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#PoeticLicence: When mother nature speaks, humans are collateral

Writer and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

Writer and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

Published Apr 17, 2022


Johannesburg - Is it a catch 22 when police arrest people looting a shipping container washed away after flooding caused by heavy rains in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal?

Though the wrath is incomparable, I suppose crime is crime, and the laws of man can supersede those of nature while everything is disappearing into murky waters. KwaZulu-Natal is drowning.

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Trees have found shelter in their shacks. Roots are hiding in closets, swelling and collapsing houses. Peering through windows are branches keeping watch. It seems the time has come, and nature is heeding a call.

Roads are giving way. The ground is parting, it is dutied to concave, eating away at itself.

Perplexed mud sliding downhill with a broom, sweeping the township of Ntuzuma away. Many informal settlements down there are built on a slope with limited foundations and flimsy dwellings.

Perhaps before the rain started to fall, he remembered that roads and bridges there were dirty. He washed them away.

Inhabitants in large parts of habitats in the KwaZulu-Natal province are learning the dialect of fish. They remain submerged, highways and low-lying paths and rivers all the same.

Waters are looking for something, and they will go deep into the earth's core to find it.

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When mother nature speaks, humans are collateral. Whatever havoc has been wrecked, they are the ones left behind it.

Days without power or water, Durban's poorest residents line up to collect buckets full from burst pipes as they dug through layers of mud to retrieve their few possessions.

With hollow tummies, they are now waiting for a dove to bring a leaf. In their ruins, hoping for a new song for the river. New returns from its banks. They are waiting for a rainbow. For the rainbow nation to paint colour into KwaZulu-Natal.

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Months worth of rain falling in just one day is no small feat.

Weather experts say apocalyptic levels of rain were dumped on the region over several days.

Water levels are in tune with the death toll. They are on a mission to rise.

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So does the emotional toll of searching for bodies after the floods.

But the show of life must go on. With more than 300 lives lost and 40 723 people affected by the heavy downpours and floods, the eThekwini Municipality awaited more rainfall in the province over the Easter weekend.

If KwaZulu-Natal had one wish, it was for that disastrous week to end.

Just how much money the provincial government and other organs will be at the disposal of remains to be seen.

Masks and sanitisers will take a back seat, with contingency reserves drained to fund the national response to Covid-19. There is a calm after the storm, however, since money has previously been found to help the province get back on its feet after floods.

We pray the waters have found what they were looking for.

The dove will bring a leaf. The river's new song will be harmonious. The rainbow is coming. May the rainbow nation paint colour into KwaZulu-Natal.

The Saturday Star