Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.
Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

#PoeticLicence: How recently have you lost a game of Red Light Green Light?

By Rabbie Serumula Time of article published Oct 17, 2021

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Johannesburg - How recently have you lost a game of Red Light Green Light against a pedestrian, at a traffic intersection, when you had the right of way?

Our people have grown brazen. Gone are the days when they acknowledged the lethal weapons these cars are. A pedestrian can weave gracefully through traffic, like Neo in The Matrix, against gusts of speeding car winds. We forget that every time flesh and bones are on the way, a speeding car wins.

I had my worst loss in ’Red Light Green Light’ against a pedestrian this week.

My opponent was a woman walking on the road. She was following someone who just ran across.

Let’s call this woman, player 001.

She made eye contact and chose to chance her life. She appeared from the corner of my eye, beyond vehicles parked on the side of the road.

I could only see her eyes, they pierced through mine and collided with, and shattered my soul.

There is a universal law of acknowledgement when souls meet. And we all use it against one another.

In a blink of an eye, barely visible and peering at the brink of a mask, we made eye contact, 001 and I. And immediately it was as if she suddenly teleported into the passenger seat of my car and chastised my being.

The robot was already green when I entered the intersection. She just emerged from between cars at the worst time, established eye contact and burned my soul with her vacant stare. I entered into a mild panic. She slowly walked, maintaining the spell. Not worried about my right of way. The universal law had kicked in and I hit the breaks. And she maintained her pace.

I used the train to school in 2002. The Naledi to Johannesburg Park Station train. Notorious for young black bodies exchanging pleasantries with electric cables on top of the train… surfing. Hands would grip the train door that was jammed open.

It was a game of hang or fall. Fall was not an option.

But it was also a game of flair. “How do you tap your feet on the platform, hanging on a door of a moving train like that?

Where did you learn those moves?

When you are standing on top of a moving train, how do you know what not to touch?

How did you get on top of the train in the first place?”

It was a game of showmanship.

We have been playing games in the streets. I cannot be the only one who has been robbed at gunpoint by an uncle of a friend.

I remember when the plague, of speeding cars running over children in township streets, was at its peak.

It was around the same time when we started constructing community-made speed humps on the road. Perhaps that’s where our fear of cars ended. We became stronger. We are of the earth after all and are meant to bend metal.

How recently have you lost a game?

The Saturday Star

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