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.’
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.”→
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?