“I am within and without, enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life”

Fietas, Fordsburg, Mayfair. When I first heard this was the chosen locations for us to do our in-depth research, I felt like it had been chosen for me. I’ve had a battle with journalism this year because I’m not the conventional journalist, I’ve discovered that about myself but this was divine providence.  I live in the area,  I know the troubles and I know the culture. I’m going to nail this! I hope.

Going on the tour through Fietas today I felt partly an insider, partly an outsider. “I was within and without, enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life” is the quote from the Great Gatsby which most accurately captures my experience of the “tour”.

I have always been curious about Fietas. There is an aura of displacement hovering in the air. I have passed 14th street many times on my way to Wits where I have previously encountered what I referred to as a”village” of homeless people sedated their own displacement. I always walked pass very quickly and when I first started writing as a journalist I promised myself that I would tell these people’s stories.. but I never did. Even now for in-depth research project I can’t get myself to do a story about these people – I walk pass them quickly. Not because I’m afraid of interacting with them but because I am so fascinated that it borders on obsessive, which is something I don’t particularly like about myself.

My fear with doing a story about this “village” is that I would be exploiting them. I don’t want to exploit the little that these people have – their stories – for my own journalistic greed. How is 2000 words meant to capture the reality of someones pain and displacement.

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