressed in blue denim jeans,a white top and her gorgeous little Afro. Happy to see her I told her how thankful I was and that time was against us , actually by then it was time up for the competition. Either way the Uber had arrived. I checked the paperwork as the very sweet Uber driver raced to get us to the Pretoria Art Museum. We got out after she paid,I forget I had no physical cash left. Now we rushed inside the museum. I knew I was too late,a part of me was hoping they would take my entry. I was absolutely exhausted and really in panick .
We got inside and one of the workers greated us and it was clear that the competition people had probably left. My last hope was shattered upon hearing that indeed we were too late. We paused next to the reception area as I was actually slightly disappointed. I knew there was nothing else I could have done. But even more I felt so overwhelmed, overwhelmed by pride. The fact that against all odds I somehow managed to do this. I managed to actually make something I believed in come through and there it was in front of me. It was the second time in my entire life that I felt that proud. The risks I took and the courage. Even though this didn’t work out just when I was finally there it actually didn’t matter anymore. I turned back and looked at my sad friend with a smile and said “Would you like some pizza?” . And even when we had got outside and still tried convincing the competition people I didn’t care much about this fail.
And even better.As we walked back we met an interested buyer. Two different interested buyers actually. I gave them both my contact details and I’ll be expecting a call from them sometime in the future. If you have something you believe in take the risk,many times things won’t work out. But do what you love with confidence in yourself and just know that one day it will come true. Learn and love.
*The photos you see are all mine and some the first two were for the competition.“May the rain anchor the wild flowers of peace.”🌻