1cm for Human Rights


Yesterday I asked my Facebook peers a question.

Is it acceptable to take your children to watch you get a tattoo for Human Rights at the Bassline?

004-international-declaration-of-human-rights-posterI was expecting widespread condemnation.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that most of my friends are a quirky as I am and fully supported this rather unusual foray into parenting.

When I reread the question I had written I was struck by its ambiguity.

Was it the venue I was unsure of or the tattoo?

I am still not certain.

I need to point out that if The Husband was not somewhere beginning with C this week, I would have gone solo.

But as it happened the father off my beloved offspring was in somewhere beginning with C so the option was moot.

human rights article 18

“We are going a grand adventure!” I announced.

“Can I bring my iPad?” was the answer.

On the trip into the inner heart Johannesburg we were at first led astray by my inexplicable decision to trust the stupid American GPS lady who quite obviously had no idea where she was leading us.

Once I had reasserted my authority over this virtual directionally challenged bint, we arrived at our destination.

I then had to fork over R20 to ensure my car’s safety and security, only to discover shortly afterward that there was a private secure parking lot I could have chosen. Never mind.

Click to visit Bassline

Click to visit Bassline

We went to the front of the club.

We went to the side of the club.

We went to the other side of the club.

We went to the back of the club.



We had found the Human Rights Tattoo initiative.

slide1I signed up and we went for hot chocolate, chocolate mousse and snails at Sophiatown – a truly fabulous restaurant next door to an equally fabulous little bar where the band let my kids help set up for their set.

Then the rain came down.

So we danced in the rain all the way back.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is made up of 6 773 letters.

(Obviously not 6 773 different letters, the alphabet is not that long. Argh! You know what I mean.)

Screen shot 2013-11-28 at 3.10.44 PM

The plan is to tattoo the declaration one letter at time on 6 773 consecutive people forming a walking, talking, breathing declaration.

It appealed to me on some primal level.

I wanted a tattoo that meant something, but couldn’t think of what.

I wanted a symbol of what I believe in, what I stand for, for the type of world I want for my children.

I want a world for them where human rights aren’t a question, a dream or an ideal, but a truth, a reality and the norm.

I wanted to be part of something bigger than me.

Something that said: You know what?

6 773 of us care.

Fair-hearing-UDHRBecause it is not okay to rape a 6 week old baby.

It is not okay to keep people in slavery.

It is not okay to deny education or healthcare.

It is not okay to bury your head in the sand and shake your head when you read the headlines.

It is up to you to stand up and do something about it.

By having this reminder on my body every time I look down I remember how I choose to live my life, so that every action I take is directed by 30 tenets that are obvious they should never have had to be written down.

Last night my children learned a lesson.

They learned about the city we call home.

They learned that R20 can feed a family.

They learned that grown ups can be so stupid they forget the things that children know.

They learned grown ups need to be reminded to be good as often as kids need to be reminded to put their toys away.

Joining me last night were businessmen, lawyers, hippies, emo children, homeless guys, ad executives, doctors, architects, rappers, teachers – people from all walks of life united by a single small action.

Visual art collective Tilburg CowBoys and Festival Mundial are the passion behind the ideal that is taking the Human Rights Tattoo initiative across the world.

So far they have tattooed people from Holland, Spain, Kenya and now South Africa.

1459302_10151672832166116_13697181_nNearly 1 500 people have already joined the movement.

I am the L in impartial.

I am number 1283.

I am proud my children were there to watch me make this pledge.

Even if they were disappointed I did not cry or scream or spout blood like a B-Grade horror movie victim.

So, when they come to your country or your town, why not donate 1 cm of your skin to human rights?

Hey, it’s better than getting your girlfriend’s name etched on your ass and have her break up with you 2 days later.

If you missed the Baseline in Johannesburg last night, you can still catch them in Soweto on Saturday morning at Slaghuis.

Just go to http://www.humanrightstattoo.org/ or find them on Facebook.

To find out more about Bassline or Sophiatown, just click on the images and off you go.

But, and there is always a but.

Perhaps having an L tattooed on my right wrist wasn’t the most intelligent option ever.


7 thoughts on “1cm for Human Rights

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