I started the year with a writing team of five writers, but due to unforeseen circumstances three have pulled out of the team. I’m sad to compile this collection but I’m so proud of the work that the writers produced during their stay here at Naane le Moya. I continue to wish them only the best as far as their writing and their creative careers go.
It was on a late afternoon in summer that an old lady sat with her granddaughter sifting beads according to size, age and make. The old lady and her granddaughter sat there in silence, a happy sort of silence. Even though they were not saying anything to each other, every now and again they would simultaneously glance at each other with laughing eyes and peaceful smiles. The relationship of the old lady and her granddaughter, the daughter of her young son, had matured with every sitting of beads sifting. They had grown to be best friends even though they barely spoke.
We had heard about what they had done to the other villages, these demon possessed men that killed without any conscious. Those who managed to escape came to tell us how they tore open the bellies of pregnant women, how they set their shrines alight and how they gave the village a new name every time they moved on. We lived in fear for we knew that they were coming to our village, Battlemount.
There is no judgment here, just trees, trees that stretch infinitely to the sky in hope to reach for the sun, so to filter its rays and appease the birds with shelter during the humid conditions in the heat of Mphaname village. These trees have heard the howling of wolves that hunger for the blood of a shepherd’s fattest.
They say there was once a widowed Old Man popularly known as Motho wa Batho because of his humility. He lived in the village of Thaba Phatswa with his seven children. The Old Man and his sons and daughter worked together daily as a unit; planning, organizing, and directing their household and its affairs. Every member of the family had a role they played. One was responsible for handling cattle, another the family portion of the village fields, others the trading of the family produce such as milk, eggs, vegetables and so on. Even though everyone would be immersed in their duties during the day – theirs was a five to five working day – in the evening, they had a tradition whereby they would all come together at the fire place outside to discuss the events of the day. Here they would eat, drink and sometimes they would sit watching the stars and the moon and listening to the sounds of night life.
“A poor man once said that he would much rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable. He died a miserable, bitter man!” Pastor Ray Stephens stood tall in the counsel of the self-obsessed and self-righteous. He held the keys to every door and every safe on the church premises, a great man indeed. His teachings though were very different from what the other teachers at Sunday school were teaching, but as well, Pastor Ray was caught once with a Marijuana joint he claimed he had confiscated from one the older boys. He refused to disclose the name of the young lad “lest it tries his faith and stops him from coming to Sunday school, Jesus Christ would not let one of his own go astray, amen?”
I met Lereko Mfono in 2015 at the Africa Youth Theatre and Dance Festival where he was presenting the reading of The Kids from Amandla Street. I hung closer to him during the festival and savoured his wealth of wisdom. I remember thinking to myself, is it possible that this man is a direct descendant of Samson? Because I had enjoyed his company and loved the respect he had for his work, I invited him to join the first Naane le Moya writing team, where he wrote quality stories and made readers fall in love with his mind. When he invited me to be stage manage The Kids From Amandla Street for its Soweto Theatre run, I had no reason to say no. I knew that I’d be in the presence of a beautifully written piece of theatre and seeing it develop under the direction of Binnie Christie was the cherry on top.
Even on the day it rains, and the nights are grey I stand here and wait. Every day I stand here and wait. My mother tells me that he is not coming back but I choose to ignore her. I tell myself that she is jealous because he is going to come back for me. When my father left, he looked me in the eyes and said “I’m going to come back.” He squeezed my hand and left. It’s been three months and he is still not back.
The downside of working in an office 40 hours a week with older people who are married and have kids is that, none of them are interested in you or your life. They do however, expect you to take interest in their boring and dull lives about where their kids go to school and the trips that their husbands, whom they haven’t seen in weeks, are taking. Anyway, what are you going to do? ijob ijob. Suck it up, sissy pants! There is however, one man in the office whom I enjoy listening to, Bra Killa. He is our office cleaner. Takes the 5am bus every morning from Barolong location in Thaba Nchu to Bloemfontein CBD, which is a distance of about 45 minutes. From the CBD he walks to Mimosa, where our office is, also approximately a 45 minutes long distance if you’re walking. Bra Killa is a tiny man with strong looking arms and pretty clean hands for a man. He has the kind of clear skin that most girls only manage to have after hiding their flaws with make-up. A beautiful man I tell you. He is unlike the rest of my colleagues, he does not say much and he approaches his work with positivity. Never have I heard a complaint from this man.