Out of Context

A naked man walked carefully along the concrete barriers of the central reservation on the M4 outside Durban this searing December morning. The naked man did not glance down at the traffic on either side. He did not look up to check destination or distance. He appeared fit and calm, eyes focused on the next step. He walked steadily, southbound, away from the city.

It was dispiriting to think that this young man, walking away from the grime and noise with the morning sun shining on his back, would be judged crazy, while we, in a claustrophobic queue of cars and taxis, constrained and clammy in our clothes, on our way to cold offices, were somehow sane.

Insanity is a matter of context.

It’s about our ability to function, to fit in, to adapt, to navigate norms. Society rarely questions the norms – they are the rails on which it is run. We question the deviations and switch the points to keep everyone on track. But our journeys are different and location is not everything.

Walk on naked man.


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