umGqibelo-Saturday

Thina sonke sivela kweny’indawo.

We all come from another place.

This morning, listening to uKhozi loDádò while driving to Norwood mall, it was very difficult to make out the names of the toddlers phoning in on their mothers’ phones – but when asked ‘uvela kuphi nendawo?’, their replies were crystal clear:

ngaseShowe. in the area around eShowe
Sakh’ emKomazi. we build in the-Cow-river-area
SisekwaDukuza. we are in the-kraal-of-groping-about-blindly-in-the-dark

We all know where we come from, and it’s somewhere else for many of us. There is poetry about every place, and memories that sit in them like izivivane at the side of a path, begging for another rock to appease the spirits of the area – in their smells…

{the sweet strong humidity of the smoke from the charred sugar-cane in the air; the warm grassy richness of mud clogged on feet from squelching in the wake of a herd of cattle, udders heavy with milk; the dusty sweat of the heat in mid-September, around the time of what used to be called ‘Shaka Day’, when the amabutho gathered to honor the memory of iLemb’elEq’amaNy’amaLembe, uShaka kaSenzangakhona}

…and in their tastes…

{jikijolo berries staining our tongues us as we walk through nettle-rich grass, mindful of ticks but determined to find sweet roots; tears and salt mouths in the early evening whiteness of mist and dementia, minds slipping slowly over dales on the way back to uMgungundlovu; schweppes granadilla fizzing warmly in the early afternoon in a sugar-rushed grumpiness as we watch the King enter, as we listen to Mntwana kaPhindaNgena striding headlong into a 2 hour speech in honor of his great ancestors}

…and the way they felt to be left behind.