Hands by Lindani Mchunu.
I don’t know whether some of you are aware, but we have a longstanding relationship with “SeaLand”, a company that upcycles old sails into beautiful bags and luggage. SeaLand is currently shooting an exciting campaign which I will share with you all in due course. In preparing for their coming campaign, SeaLand collaborated with the Academy and went on one of our boats to shoot some of our guys in action.
Sibu Sizathu our Senior Instructor, Refiloe, Sikele, and Raafiq welcomed and went out sailing with Chris Joubert (Videographer), Jacques de Villiers, and Conor Eastment (Drone Pilot). As usual the guys arrived and were blown away by our club, I still can’t get over peoples first reaction when they see our marina with the boats and the backdrop of the harbour.
They look at me with awe and disbelief and then tell me how lucky I am to work here, which I always agree with of course. The guys settled in by the deck and planned their shoot for the day. I then took them to our Academy Centre where they met our senior instructor and his crew. I had this smile on my face as I always do when I do what I do best, introduce unlikely meetings of class, race, gender and age.
I am starting to realize that is what I like to do the most actually. Disrupt. When I saw four young black guys, going out to sail with 3 young white guys, I thought to myself, nowhere else besides here at this Academy at this Yacht Club is this happening. These young white guys are putting their trust and lives in the hands of four young black guys.
Both groups are from different worlds, trust is difficult. Yet here it is in action. I love how the young white guys never questioned Sibu’s ability, nor my judgment in handing them over to him. They saw us in a sailing space, with boats and wet weather gear and never questioned our authority and eligibility to say we are who we are. As much as we never questioned their authority and eligibility, to be who they are, filmmakers.
This is what I enjoy most about what we are doing here. We take people out of their conventional territory, which is land. On land we all have built our walls already. We have all built our conclusions and assumptions about one another and we tend to operate from them. Yet when those white guys arrived here, they were met with a foreign site, black guys on water, confident and ready to go. They could not employ any conventional tools of judgement available to them to handle the situation.
They had no choice but to be open and willing to see what happens. This is what excites me most, creating the space that allows people to be open and willing to see what happens next. I couldn’t help but notice that Sibu and his crew were about to use their hands, taking the boat out, hoisting sails etc. on the other spectrum Chris and his crew were about to use their hands too.
It’s moments like these that give me hope, the moments that just land on your lap and remind you, it is still possible to contribute to the dialogue of peace, tolerance and understanding. It is still possible to tear down walls and make a Joubert, meet a Sizathu. And there be shared respect amongst the two, but more importantly an appreciation of authority and eligibility to be who they are.