A Proudly South African Sunrise

Sunrise Pic 1

The sky is bursting with lavender and blood orange, the birds are stirring, the air is fresh and cool, and I find myself totally lost. And although I’d love to say I have lost myself in the blissful beauty of this stellar morning, instead I am just lost…in the middle of Melrose, trying to find the location of the next Secret Sunrise event, which is turning out to be a bigger secret than I anticipated.

With Google Maps sending me to opposite corners of this earth I am driving around frantically trying to find my way, and to make matters worse,  I seem to have gained another 4 or 5 other Secret Sunrisers on my tail who have decided to follow me as I lead them disappointingly astray.

The morning is not off to a good start.

Turning corners sharply and putting foot, I try to lose the entourage of cars in my wake, crumbling under the pressure of my newly-appointed role as Captain of this bloody debacle.

Finally, after a series of u-turns, moments of panic, reverses and a dash of divine intervention, I finally come across hundreds of cars parked outside James and Ethel Gray Park with people streaming in. I have been found and the search party is called off!

Thankfully I am just in time. The dance session hasn’t started yet, but I’ve already broken out in a sweat.

I quickly enter the park, collect my headphones and walk towards the field, where I join hundreds of others as we stand awkwardly dressed in our Proudly South African gear – the theme of the day. Bok Jerseys, Protea Shirts, Caftans, Afrofrocks accessorized with tutus, face paint, glitter and lumo spandex. I can’t help but chuckle at the randomness of humanity and start to relax.

As the sun starts to rise, pouring golden warm rays on our faces, the music starts slowly and we begin our warm-up to the 1 hour dance session. Stretching high and low, I start to get into the soft soothing sounds of the day, and into my body.


Gently lead by the Secret Sunrise team, the session is introduced and we slowly start to move our bodies and explore the spaces and the faces around us; greeting our neighbours with smiles.

The next song comes on and within the strike of the first chord, tears start streaming from my eyes. I try to quickly blink them away, hang my head low and silently curse whoever the hell is cutting onions nearby.

The song is Mango Groove’s Special Star.

The magic of this song is instantaneous, casting a spell on all of us, and bringing us together in a way that is beyond understanding. At this moment I surrender and I let the tears fall; I am so proudly South African.

The energy is electric as we occupy the park, doing cartwheels, spinning around, sokki-ing and grinning like idiots through a series of proudly SA tunes – including DJ Excess’ “Stomach in Chest Out”, Goldfish “Moonrise” and a live performance of “Nomisupasta” by South African artist Nomsa Mazwa.

I am in awe of the number of people who are here today, as it seems like almost double the size of the one I had been to a few weeks ago. The crowd is diverse, from 3 year olds to 80 year olds in all shapes and sizes and yet we are all here for the same reason – to dance freely, connect and start our day off on a high!


Oh and high I am. On the drive to work I feel alert, awake, and grateful for this beautiful country of ours as well as for this body of mine, the special life it inhabits and the obstacles it navigates each day.

The working day begins, and I smile a little ‘secret’  smile to myself as I replay my adventures from earlier on.

Good morning world 🙂

[Link to Mango Groove’s Special Star…because you know you wanna’]

Photographs by Michelle Smit.


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7 Thoughts to “A Proudly South African Sunrise”

  1. Tertia Smit

    Love this so much Andi, made me want to join you both next timey xxxx

    1. You would love it! 🙂

  2. Pru

    Wow – how beautifully and honestly and spontaneously expressed – I felt as if I was there with you as one word and then one paragraph of describing flowed intothe next – thank you xxxx

  3. Ernest King

    Well you are jumping into this sobriety thing head first and the sky’s the limit. As I posted awhile back on HSM {Hello Sunday Morning}, I am very proud of your accomplishments but what really surprises me is your determination and enthusiasim during your period of sobriety. I wish you nothing but the very best and would love to contribute..My dry date is June 12, 2002.. Greetings to you and your followers from Newfoundland Canada.

    1. Thanks for the support Ernest 🙂

  4. Ernest King

    Also, I too would have loved to have been there. What a wonderful way to begin the day with tears of joy rolling down your cheek. Changes in the things you do in life can be so uplifting as this is. Rising with the sun and together celebrating another day in the beautiful country of South Africa. Now I wanna travel from Canada to South Africa and join in the celebrations of new life.

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