5 August 2012 – The Last Time I saw Him

Screenshot_2017-05-21-00-01-57-1

I’ve written a poem about this but I never wrote about the actual story. So since this is the week of the 6th, the date of his departure, I thought I should write this.

The 5th of August was a day that had a surprise in store for my family and I (a sour surprise, that is). I remember having my uncle and mom fetching me from hostel in 2012 on a Friday night, as they were attending a relatives’ funeral at home – Limpopo, Turfloop. It was nice being home because my grandparents hadn’t seen the three of us in a long time; plus they were excited because my uncle had begun with his studies in electrical engineering.

I remember attending the funeral the next morning together with my family. And my grandmother’s hand layed upon my Malome’s hand, as she had a leg problem and needed support. He was so handsome, he gloated about his own smile.

That Sunday, we were attending an annual church event in a region called Manche Masemola. It’s a tradition we follow as Anglicans – we visit that place to celebrate the life of a late young lady named Manche Masemola. She was adamant about following Christ, even when her parents disagreed with her beliefs. My uncle, Mapholoba, did not go because he had chosen a different religious path – he was Islamic. So, since we had to return to life in Gauteng, we agreed that we would meet my uncle in town that Sunday after our church trip and would proceed from there.

My grandmother had bought him new sneakers that weekend and had given him some pocket money for the road. He and my mother dropped me at school and as I was about to walk to hostel, I felt a deep need for him to walk with me. But he was on the phone and I couldn’t interrupt him – so I ended up waving goodbye, not knowing that it was a wave of conclusion.

He and my mother drove off and she dropped him in Sunnyside, where he was going to meet a group of friends. She said she dropped him off in Sunnyside with an open heart, not knowing that she was walking him down the aisle towards death. Since then, he was quiet but life went on. That coming Wednesday, I was going home to my mother for a long weekend and had been pondering about my uncle in class throughout. As I took my seat in the bus, a heavy, sad feeling fell upon me. It was like all the sadness in the world had decided to gather inside my soul. I became angry at God because I knew him to be a God who brought joy.

My entire journey to Gauteng that afternoon was like paper, kissed by questions of why I suddenly felt so sad. My mother fetched me from the bus station and bought us pizza for dinner. As we were eating, she was complaining about Malome not answering his phone. We thought he was avoiding us – we were annoyed and concerned. Since my mother used to work for SAPS, she had a few contacts there, so she put them to good use by calling her former colleague to ask him to try and find my uncle, as my grandparents were worried that they couldn’t reach him. He agreed and called after some time, asking for my mother’s address as he had decided to come that night. Unfortunately, he was there to deliver the news – that my uncle’s body was found in Sunnyside, stabbed and butchered like an animal to be eaten.

I didn’t believe at first – I called his phone after I had found out the news but nobody answered, still. We went to the scene, and found blood on the plants where he lay and tissue which looked like it had been used to wipe off his blood. This was at Nelson Mandela Drive, Sunnyside. It was so terrifying to see all that – my grandfather eventually came and asked that we collect the plants and tissues that had his bloodstains. We then went to see him at a mortuary in Pretoria – as lifeless as he was, a smile sat upon his face.

I had to go back to school and all that had happened taught me that life does not wait for you to finish grieving – it simply goes on. I remember asking God to raise him from his grave and show everyone that it was all a joke. But it never happened. I had to accept that he was gone and it was going to take years.

The sad part was that at age 30, he had finally decided to start studying and do something better with his life; but because death found him so appealing, he only lasted 6 months in that college.

We buried him a week later and I still miss him, even today. I wrote this because I know that somebody can relate and is feeling broken because of losing a loved one. I knew there were families who had experienced similar situations – situations we see on television but never imagine would happen to us. To them I say, you are loved and it’s not the end of your happiness. There’s still joy, peace and healing waiting to embrace your soul.

I wish you better nights, happier thoughts and more hope for your future. Below is a poem I wrote in his memory:

candles

Dear Mapholoba

 

As you walked down the aisle

That was death’s tongue

The only help left for you to ask was to be swallowed faster

 

For you were a train life chose to disembark

A name that flew out of life’s cage

Death was a bird, renovating her nest

And you were a twig best fit for that purpose

 

Mapholoba

 

When your soul was about to say “I do” to mortality, nobody was there to object

And we now have to forever hold our piece

Our piece being to accept that

It was your turn

It was your face death had to unveil that day
Your turn to be the drink that death fervently sipped on

Malome

I can’t begin to utter what a task it was
To accept that you were a pair of earrings death was now wearing

That our enemies

Were pleased to see that death had finally put a ring on it

 

Even today

When grandma calls for us,  your name refuses to leave the chair that is her voice

For you are a tap water ceased to flow from

Leaving her thirsty

 

Mapholoba

 

The most recent picture your son has with you

Was taken at the graveyard
Where he gave you flowers that’ll never know your hands
And “I love you’s” that’ll never get to play in your ears

The last time I saw you

Your left eye was a bed disfigurement finally got to lie in

Your smile loudly waving goodbye

 

So now, we will forever hold on to our piece of accepting

That the land of the living no longer feeds from your smile
Nor can ears hug your voice
That the taste of your footsteps are now forgotten by the ground

Your departure
Birthed in me violent questions to God
Rage towards Him for giving cruelty a chance to shine

 

MminaTau

 

Today

I’m sorry to say that justice sounds like a fairy-tale

Our naive hearts believed

 

 

Advertisements

Mother – Kgošigadi

downloadHer feet kiss the stairs as she descends in the morning
My eyes hold hands with her skin and its palms sing a new song each day
My mother
The world is a page and she is God’s handwriting
If my life was a face, she would be the glow dancing in the aisles of my features
She has planted me in the pit of her passion, in there lies a fire reciting love poems to my purpose
My heart is a drum custom made for her rhythm
My mother
One evening
She’ll find my tears shaking hands with my face
Because it was one of those where I felt ugly
And she’d say baby
“Your hips are chairs where half moons sit. They invade the dark!
And you are a crown I wear with pride each day”
My mother
Ke yena kgošigadi
She’ll never cry alone
For even in distance
Our tears hum duets
Welcoming the joy that comes with the morning
She deemed herself loved for my birth, hence smothering my life with the name
Keratilwe
My mother
I am the mic life will use to recite her
For she is the Jesus to my storms
I smell like her blood, sweat and tears
And the scent is so strong
It will never go unnoticed

For Charles.

My father used to visit me at my grandparents’ home when I was younger. He was an active part of my life at the time, especially because he and my mother were still together. He would fetch me, take me to town and we would play games at Magic Company, eat wherever I wanted, buy the CDs I wanted and to seal our day spent together, he would buy me snacks to take to school as a lunchbox. It was like going on a date – I was always dressed well when my dad was coming around and my hair was nicely tied.

My mom and grandparents always told me what beautiful hair I had. That it surely wasn’t their genes that landed on my head – that it had to be my father’s genes. It made a lot of sense because my father and his sisters’ hair was just like mine. I remember going to a salon in town (Polokwane) with my mother and uncle; we all got our hair done. Mine and my mother’s was relaxed and my uncle’s was nicely cut. One of the first people I couldn’t wait to show my hair was my father. He was like my first love, I wanted him to see how well his genes had settled on me.

I haven’t seen my father in 7 years now. Not because he has passed on; he’s still alive, doing life somewhere.

In most cases, girls like me are expected to resent their fathers and forget about them. But for some reason, I don’t have a shadow of hate for my father. I never will – there’s nothing on earth he can do for me to hate him.

In my matric year (2013), I decided to start growing my natural hair. That was because I had relaxed hair from a young age and never got to witness what I looked like in my most natural form. People were telling me how beautiful my hair was at the time but I really wanted to see what God initially intended for me to look like. So I grew my natural hair and fell in love with it. I could not believe that all those years of my life, I was burning hair that was naturally beautiful and needed no effects.

I cut and relaxed it again in my second year at varsity and I regretted my decision (there was so much confusion going on with me). And again, I decided to grow my natural hair from scratch. And till today, I am in love with it and I don’t regret my decision. There is just one thing missing – my father hasn’t seen my hair since I’ve taken the natural route. It’s something I’ve been daydreaming about and even if it never happens, at least I would’ve known that my pride in my hair gave glory to the Most High.

I use my hair to celebrate my father. And I’m not saying I have the best hair in the world, I just find my hair beautiful; I’d love for everyone else to feel the same about theirs. The chances are very low but if my father ever gets to read this, this is what I have to say to him. I have also put pictures in this blog post for him to see:

Thank you for falling in love with my mother at the time you did – I couldn’t have asked for a better woman to birth me. The memory of your gentle voice is my blanket in cold episodes and since I don’t have the privilege of hearing it every day, I wish to record you the next time you call me. When I look at your pictures, I get to feel what it’s like to step into a dream.

Not much about me has changed, I’m still very tender-hearted and graced with an innocent looking face. Other young ladies get to sit with their fathers in their cars and dance to the music they play. All I can do is try to remember the old school music you used to play when you were with me. Nonetheless, my hair strands are a choir singing out your name, so I have all the music I need to feel you.

I know you are doing life without me but knowing that the atmosphere still serves as a playground for your laughter would satisfy me. I’ve looked for you in other men, not realising that you were sitting in my smile. I have grown so much and many of my milestones aren’t familiar with your presence; I’m graduating soon and I already know that you won’t be there. But it’s alright – if my love for you was the wall of Jericho, no cycle of disappointment could ever descend it.

Yes, you have lathered my hopes in you with disappointment sometimes but you are my father and nothing will ever change that. I have put some pictures of my hair for you to see. I will continue with this another day and even if I die before I complete this, at least I would die knowing that I did try to relay my feelings towards you.

Death

Death

 

We are all accessories death can afford

We are goals that death will certainly score one day

Outfits that life is preparing for death to wear

 

We are living stanzas of the poem that is death

Death is a comedian

And we are the jokes it tells

We are words that form the sentences death speaks

 

We are predestined breaths death is meant to take

We are all deaths concubines

Questions death asks

That only life can answer

 

Death is a book

And each of us will occupy a page one day

We are products life is manufacturing

For death to consume

 

We are like potential queens

Marinated by time

And death will choose its next bride from among us

We are the flowers that make death the garden it is

 

We are like wine life is pouring for death to drink

And we are all flavours that tickle deaths taste-buds

Life is a woman who spring cleans her home

And each of us will be the dirt she sweeps out one day

 

We are life’s body parts

Made for death to caress

 

You are a liar once you deem yourself talentless

For death is a talent we all possess

 

One day, we’ll no longer be comfortable chairs for life to sit

We are stages that will display death’s talent one day

And the grief of our loved ones will sound like an applause in deaths ears

So

As long as you’re still a pair of shoes life chooses to wear

Be the best pair you possibly can be

Because the day it decides to take you off for a new pair

You cannot convince it otherwise

 

 

 

Dear Nothing

This poem came about in 2015 in my res room; I was trying my hardest to put something on paper but NOTHING was willing to be written.

IMG_20161012_233009Dear Nothing
Everything should thank you for your existence
For without you

Everything would have no significance

Dear Nothing

You are so powerful
You motivated God to become a creator
You are the fuel of existence

And you are alive in everything

Dear Nothing

We fear numerous things
And we are told to fear ‘nothing’
Indeed we should fear you
For you precede all creation

Dear Nothing

Thank you that
When I say I have nothing
I have everything
For you are a DNA
That will always manoeuvre in the bloodstreams of time

Dear Nothing

They say nothing is wrong
But how are you wrong when wrong wouldn’t have been without your existence?

Dear Nothing

They say nothing will change
But that is a lie
Because nothing stays the same

Dear Nothing

You are like a wet less river
Yearning to home orphaned waters
You are the absence of infertility

Dear Nothing

Thank you for your nothingness
For without it
We would be nothing too

A Hymn for Mapholoba

candles

Dear Mapholoba

 

As you walked down the aisle

That was death’s tongue

The only help left for you to ask was to be swallowed faster

 

For you were a train life chose to disembark

A name that managed to fly out of life’s cage

Death was a bird, renovating her nest

And you were a twig best fit for that purpose

 

Mapholoba

 

When your soul was about to say “I do” to mortality, nobody was there to object

And we now have to forever hold our piece

Our piece being to accept that

It was your turn

It was your face death had to unveil that day
Your turn to be the drink that death fervently sipped on

Malome

I can’t begin to utter what a task it was
To accept that you were a pair of earrings death was now wearing

That our enemies

Were pleased to see that death finally put a ring on it

 

Even today

When grandma calls for us,  your name refuses to leave the chair that is her voice

For you are a tap that water stopped flowing from

Leaving her thirsty

 

Mapholoba

 

The most recent picture your son has with you

Was taken at the graveyard
Where he gave you flowers that’ll never know your hands
And “I love you’s” that’ll never get to play in your ears

The last time I saw you

Your left eye was a bed disfigurement finally got to lie in

Your smile loudly waving goodbye

 

So now, we will forever hold on to our piece of accepting

That the land of the living no longer feeds from your smile
Nor can ears hug your voice
The taste of your footsteps now forgotten by the ground

Your departure
Birthing in me violent questions to God
Rage towards Him for giving cruelty a chance to shine

 

MminaTau

 

 

Today

I’m sorry to say that justice sounds like a fairy-tale

Our naive hearts believed

 

Will I do it Right?

Will I do it right?

Will I be enough sun in the summertime of their memory?
Will my words carry enough weight to sink under their rivers of thought?
Will my recital be enough a rhythm for their fancies to dance to?
Will my recital be a halleluyah worthy sermon?

I ask myself
Will I do it right?

Will their tongues ever agree to be landlord to my talent?
Will my recital be able to afford their approval?

Or will it be a beggar in the streets of their levels?
Will poetry be proud to call me its own?
Or will I just be proven to be in the wrong zone?

Will I do it right?

Will I be solid foundation for their favour to be built on?
Will their attention say yes, when my poetry asks for a dance?
Will my presence be beautiful enough to cause their ovation to stand in awe?

Will I do it right?

As I recite
Will I be a lonely sea?
With nobody to surf my waves?
Will my art be fertile sand their applause can be planted in?
Will the stage be unashamed of its association with me?
I wonder, will I be good enough?

These are thoughts that sometimes govern my mind
Before I remove the veil off the face of my talent

And I’m glad I’ve travelled that route of thought
Because then I wouldn’t have realized
That

My talent is too beautiful to be a wasteland candidate
Not everybody likes the sun
But it shines anyway
And so will my poetry

Because I was made for this
And this for me