On the 3rd of July the annual National Arts Festival commenced in the small town of Grahamstown, and being quite the patriot that I am, was excited to experience the energetic vibe brought to this sleepy town. Unfortunately, a turn for the worse was in waiting.
This festival, not only had I volunteered to review some of the shows for a local Student Newspaper – a branch off Rhodes University’s Journalism and Media School, but I was to also wait at a local restaurant for this peak month. My schedule was packed but I was still determined to party hard like the common Rhodes student, for there were gigs, shindigs and music festivals galore. My excitement could not be contained. However, this excitement was shot-down quickly when within the second day of festival, a speaker at a local night-club collapsed onto my leg – leaving me unable to walk. That night the owner came up to me and gave me a free festival pass to all the shindigs happening at this club for festival- this saved me about R300 in entrance fees at this venue. This was hardly the compensation I was looking for.
The National Arts Festival showcases art, music and drama from all around the country and lasts for an Ama-Zing(!) eleven days in which tourists and mere locals like myself visit art exhibitions, watch shows and other drama performances, see incredible music concerts, all, as well as venturing through the infamous Village Green, which itself houses many stalls all selling beautiful things ranging from clothes to food. After x-rays and a number of visits to the doctor, my diagnosis read “…small fracture stretching from second to forth metatarsal of the left foot.” A small crack that could barely be seen on the x-rays was duly noted on three bones just under the skin at the top of my foot – and caused an unbelievable amount of pain. The dangerous thing about fractures, is that one hard-knock – and the bones will break. Just with a fracture, the doctor prescribed rest and I was not allowed to exert any pressure onto my injured foot. This ruined the hectic schedule I had for the next several days of festival.
This is definitely one of my favourite times of the year in which my artistic side is revived through dance, art, acting and music. However, I decided to continue as best I could. I arranged a pair of crutches and was able to tour the village green and see several shows, however, I was quickly worn-out and my hands got bruises from them. With this festival pass from the club, I was motivated to take as much advantage as I could – even if it meant sitting there not being able to dance, I would go. It was worth it. I was unable to waitress any further too. Being the kind person that I like to believe I am, it took a while before my parents and I agreed to appeal to this club owner asking him to pay for my medical bills and my lost income. Thankfully, he agreed.
All in all, the 11 days of festival were not at all as I intended. Right now, I’m back to lectures and now waddle around on a new walking-boot, a positive upgrade from those terrible crutches. Everyone I see on crutches, especially those that need them for the rest of their lives, I feel sorry for – I cannot even imagine how hard it must be. It was however, an exciting learning experience, I mean, I did learn a new word, ‘metatarsal’, that’s always cool, right?