viva spaza gallery

For Drew Lindsay-

A gentle giant with a wonderful laugh.

I remember visiting the Spaza Art Gallery as a child. I had a blue lunch box of cherished objects that I brought with me - mainly little bits of tile and various rocks. I accidentally dropped one of my beloved shards of glass into someone’s car engine. It fell through where the windscreen meets the bonnet - into the little vent where leaves get stuck. I was so terrified that it would blow up. I never told anyone so that the crime could not be traced back to me.

I was so little, and the walls of the gallery were so clean and big.

It’s such a beautiful day today, on Wilhelmina Street. We are all gathered in your garden with its lovely sculptures and white roses peeking out from the green that is everywhere. The tower of hope stands sentinel, catching the afternoon sun. Everything is dappled light and plastic bottles.

Mourners are breaking away from the group to hug each other and cry. They hold each other with their whole bodies, allowing grief to come and go in between them.

The birds are chirping in the trees and children are shouting in the street. Music is playing somewhere down the road. It’s a Sunday afternoon in Troyeville.

Your loved ones step up one by one to share stories about you. You are always dancing and laughing in them - always tall and gentle.

People have started to dance. The musicians sit together by the bamboo and play songs they wrote for you. There were poems written about you. You are dancing in them.

A little child is crying so the dancers pull them in. Your dog, Snoopy, keeps barrelling into unsuspecting people - plastic cone hooking table corners and shoes.

There’s a timeline of your life.

You are in grade one, you have long hair, you are playing guitar with Justin, you contributed to the first South African pride march, you stopped swimming when Covid shut the pool.

“We love you Drew.”

The wraggle taggle band is still playing. Give us a fiddle for a jig.

“It’s got no beginning and it’s got no end.”

There is a little girl with dirt on her face. She is playing here, where a generation of artists first climbed trees as tall as mountains. She falls asleep in her father’s arms. He looks happy- tired and profoundly content.

Your final mosaic is unfinished.

“Viva Spaza Gallery”

“Viva”, we all cheer.

Viva Andrew Lindsay.