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 : 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. ©

Pit Toilet.

Nothing demands your endurance like a pit toilet,you have to hold on to get relieved. To avoid an excrement splash plunge,you have to hold on tightly to the walls so you don’t cave in with the equally dilapidated seat. While keeping your ears trained as antennas ,for privacy is never guaranteed .

You have to be physically fit for a pit toilet,in there you half crouch and half sit.
You have to be prepared to endure the smell of mixed,soupy faeces…clogging your nostrils; making your stomach churn with rippling nausea. The tickling agitation of thick ,green flies using your skin as egg dumpsites or…mating platforms.You can’t even breathe through your mouth for the fear of what you might swallow .

In a pit toilet. You never get completely relieved. You rush in there to get rid of a stomach bug, and come out a host of an even more lethal bacteria.

Broody Hen [A Narrative]


“How they planned to keep that leaking relationship afloat beats me!”

With her guttural , resounding voice she begins .
In between long tokes of tobacco.

“Now that its submerging,they’re using the children as oars to row away on their single boats in spite of each other.”