Are you well? Breathing? Thriving? Self Aware? In tune with self and all those important qualities which aid in living peacefully with self? It is a great joy to share this conversation on fatherhood, absent fathers, broken masculinities, counsel for those who seek to be fathers and regaining hope from manhood to fatherhood. To the young men who desire to be father’s Tata says:
For you to be a father, it is going to depend on how you became a man”
Further for those who have had to carry the burden of fathering sisters & mothers, utata acknowledges the depressive burden and the weight of such pain. To this end, he encourages finding safe places, people with whom you can be vulnerable. Without such, no-one knows how far the cracks have gone. (Listen in 11:32)
To the young women, utata encourages
a sense of knowing who you are, a strong self concept, to look at yourself and love yourself even in difficult times. Plus, self forgiveness and a strong spiritual foundation.
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“I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart.” Samuel 13:14
‘Acoustic, intimate and very African’ are the words Bongeziwe Mabandla uses to describe his music in an interview with Thapelo Mosuiuoa. Often headlined as the new face of Afro-Folk Bongeziwe’s first album ‘umlilo’ was nominated for two SAMA awards for best newcomer and best adult African album. Taking the stage at rocking the daisies, his sounds now play to global audiences, by some he is compared to the legendary Vusi Mahlasela. No doubt, the quality of Bongi’s artistry can not be questioned. Nonetheless It’s not his accolades I’d like to dwell on in this post, rather the deep sense of spiritual invigoration I have gained in the past few weeks from his latest album, ‘Mangaliso’.
It was midday, Sunday the 21st that we sat to listen to the sounds of Bongeziwe Mabandla. There’s a melancholy to his acoustic sound, a mixture of folk, storytelling, mild-rock, traditional African music, orchestra and purpose.
Photographs by Micha Serraf & Kaeli Justus
On this immersive May noon, the festive flair at the Old Biscuit Mill felt eclectic and inevitable. As the dark-skinned young man with sharp features and a fresh fashion sense took the stage women quickened to the floor, men unchivalrously rushed to do the same across the lawn. Oranges and glimmering yellow lanterns scintillating above the crowd. Continue reading “Bongeziwe Mabandla: A 21st Century Psalmist”→
I am home for the week and of course far deeper in thought than usual. There is something about home that refocuses your energy, makes you ponder your paths, habits & plans etc. This includes how I am using my time. Got my beloved mother to sit down with me and converse on themes we’ve identified as time wasters which equate to wasting your life.
In 1997 my mother had a collection of poetry written in isiXhosa that she had submitted to Shuter & Shooter Educational Publishers. At the time they could not accept her contribution to African authorship. With the passing of time, raising children single-handedly, keeping a 9-5+ job what would have been a book, became a dream deferred.
(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)”→
“Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets (legibly) so one may easily read it/ that he who runs may read it.” Habakkuk 2:2
This morning whilst scrolling through old emails, I found a note from Siba to our ladies connect group. A love note full of prayer items that God has since soo faithfully answered.
Siba (whom I affectionately refer to as my roomie) captured and followed to send back an email singling each of our said goals stated at cell group. Our Outcries. Our hearts hopes & Anxieties. Ambitions. Pleadings and prayers. She ends her note with these words:
“we need to follow-up. Accountability is key so that we keep track of the work that God is doing in our lives…I am willing to facilitate this process each month.”
“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.’
Morning by 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.
It’s been a while since I sat down to write let alone reflectively journal. It’s almost a month now since I landed back from China #Chexit. I spent the first two weeks at home Ch’AdultingCʃhʌɪl’adʌlt,əˈdʌlt/ɪ ŋ/
(abiding by the laws set in your mother’s home. Incl. tasks such as cleaning, washing dishes, rising early and preparing food all in efforts to display that you have been well raised- yet preparing for looming adulting tasks Incl. budgeting/ bills-bills. Did I mention bills?