From the honking cars, sirens, buses and trains, to the 'Dead Town'
- 19 May 2017
After a very good gig in Halle,off we went to Berlin in Tempelhof. That was a 'pit stop' of sorts since we'd been
on the road since our arrival in Germany. We had already done Frankfurt and Switzerland. We Commuted by train,
a seemingly harmless form of transport and also efficient for the Deutschland folk.
We found ourselves in this beautiful apartment where we could finally cook for ourselves, traverse the city and see
other things we wished to see probably individually. As soon as this 'pit stop' ended after approximately three nights.
Back to the road yet again to Brandenburg. A town that's on the very outskirts of Berlin and everything else.
On the road by train I began to see 'nothing', just grass and what seemed to be some barren land and a forsaken place.
We saw a lot of space, cattle, fields on our way there, I felt the silence amongst the band members and maybe a murmur
there and there and some chuckles after someone in the band had probably asked: 'where are we?'...
Remember that we were from Berlin, a city abuzz with most things, traffic and all manner of noise, and now THIS!!!
We arrived at the main station otherwise known as a 'Hauptbanhof' in Brandenburg. I remember thinking that this indeed is a dead town,
'where are the people here?' Someone asked. We started lazily dragging our suitcases from the station to our hotel.
Our dragging of the suitcases could be heard from a distance. I remember that we saw a car here and a person there,
everything was in bits and pieces... This weighed heavily on us because the juxtaposition of Berlin and this place was just not on..
We settled in our hotel and I remember the receptionist asking strange questions like:
'what are you? A singing group? Why do Africans love to sing?' Everyone who knows me knows how awake I am to such things.
Some of us laughed that off and of we went to our lodging place..
Only the stairs were available and I remember Titi huffing and puffing here (as per usual😂). I immediately took the available
room once we hit our floor, some were not happy with this as they had to ascend the stairs some more.. Ours was a team effort
on this tour, carried each other's bags and so forth.. Me being the curious person I went on the Internet to 'check this place'
out in terms of its history and so forth.. I found that, history really dealt East Germany a great blow and as soon as the Berlin Wall fell.
As I started piecing the pieces together it all made sense why this place was so reserved and almost seemed as if it were deserted.
A lot of their young left in droves as soon as the wall fell and so forth, you can imagine the brain drain this place suffered
and still is suffering to date. This for me drove a lot of points home..
Off to the venue, I remember that it was cold, and we were driven by two very kind gentlemen, Markus & Friar.
They took us to this very old steel plant that was THEE source of income for this town for many years and for many people there.
And when it closed, yeah, you guessed it, when the Berlin Wall fell, it went away with people's suppers, breakfasts and a whole lot of other things.
This was to be our venue for the gig (😳). I could not believe it!!! We kept asking, are we going to sing in this place???
It can't be true!! The audience came in in dribs and drabs, we warned up and anticipated to freeze.. The audience was right
here before us as we descended the stairs. We had sound-checked earlier and the sound system was the BEST since we started this tour in Frankfurt,
operated on by two young men and I remember that one of them was Joost.. I talked to him and told him how big that name is in the rugby world in my country,
and he laughed. We sang in this cold place BUT the spirit in the audience's eyes as we sang, the passion they exuded as we sang from song to song
drove us to a point of forgetting where we were, all of a sudden we felt warm from song to song, they even sang with us somewhere..
In my mind I thought, so this is what you thought of this town?? A 'dead town???'...
I felt that they related a lot with what is loosely thrown around as a 'struggle'.. From then on, I humbly ate my humble pie and enjoyed this
show and these people who had braved the cold to see these Africans sing... We thoroughly loved Brandenburg and the wine and food they had prepared for us...
I forget the Russian soup they made for us, I am quite certain that Josh will remember...😂