JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Norman, my usual driver, emailed to say that he couldn’t fetch me at 9:45 this morning as I requested. In his stead, he sent his wife, Zilla.
“Oh, I’ve been upgraded,” I exclaimed when I saw her red car in place of Norman’s blue mobile. She laughed.
Perhaps I hadn’t read the signs correctly, for my lady in the red car proved auspicious. Firstly, she turned this way and that, giving me my money’s worth on the fare. That was followed by a rather unexpected burst of activity that culminated in several new photo appointments and me being on the radio in the evening.
The day started with one simple 10 a.m. photo appointment on the calendar: to get some pictures at ChaiFM radio, Johannesburg’s Jewish radio station.
By noon, I had photographed the station; a kosher butchery within the same premises; convinced the editor of the Jewish Report newspaper (also in the same building) to partake in my project (we settled on a day for next week); and had received a phone call confirming an appointment with the Chief Rabbi of South Africa for next week, an opportunity I had long sought. I had also confirmed permission to visit and photo at the Hatzolah base (Jewish emergency medical services).
If that weren’t enough, Tali Nates, who is overseeing the development of the new Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre (due to open next year) and who invited me to speak at the Limmud conference this past weekend, sent me an email agreeing to a photo and a video commentary. Her father was on Oskar Schindler’s list. I’ll meet her at the Centre which is still under construction. Finally, I had also been invited on the evening’s radio show by Isaac Reznik, a gentleman of about 75 years of age, whom I’d met in the station’s foyer. We quickly found ourselves engrossed in a sort of been-there-done-that battle.
“You have a few years on me,” I told his listeners on the air.
For sure, it was a whirlwind couple of hours. Next week is going to be busy — just the way I like it!
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