23 March 2010

FLOW – For Love of Water

Two Oceans Aquarium

Every so often, if you’re lucky, you stumble across a night so unusual, so magical, so unique, that it remains lodged in your memory forever. You can tell it’s going to be “one of those nights” as soon as you arrive, and although the night itself is only a few hours long, it’s the kind of night you’ll talk about for hours and hours afterwards …

Monday 22 March 2010 was one of those nights.

Two hundred lucky Capetonians gathered at the Two Oceans Aquarium to celebrate our love of water with FLOW – For Love of Water. It was destined to be a great night from the start … How could any evening held at the Aquarium (after dark!) be anything but?

As all the guests mingled and drank water from the Newlands spring and 100% natural chilled chocolate, there was a sense of anticipation, a thrill in the air. Something special was about to happen.

The evening began with a screening of the movie FLOW, an exploration of how we as humans treat the water on our planet; how we can learn to manage our natural resources better, and why this is now a matter of critical importance. The hour-long movie was fascinating, informative, sobering and inspiring, all at the same time. It asked a lot of questions, but didn’t provide any easy answers.

In the discussion that followed, many new, specifically South African questions were raised, questions that need their own forum, a space to talk about how we use and abuse water, what we can do to help the communities in our country that don’t have access to water, how we can start making changes in our lives that will have a long-term impact. We were left with this challenge: to incorporate the love of water into our daily lives and see how we can begin a change that reaches from us to all those we know. As Justin Friedman, the organiser of the evening, said: “If you’re sitting at a dinner party and you’re not talking about climate change and water conservation and how to make our world a better place, what are you talking about?”

The crowd emptied out of the auditorium buzzing with ideas and questions, and after more raw goodies to fuel the next few hours, swirled into the Predator arena, where a musical feast awaited. But first, a visit from a mermaid, as one lady whispered to her husband.

After a short spoken meditation on the power of one breath to carry us through the water, Hanli Prinsloo, South African Freediving Champion, took to the water, swimming among the sharks and rays as naturally as if she were one of them. It was a magical few minutes, as every person in the crowd vicariously swam with her, buoyed by a single breath.

As Hanli swam, the music began – a perfect interplay of sound and image – and didn’t end for the next few hours. With extraordinary song, drumming, violin and guitar, Ms Fitz (Zolani Mahola), Ms Rose (Kyla Rose-Smith), Guy Buttery, Ronan Skillen, and Donovan Copley (Hot Water) individually lulled the audience into a magical state of peace and tranquillity.

And, in fact, it’s the word ‘magical’ that remains with me, the one word that captured what it was like to be at the Aquarium on Monday night. It was an evening no one will ever forget, an evening fit to start a movement.

And what is that movement? FLOW. For Love Of Water.

By Bridget McNulty. http://www.bridgetmcnulty.com/

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