Smells like Music

Tap! Tap! Tap! Tap! An army of feet stomped on the street accompanied by an orchestra of tin cans clanging, empty whisky and soda bottles turned up the ante and the crowds went wild. The army of feet began to shift and slide backed up by ambulance sirens in the distance it was a melodic coincidence.

The ante was building and rearing to go; louder, wilder and higher, vuvuzelas trumpeted filling the air with fiery aerosol cans hissing out and blazing at the end of cigarette lighters. The streets were lit up in all senses of the word. It was a warm December night and everyone in the neighbourhood was restless. The mosquitoes swarmed with a vengeance and the pungence of the spilling sewer seeped into and saturated the houses making the outdoors much more appealing to the indoors.

First it was teens who sneaked out of windows, then the younger ones more averse to punishment, then the parents came out giving up all together on being ‘safe’ in doors. Lomondi was a neighbourhood that did not have much to celebrate. The crime rates in the city were all as a result of the urban poor from Lomondi, the city’s 10 million resident’s poo and excrement converged right outside the shabby gate of the Lomondi neighbourhood. The stench, the mosquitoes, the garbage was all they knew.

They had spent so much time in misery and lamentation in news reports showing the rest of the city what their state of existence was, and how damning it already was that they couldn’t get decent jobs. But this one night they all gave up complaining and when one person kicked  the metal garbage cans out of frustration, the noise gave one acapella teen group an idea. And it was a whole night of music.

The police patrolling the area, stood from afar. Suited up and ready for a riot and itching to hurl their tear gas canisters, but tonight, something held them back. Tonight they stood and bobbed their heads to the music. They couldn’t believe that something that beautiful could come from scrap and paupers. It was infectious. One police officer holding his riot shield and night stick began to strike his shield repeatedly in a beat and the other cops joined in with their night sticks and shields. Soon they were humming and for a second. The entire neighbourhood stopped and heard the cops. “They can sing! Mafisi can sing!”someone yelled. The neighbourhood went wild and drummed, blew their vuvuzelas like never before. They went on and on till the crack of dawn when the cops had to change shifts. The street drew motorists who initially drove with windows up and noses high and snooty, but when Lomondi’s dirty street symphony was alive and kicking no one could pass by without being drawn to be part of it.

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