My father was the first man to be buried in our village. His death coincided with my birth and my mother’s sadness. The other villagers knew this, so they stretched my name from Kwena to Ke-wena when they spoke to me, as if saying ‘It is you who has caused our lives to be this way.’
Part I: The Pilgrim
Burdened by this ghostly cargo,
The carnal leakage too far gone.
Lucid dreams swindle my rest,
A timely vent for a smothered soul on a prodigal quest.
I self-mutilate like a vandal,
A nagging summoning to let myself go.
Delay my demise another day,
To feign control over mortality.
It’s 2008. A biting winter and a lonely heart. Beige is the colour of the season and you wear yours with olive. Last night I told my friend about how ready I am to try again and I wake up to convince myself that I am ready to try again.
My aunt tells me that my father left me three weeks before my fourth birthday. He knocked at her door and handed me over to her like a parcel, he could not handle it anymore he said. My mother left ten days after my birth, leaving my father with their first child. My aunt tells me my parents relationship had always been toxic. They met on the 21st of December in downtown Johannesburg. My aunt and my mother were doing the last Christmas shopping before going to my grandmothers place for the festive season.