Drumming circle: 'No high heels or white clothes'

We were somewhere outside Pretoria when the drumming started. We had driven east on Garsfontein road – way east – past the sprawl of shopping malls and security estates to where the potholes become black holes. The American in the car kept on talking about how he wants a party with midgets serving guacamole on Mexican hats. “That’s so wrong,” a voice said. The Kiwi girl spoke about how a shark once bit her arm down to the nerves. “It, like, hung there in the salt water,” she said and showed me the scars. When the drumming grew louder, we turned left in front of a defunct-looking Excel petrol station ...

GUSTAV PRELLER

We were somewhere outside Pretoria when the drumming started. We had driven east on Garsfontein road – way east – past the sprawl of shopping malls and security estates to where the potholes become black holes.  The American in the car kept on talking about how he wants a party with midgets serving guacamole on Mexican hats. “That’s so wrong,” a voice said. The Kiwi girl spoke about how a shark once bit her arm down to the nerves. “It, like, hung there in the salt water,” she said and showed me the scars. When the drumming grew louder, we turned left in front of a defunct-looking Excel petrol station.

We parked in the long grass where frolicking youths were hiding and everything looked like a Survivor set – bush fires and all. “Drinking in the parking lot! Love it!” the self-proclaimed-white-trash Kiwi said. Inside we bought quarts of Black Label at R12 (oh yeah!). Performers clad in loose silk and other hippie garments looped flaming Diablo sticks around, leaving the air – and the Black Label – tasting of diesel.

A totally chilled-out guy who spoke with Capetonian lethargy gave away free Springbokkies. I drank mine and noticed some strange things, like a 70’s kombi with a lamp on its roof next to the Dixie toilets.

Then there was the drumming pit – a real heart of darkness – where fine suburbanites huddled together with drums between their knees tapping primal rhythms with manicured hands. We acquired some unattended drums and started beating them. The great thing was that I couldn’t make out whether I was staying with the beat or not: the dozens of other drummers masked my drumming out. Yet, looking at the diverse drummers – from dread-locked and tattooed to clean cut and tucked in – I figured I wasn’t the only doubtful drummer.

The drumming got addictive. My hands grew lame and my mind got sucked into that pit. A didgeridoo started playing and belly dancers swayed around the fire with bells ringing on their hips.

Walking around the lawns where chilled groups offered sips of Tassies and Crackling, I realised the beauty of the drumming circle. It’s all in the absolute tolerance. Even though it has the New Age, hippie, velvet thing going (the dress code states “no high heels or white clothes”) it’s just an outskirts hangout where you can forget about electric fences and traffic and life.

Drumming Circle offers the chance to plug yourself back in every second Friday. Cover is R30 with a musical instrument and R35 without. Check out www.klitsgras.co.za for further details.

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