They say you carry where you come from with you, lodged in the folds of your mind and hanging on the tip of your tongue. That must be why I speak light.
The hood by design, kills. Built to confine us, to drain us of our super powers, our blackness.
Conditioned to hate ourselves, but in a world where the only thing we’re sure of is the skin on our backs, our black skins became the blanket to keep us warm in this cold existence. We took the hood and made it ours, a place where we belong. That’s what we do, make the most of what we have.
I grew up in a place and time where dusty feet represented the innocence of childhood, a testimony that even in the most difficult of circumstances there is life.
A place where growing old is the ultimate blessing, where wrinkles are lines that hold the answers to the wonders of the world and blue rings form around our irides, proof that we have seen God.
Our streets stay humming, vibrating from the prayers of mothers asking God to guide and protect their children.
Where your ability to problem solve is the difference between silencing the rumbling or sleeping with it, tinned sardines look like gourmet meals and little porcelain dogs cultivate dreams of a better tomorrow. Where selling makipkip can turn dreams into reality and a street corner is a prison.
The devil though, he creeps up on us constantly, tempting, playing on our weaknesses, introducing our all star imprints to the top of shop counters, turning us into the very violence we keep fighting. And hell, hell is knowing that for as long as I stay black Struggle ties her name to mine.
How do we face the lows? We pray, each in our own way; we dance to appease the Gods, roll the dice of Ludo, drink the blood of Christ or give into the ecstasy of Orgasm.
The Township is a place where taxi drivers are the authority, where most of us don‚Äôt know our fathers and bo malome ba loma. A place where the notion of family doesn‚Äôt depend on lineage. After a mother washes her children‚Äôs blood off the street, the women gather to lift her up wearing doeks on their heads and vegetable peelers in their hands because at the end of the day rea phidisana. Township living is the thread between day and night, hope and poison, life and death, the constant battle to stay alive.
And here we are! With gravity sewn to our feet while benediction pumps blood through our hearts. Our spirits fortified by the celestial leaders who came before us and at the core we are sages.
And here we are, still standing, still breathing.
And here we are, still Enchantment personified.
And here we are, still Mighty.
Londeka Thabethe is a law student, iphoneographer and JDilla enthusiast.
Mosa Mahlaba is the author of Searching for the Spirit of Spring, a copywriter, coffee drinker and social commentator.¬†