Picture by Nokuthula Mbatha
Picture by Nokuthula Mbatha

#PoeticLicence: Knowing the fabric from which you were crafted is a form of enlightenment, and a reminder of your heritage

Time of article published Sep 27, 2020

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By Rabbie Serumula

A man who knows who he is has accomplished a lot. He is a torch bearer in the exodus from naivety.

The extinguisher of eternal fires burning inside the hearts of man.

Sibusiso Ndebele, a dear brother of mine and colleague in the arts, said these words in a poem titled A Glimpse, and they have since been tattooed into my subconscious.

I am the son of Serumula. Born in Mmotong Wa Perekisi - the mount where peaches don’t fall too far from the tree.

I am a descendant of the fire clan from up north. Cradled between the Vaal and Limpopo rivers.

The Marota; a people of amber particles. Fashioned from a log that burns through the night.

I am the bloodline of the Sekhukhune menace who inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Boers and President Thomas Francois Burgers at Thaba Mosega in 1876.

Knowing who you are brings you closer to your PURPOSE.

Knowing the fabric from which you were crafted is a form of enlightenment, and a reminder of your HERITAGE.

I was raised by a single father who is late. May he continue resting in Poetry. I was made with a glass heart, shattered. Shards scattered.

This heart’s genesis pattern is pensive, painted in the melancholy of a D minor.

I have an abundance of rhythm. I was made with love jagged at the seams.

At the corner of a shadow, words are for mortals. We spoke in light and vibrations, dad and I.

We synchronized DREAMS. I was made with hands that cultivated a plate half empty at the belly of a feast.

Hands that were never meant to be rubbed too fast, else they would start a fire.

The lint that lined those palms was hardened by a thirst to pat my fragile shoulder blades and not bleed. Those hands cracked spines of books I could never read - maimed them, slowed them down so I could catch up.

Knowing who you are means you are aware of your dreams.

Being aware of your dreams means you are a dreamer, dear Black child.

Being a dreamer means you are breaking the mental shackles of a society where white lives seem to represent hope, success and value.

Where Black lives seem to represent lack in all its form. Black lives lack value, there is no hope, no dreams. We are a people who are supposed to have long ceased to dream.

But DREAMERS LIVE LONGER, forever looking forward to the manifestation of THE INITIAL DREAM - of freedom.

Heritage day is as painful as it is exhilarating. It is merely a day in a year to remember a manufactured heritage of poverty and suffering.

It is less thrilling than it is excruciating to periodically reacquaint yourself with your traditions, cultures, norms, creeds and dogmas, the pillars of your existence.

The same pillars pulled out from your feet to colonise you, dear Black child.

It is more patronising to your people that it is harmful to only acknowledge these once in 365 days.

You may as well be hunting with the hounds while running with the hares.

It is bitter sweet, like a lollipop after a spanking.

I could have sworn that every time it hurt me more than it did dad, but he insisted otherwise.

He has taught me about my people - Bapedi; he has taught me about the struggle of all Black lives.

Of “A luta continua, Vitória é certa”. Of the inevitable emancipation and liberation of Black lives.

A man who knows who he is has accomplished a lot. He is the embodiment and synchronicity with becoming, living and loving…self.

DREAMERS LIVE LONGER, forever looking forward to the manifestation of one thing, the initial dream. And that makes them stronger!

The Saturday Star

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