A Politics Major Walks into an Anarchist Bookshop…

Alexandra Szotka
June 9, 2014

As the final count down until I leave begins, I have started to think about the things that I will really miss here. Probably one of the main things is that there is always something going on here. Somehow I heard that there was a program being put on by the humanities department at University of Cape Town called, “Queer in Africa Series.” This series included various speeches, films and exhibitions about what it means to have a queer identity while being African. I was very interested in this concept, since we had discussed the same topic many times in my Gender class that I took here this semester. Most of the events conflicted with other things that my friends and I had planned, but luckily the last event which included a poetry reading by two Nigerian poets was being put on on a Monday night, once all my exams had finished (NO MORE POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY!) and I was far less stressed. A couple of my friends decided that we would get a ride to the suburb right down the street from us and then walk the rest of the way because Observatory where the event was taking place really wasn’t that far away.


The poetry reading was supposed to be taking place at a bookstore called “Bolo’Bolo” and I had been meaning to go there for a couple of weeks now. The intrigue of the place was that it was supposed to be not only a bookstore, but also a vegan café and Anarchist collective. Some parts of Obz (nickname for Observatory) are a little bit sketchy, but that is why we avoid them on nighttime, but the night of the poetry thing we were walking the area probably around dusk, but since we were traveling in a pretty big group we felt relatively safe. Just as we were about to reach the bookstore, this woman jumped out from behind this care and one by one forced us to hug her. I have learned since being here that it is best to avoid homeless people as quickly as possible or problems can develop, so we quickly picked up our pace and entered the bookstore.

The campaign all the way from the U.S!

As soon as we entered the bookstore I could tell that something was wrong with my friend Sam. She was frantically searching through her pockets and coat, looking for something. We asked her what was wrong and she started freaking out saying that she had lost her wallet. This had happened to so many people in Cape Town already because pickpockets are tricky, but we had done everything right and were confused how this could have happened. One second Sam was searching the café for the wallet and the next second she runs out of the bookstore and down the street. Of course then my other friend runs and follows her and I see her asking the homeless women if she stole her wallet. Since the police were nowhere in sight, I did not want a argument to develop, so I told Sam to go check her house before she places any blame. Sam ended up leaving with our friend Payal and for the rest of the poetry reading

Happy with our soup and hot chocolate!

Anarchist selfies!

I was still pretty stressed for Sam. Yet the people that remained tried to enjoy ourselves and we ate delicious (FREE!) ginger asparagus leek soup and vegan hot chocolate. The first poet read her poems out of her poetry book, while the second poet was more of a spoken word poet who not only utilized her voice, but also song and instruments to perform her poetry. I loved the second poets work, yet this one woman who sat next to us, kept interrupting the poem and yelling irritating things back to the poet. Of course the poet ignored the woman, but I was starting to get really annoyed. The poet touched on issues with religion, patriarchy, gender roles, and blatant disrespect for women, and more specifically lesbian women. Her poems were really powerful, and if anyone wants more info on her, just email me! At the end of the reading I bought a bunch of political bumper stickers, because if anyone knows me they know that any day isn’t complete unless I have bought more bumper stickers.


Kind of scary…

Love a good mural

I want this poster for my dorm room!

LeeLee’s beautiful contribution to the chalkboard table!

Anarchist doctrine, just chugging away!

The first poet!

Then of course the rude, interrupting lady had to start talking to me like we were best friends and asking what I studied in school. Here I am standing in an Anarchist bookstore, and stupidly I say, “Oh I study Politics and Public Health”… Like what?! Why would I ever admit to that in this venue? Anarchy and government don’t mix. Bad mistake on my part because the next thing I know the women is giving me a dirty look and saying, “You aren’t going to be working in the sludge of administrative work and pushing papers all day just to bring down the country are you?!” I quickly said, “Oh no, I have different plans for myself” and then said that I had to go catch my cab. At that point we all wanted to get home quickly to check on Sam and her wallet, so we got in the first taxi we saw, which probably wasn’t the best idea judging from the fact that the sign on top simply said, “TAX”, but we got in anyway and made it home safe. Sam ended up really losing her wallet, but eventually had her mom wire her money, so that all worked out. Knock on wood that I don’t lose anything in the one week remaining! Overall this even was an interesting experience to say the least.

My new feminist and gender equality propaganda!

The infamous cab!


More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Alexandra Szotka

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Alexa is a sophomore at Ithaca College studying both Public Health and Politics, while also hoping to dapple in her new found interest in gender studies. She grew up in Windsor, Connecticut, famous for being the first town in Connecticut. When Alexa doesn&#39;t have her nose in a book, she can be found singing, eating (especially anything pumpkin), being sarcastic or exploring the fantastic world that we are lucky enough to call home. Studying in Cape Town in a dream come true, and Alexa is ready and willing to soak up every last bit of adventure that comes her way!</span></p>

2014 Spring
Home University:
Ithaca College
Health Studies
Political Science
Explore Blogs