Lockdown: Just maybe…(Day #8)

Eight days into lockdown, Baba is home every night ,he shares meals and childhood adventures with us. The fire is his eyes is reignited; lighting up his face. There is no reek of alcohol in his breath, no anger in his voice; and there is no disgust or fear in Mama’s. The void of silence and thick tension that use to consume us, is now filled with laughter ,and proximity.

It’s in the way he looks at Mama, with that stuporless glare of adoration and remorse. Contemplating and regreting his past actions. It’s in the way he humours my little sister’s million questions ,and the energy with which he feeds her curiousity, as if he is just discovering Fatherhood for the first time in his sobriety.

Maybe there is good to come off this lockdown, just maybe this will mark the end of absence, and emotional deadbeats will understand the impact of mere presence. Mhlambe this —enforced time with family and all those that matter—will provide rehabilitation, and we won’t have to lose anymore siblings and role models to the abuse of substances.

Maybe Baba will again feel more at home in this one room slum with us, than at the tavern pits with moral-less scavengers .

Maybe beyond this ,the good will outweigh the bad. And time spent caressed by the energy of those that value us , will help us gain a little bit of humanity, and we’ll look at responsibilty as another way of cultivating empathy .

Just maybe…. ©

Lockdown: One-on-One (Day #3)

We sometimes make prejudiced and imprudent commitments into relationships,clouded by the flare of newly found ‘love’ we deliberately ignore even the most blatant of flaws.

We over indulge on the pleasure, we drown our voices of reason in the flow of emotion . We forget that combustion doesn’t last forever without consistent supply of oxygen and fuel. When the fire finally dies and reality sets in,we are overwhelmed.
We don’t know how to handle it,so we resent them. We push them away ,we yearn for an escape.

“What did i get myself into?” We often ask.

The truth is ,we didn’t pay attention. Blindfolded by own preconceptions and fantasies; influenced by the surge of rippling thrills, we tiptoed around the shards; we watered the cactus ignoring that in its full bloom, it grows sharp spines . We gave in impulsively, not giving it time to unfurl at a natural rate.

Now that we are sober from the stupor, we are terrified . So we hurt our ‘companions’ in self defence and confusion ,or we sentence ourselves—hobbled with the chains of pity—to misery

Lockdown : The Well (Day #1)

Eleven days of national disaster declared: Day one of national lockdown . Still no running water.
It has been happening for so long nobody ever whines about it anymore . We’ve accepted this ,we treat this ‘crisis’ with casual indifference.

When you open the tap it’ll mimick a hiccup like sound …only a bit more hopeless . This sound is not of complete dryness ,no! Its mocking , like theres something clogging the supply. That sound you make when theres a bubble of vomit stuck in your throat, burning the delicate walls of your gullet.

Nobody ever opens the tap anymore. Theres a well on the outskirts of the slums, so we casually head there. Half the settlement population queued up in a cacophonous convoy of creaking wheelbarrows , with the discipline of foraging ants. We share scooping jugs, buckets; and exchange pleasantries —shoulder hugs, knuckle bumps, handshakes— why not?

The Ministers’ safety measures are not a reality here. We are already victims of a deadlier pandemic ,those ‘precautions’ doesn’t apply to us…we live just outside the invisible walls of a castle called Class, like exiled refugees .

So we raise our fists ,punching the humid air of the wet lands and chant: ‘aluta continua’ in collective condemnation of the end of struggle. And the universe complies. ©


It comes uninvited like an unpleasant memory …it gets intense the more you try to suppress it…
It doesn’t knock the doors down ,it sips through the keyhole
like a wisp of odourless smoke…
before you know it, you’re engulfed by a dense cloud of angst
Suffocating and sweating.
Drowning in self pity and doubt…

Then its gone…
as quietly as it came
…leaving behind a pelter of vigorous palpitations and a frail bundle of your former self
Drained of all esteem and fatigued.

Read. wRite. Rhyme.