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In mid-June 2009 the Mail & Guardian published it’s list of 300 young people they thought most interesting to lunch with. The list was apparently based on the worthiness and sophistication of the work these people are doing. In 2008 their idea of ‘young’ indicated that those involved in compiling the list, included people in their forties, who thought being born in the decade of the Sharpeville Massacre, mass forced removals in South Africa, JFK, Martin Luther King, the Rivonia Trial, the birth of hippiedom, and the man on the moon, gave them honorary youthdom. In 2009 they realised that even though many people born in the 1960s have either not matured or are young at heart, they were stretching the concept a bit. So, they graciuosly conceded – methinks based on the ANC’s definition of youth – that if you were older than 35 years, i.e. born before 1974, you would not be considered young. Nonetheless, they provided a caveat for the few people over 35 – and some of these definitely in their forties – that they felt they had to include.
As in 2008, when I was more eligible for the broad list, so too in 2009, was my name absent from their grand list. Not only did I not make the list, but none of the people I would have liked to lunch with, made the list. Adding insult to injury, Lebo Mashile made the list both in 2008 and in 2009. I know she’s won awards and is a popular poet, but her poetry does not appeal to me and I find her ideas reinforce rather than challenge and develop popular notions of identity, which I don’t subscribe to.
As a counter to the Mail & Guardian’s list of 300 interesting young people, I will blog about some of the people – not limited to post-1974 – I would like to dine with. Dining, I think, indicates that your company is deeply fascinating because you probably spend more time over dinner than you do over lunch. The implication being that the people I write about are more fascinating than the people the Mail and Guardian featured.
Of course, now that I have set myself this task, I regret it because I know I hardly have time to visit facebook nowadays. Nevertheless, the intention is there. Don’t hold your breath.