Awuleth' iPen yami Pen yam'

Monday, March 24, 2014

~ “If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.” James Baldwin ~

Saturday, March 8, 2014

sometimes tragedy is a part of life, this we know, and accept. but awu bakithi, like many i’ve been following the missing Malaysian Airways jet and it just proper crushes you. my heart goes out to all the 239; may the angels keep watch of their souls wherever they are, whatever happened, and may their friends and families be comforted at this unimaginable time, and always.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

... Kamanda

This disbelief, this heartbreak, this sadness, but God has spoken, gentle Prince. Lala ngoxolo.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Wild flowers with strong hearts take any season to bloom. " Yvonne Vera.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Wena oweza lokukhanya. Amandla. Hamba kahle tata Madiba; duduzeka South Africa.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

... recycled.

Sweet Seed

(for my brother, Nene).
He could have been wearing an expensive dress of bones, my brother Ronald, that’s how I remember him, lying there on that narrow bed by the broken window, skeletal thin like a man fed on pins all his life. There were the screaming curves of skull, a spine like the edge of a table, the most perfect jut of hip, knee, rib, bone and bone and bones, Jesus, nothing but bones. And then the skin, tautest cloth draping over the bones, over dried furrows, rivers of blood once, then the weary eyes, drowning in the depths of edged sockets. This is how I remember him; I was fifteen and I woke up everyday to search the country of that strange new body for my brother. What I saw was war. And it raged and we watched it drag out, bombs falling above my sisters’ prayers, above my grandmother’s prayers, and at fifteen I crossed my fingers and thought, Like, isn’t this where God is s’possed to do something, like, can’t he hear them praying? The bombs fell above pills and medicines, above herbs and mutis and talismans, above every hopeful hope, every plea, every single thing that could have been; it was a terrible war and couldn’t nobody stop it but at fifteen it never occurred to me that my brother was dying, didn’t occur to me that this was the AIDS they were talking about on the news, the AIDS of foreign countries and whores and everything that was not who we were, and if it occurred to anybody then they kept it inside like blood and we walked around in silent silence, adults slow-dancing with grief already because yes, war was war —

But in that war though, we never cried. Never sent distress signals, there were no flags, no shouts to the neighbors. We kept it all under the tongue like a zhanje seed made too precious to spit out by the memory of its sweetness. We pursued our mouths and smiled on the street, and at fifteen I went to school and kicked it with my homegirls and homeboys with names like Thabs, Leslie, Sna, Thuts, Stha – Ronald my sweet seed under the tongue like a forbidden lover. And after school I ran home to pick up my guns and be a child soldier standing at the edge of my brother’s bed, around me feet and feet marching into silence and more silence. And when one afternoon Ronald’s war ended, not because we won, we flung the gates open and the village came and there was wailing and wailing and wailing but nobody said AIDS. We said Rest in Peace, Go well, He fought Hard, Ronald, Ronald,“Thabath’ is’phambano, ulandele. Tshiya lumhlaba, lentozawo, ngcono ngiz’hambele, ngalindlela. Thabath’ is’phambano, ulandele. Tshiya lumhlaba, lentozawo, ngcono ngiz’hambele, ngalindlela.” And when after the funeral I stood alone in my father’s bedroom, Ronald’s crisp death certificate in my trembling tresspassing hands and I saw the words “Cause of death—HIV-AIDS” I read them with barely-moving lips, softly, softly, so the wind would never know. 

*In memory of all those who have fallen, in gratitude to all those who fight, with hopes for an AIDS free generation one day. And, if you are reading this and it applies, I am sorry. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Country-gaming at the beach earlier this year.

"To play country-game you need two rings: a big outer one, then inside it, a little one, where the caller stands. You divide the outer ring depending on how many people are playing and cut it up in nice pieces like this. Each person then picks a piece and writes the name of the country on there, which is why it’s called country-game.
But first we have to fight over the names because everybody wants to be certain countries, like everybody wants to be the U.S.A. and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and France and Italy and Sweden and Germany and Russia and Greece and them. These are the country-countries. If you lose the fight, then you just have to settle for countries like Dubai and South Africa and Botswana and Tanzania and them. They are not country-countries, but at least life is better than here. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti, like Sri Lanka, and not even this one we live in—who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?
If I’m lucky, like today, I get to be the U.S.A., which is a country-country; who doesn’t know that the U.S.A. is the big baboon of the world? I feel like it’s my country now because my aunt Fostalina lives there, in Destroyedmichygen. Once her things are in order she’ll come and get me and I will go and live there also. After we have sorted the names we vote for the first caller. The caller is the person who stands in the little inner circle to get the game started. Everybody else stands in the bigger circle, one foot in his country, the other foot outside.
The caller then calls on the country of his choice and the game begins. The caller doesn’t just call on any country, though; he has to make sure it’s a country that he can easily count out. It’s like being in a war; in a war you don’t just start to fight somebody stronger than you because you will get proper clobbered. Likewise in country-game, it’s best to call somebody who is a weak runner so he can’t beat you. Once the caller calls we scatter and run as if the police themselves are chasing us, except for the country that’s been called; that one has to run right into the inner ring and shout, Stop-stop-stop!
Once everyone stops, the new country in the inner ring then decides who to count out. Counting out is done by taking at least three leaps to get to one of the countries outside. It’s easier to just count out the country closest to the outer ring, meaning whoever did not run that far—you just do your leaps nice and steady; the other country is counted out and has to sit and watch the game. But if you are the new country in the inner ring and cannot count anybody out in three leaps because you were not fast enough to stop the other countries, you pick the next caller and leave the game. It continues like that until there is only one country left, and the last country standing wins.
We are in the middle of the game, and it’s just getting hot; Sudan and Congo and Guatemala and Iraq and Haiti and Afghanistan have all been counted out and are sitting at the borders watching the country-countries play. We are running away from North Korea when we see the big NGO lorry passing Fambeki, headed toward us. We immediately stop playing and start singing and dancing and jumping." WNNN.
Za and Khanyi scattering.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Its been such an honor being read and reviewed since the Booker jambanja started a couple of months ago, but I'll admit that sometimes it's also been awkward and plain crazy, though of course I'd be an idiot to complain. So, I'm only juss saying, and not complaining, and really, God knows (I don't mean my character, I mean the Oga at the top) that I am truly, truly humbled and grateful and inspired and encouraged and awed and confused and uplifted by everything. Special thank you to ALL my readers, regardless of what they think about the book, and to those generous ones who have taken the time to reach out and let me know how they feel. There are moments I stare at all your kind messages and words go through the broken window...
Ah, what a pleasure to be in the presence of an amazing group of writers in Jim and Jhumpa and Colm and Ruth and Eleanor, just simply beautiful. And, finally, a heartfelt congratulations to our winner, Eleanor Catton, so so proud, so thrilled for you - thank you for creating. And now, hopefully, rest, normalcy!