June, 2012

Ice-Cream Sundays

My father came from Newcastle, where his ancestors were indentured Indians who worked on the coal mines there. My mother was the daughter of an enterprising woman who, at the urging of her brothers, moved from Durban to Ladysmith in the 1950s to take care of their banana depot.

Silence

My parents told me that I have always been creative. But this creativity started as a coping mechanism when I was younger, specifically from the age of three.

Childhood Memory: When I apparently got "lost"

While I was still in Limpopo, I used to see my grandmother get on the bus to work in the morning and got off the bus in the evening from work. I got curious about what happens on the bus.

Mother writes Yvonne Vera’s biography

Petal Thoughts: Yvonne Vera
by Ericah Gwetai
Mambo Press, Gweru, Zimbabwe: 2008
ISBN: 978-0-86922-823-4

Reviewed by Memory Chirere

Imagine your mother writing your biography! What would she say or leave out and why?

A Sleepless Daughter

Growing-up without a father…

L-Section

The houses in L-section tear themselves in two. Built to be four roomed homes - the standard really is a kitchen, a lounge and two bedrooms - they stand when I am born as two halves of a creaky whole. They were made simply, to house simple people. They were made by simple people too, who thought when they were done, they could squeeze two Black families in two halves of a four room house.

Behind Today

Born in Ubah to the Bahumono clan, in the river area of Cross River State, Anozeng lived very happily with his siblings, four brothers and a sister. The eldest, Obeten, was five years older than him and was seen as big brother of the family in many regards. The second, a once stoutly built young man who become a shadow of his previous looks, was three years older than him while his younger ones Ada, Brendan and Egbe were three, five and seven years younger than him respectively. Everyone loved to have a good home and this family looked up to Obasi to sustain and bring them to their destiny. One morning, while they were in their village Ubah, Anozeng and his sister Ada decided to follow other villagers to hunt for periwinkles along the Ubah swamps which are bounded by Bhatebha to the west and Bhazumutong to the north towards Othumusa the ancestral home of the Bhahumonos. Not familiar with the terrain, since they had not been staying in the village but in the local government headquarters in Obubra, it was not easy to locate places except those they had been to in the village and, for this reason, both children needed to be very careful as they followed other villagers for the periwinkle hunting. In the swarm, Ada tried to ensure that they walked closely in the company of other villagers and though she was younger, she felt she had the responsibility of ensuring their well-being which makes her caution Anozeng, “please don’t go too far away from the group as you well know we are but children in this company and we need to listen to them since we can’t even locate our way back home.”

A Dying Legacy

After my brother and I are dead, the Gule family line from my grandfather, William Gule, will come to an end in the patriarchal sense. I mention this fact because there has always been in my upbringing the idea that the Gule family name, along with the values that were transmitted to us, via my parents, by my grandparents, had to continue.

Buried!

One Sunday afternoon in June of 1993, while we were at home and my mother’s brother-in-law talked about his car-dealership the phone suddenly rang. My dad came stumbling into the living room with a ghost like expression on his face – my aunt had phoned to let us know that my grandfather (my mom’s father) had passed away.

Mother Interrupted

I was overdosing on the bed next to my three month old daughter after feeling like my life wasn't worth living. It was more than post-natal depression. I wasn't needed, I was born into a miserable existence. Two beings of light told me that there was no coming back after this and that if I wanted to see my daughter grow up, I would have to get to hospital immediately. I couldn't move.

A lesbian's lament

My heart is broken. I have lost an old friend. From now on, life will be something less. Sade's song laments in the background: "I'm the king of sorrow, oooo".

Hairscapades

When I was twelve-years old I had thick hair that went down to my knees which many admired.

Boarding School

One of my first boarding school experiences involved meat. I think back and shudder at the memory. Not used to fighting for food, I lined up with every other girl waiting to get my first serving of beef, overcooked veggies and burnt pap. It was a long queue. Those who were 'in the know' had all lined up early, and were getting their fair shares of 'top layer', i.e.

Richard Molefe was an Artist

Richard Molefe was an artist.

Tinkies

It was a normal Sunday morning, armed with Black Kiwi Polish and old pantyhose I begun shining my Crocket & Jones. This was my morning ritual before going to Sunday school. After agreeing to my mischievous suggestion, Lebohang and I departed for the nearest church instead of the one our families belonged to which was a much longer walk away.

I do not know how to let go because I was once 14 years old and in STD 7

A Confession in 3 parts

1. Making burgers at home
I have not tried hard enough
If I had the right ingredients I know I will get it just right
With the right patty
Buns instead of bread
I can also make a Wimpy burger

Refrain ALMOST DOESN’T COUNT

When I grow up
I will have the right tools for the right things