(names, village networks, shame, community violence, difference, absent fathers)
Siki was raised. Yet his birth had been unexpected. Mother (Zolelwa) had been delinquent. They hid in the garden and sank beneath a bush camouflaged by overlays of flattering brown grass to cover their sin. She (Sikis’ mother) shifted and settled her back on the grainy surface of the large brownish rock. She lifted the hem of her dress, and let Bhut’Sbongile rub in-between her dry legs. His callous hands’ cupping, caressing the supple bits of her inner legs, pressing where the back of her thigh rolled in to join her plump bum. His ballpoint fingers tendering, rising then falling primly on the smooth, soft flesh where her panties rested. Quick. Stolen. Short gluckings from the slight dampness that dewed over their thighs.
Growing up, Siki’s mother (Zolelwa) lived with makhulu (Her mother’s sister). Makhulus lineage was the blessed one, not Zolelwas’ mothers’ line. From makhulus’ waist emerged the brightest minds. Teachers, nurses, school principles, community leaders and clerks. Her children were of the few who managed to complete form 5 and later on move out of the village, not to toil underground in the mines of eGoli. They moved further – attended night schools – could recite stanzas from Sonnet 116 – became teachers in small towns – married young – bore and or raised children immediately. All in sequence.
Though Zolelwa (Siki’s mother) was in the same age range as makhulus’ first set of grandchildren they were always destined to have a different future to hers. Though they splintered from one trunk, born of the same seed, awakened by the same rhythmic beat that drummed when their clan names were loudly proclaimed, tangled in blood, knotted in the connectedness of their last names… even so, it was clear that she and they would branch out differently. Continue reading “The cousin you never call (Pt1)”→
“I wonder if they knew..I wonder if oMama bethu knew that the schools they took us to were violent. Phofu, if they knew [just how violent our schools were] I wonder if they would have taken us out. I doubt. The thing is, uyabona Sihle, my mother is a strong woman,” Phuti said seated at the end of the table. She raised her glass of beyerskloof red wine, gulped and placed it back on the table and continued speaking.
“She is soo strong.” She shook her head.
“What do you mean?” I inquired, leaning closer to hear, curious to gain insight.
So morning after morning, we marched out of our neighborhoods, shunning black and colored schools adjacent to our homes. Refusing to be trapped by geography. Morning after morning, we were transported past railways and bridges, tearing down soft zoning’s and apartheid spatial engineering to find and seek and find. Fueled by the promise of a ‘better life for all.’
Each morning we escaped our anti-aspirant communities and recalcitrant neighbors. Disjuncture. Trudging through, traversing space. Displacement. Continuously in motion to find remote classrooms in the city, indoctrinated by the belief that the material offered in non-whites schools was anti-aspirant. And daily, the strong chords that tied us to our neighborhoods, our cousins, our blackness, our villages and our heritage thinned. Continue reading “Model C Schools: Corridors of violence & Assemblies of Assimilation.”→
“Ngoba,” she said at last, “why do you ask?” A bubble of soreness burst in her throat.
That was the only word she could muster.
“Why do you ask” she answered us with a question. She gulped. Swallowing her voice.
Her very children were pulling clogged nets from her spirit. Awakening demons she had laid to rest. The day he passed, she had vowed to herself to remember him in secrecy. She quietly shelved their precious memories, chewed her tongue and said to herself, “hide this.”
Mama is looking out the front window taking pictures of the rows of faded grass sprawling over the winding land on the roadside. My fingertips gripping on the stick, pulling out my sucker from Zweli’s mouth. He clenches his front teeth making a g’dlhe sound. I raise my eyebrows, mildly agitated by his excessive suckling and the thought of his moisture-laden tongue surfing on my stock-sweet. I blink then look up and catch sight of ma as she reviews her amateur images. She’s hoping to find a colorful capture.
But..we already know there is none to be found.
Not only owing to her photo taking skills, but also ’cause no orange buttery sunset or thin silver twilight will suddenly stretch over the bland rows of grass to melt into the horizon of her images.’ Continue reading “The mother who chewed her tongue Pt2”→
Or are you still thinking about it? Are you a half feminist then? A not so good/ bad feminist perhaps?
If one yields to half feminism or bad feminism, why would they identify as a feminist in the first place you may ask?
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably
too nice to be feminist. Yet too feminist to be nice.
‘A mess, full of contradictions.’
The other day, I smiled at him, a moon sized smile. To be honest I was cringing as I listened to his flippant platitudes of entitlement.
Words-entitlement-words-entitlement, seeped through this scrubs mans mouth. But I smiled. Tap-tap, that’s a lesson ladies, In case you inattentively missed that scrubs.
A good woman always honors a man. To achieve this you must hide some words, better yet erase some words edit-edit-edit till they sound like nothing you were trying to say. Be reminded-different people read your posts. Your male or white friends may read your writing, refrain from sounding disillusioned and hyperbolic and too black angry nobody did it to you.
black hair as a veil into the African women’s soul
“I have an audition tomorrow, ” Wanda said to Wode,” they asked me to send a picture. I did, but… I haven’t told them I no longer have the hairstyle I had on the picture.
I don’t know, aarph.
I should have just kept it for one more day. You know?
I just don’t think..” *shrugs*
“I just don’t think they’ll think I’m as beautiful with my natural hair.”
Almost to highlight that they wouldn’t think so, but perhaps she might dare to. You know? She might take the risk and think of herself as beautiful.
In the distant future when she believed-it-believed-it she had a list of things she would do with it on. She’d travel to another province or another country with her natural hair. Go to a friends wedding with her natural hair. To her graduation with her natural hair. In the distant future, she might take the risk and walk up the aisle, to the altar to say “I do” with her natural hair. Continue reading “African Rapunzel”→