To Uncle Xolani

For the whole month of February, I will be posting a letter of gratitude to the people who have contributed immensely to the woman I am today. Some letters I’m thinking of sending to those I’ve written about and some I hope are never read. This will be the first time I post daily. So I am really keen on seeing how it will turn out, both for me and for those who follow this blog. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below. The theme for all the letters is that ‘We Are Stories’ and I will be telling mine in #29LettersOfGratitude for a whole month. If you would like to join me (PLEASE DO!!!) remember to link me in your posts.


‘In a society that carries vicious scars from men, I’ve found him to have loved and nurtured me the most’

The first memory I have of my biological father is living with him and his two cousins in Butterworth. My uncle Xolani is one of those two cousins. Memories of us living in that four roomed house are still very vivid in my memory … well so are my dreams of green luscious grass bamboozling me into wetting Xolani’s bed in my sleep.

‘Vuka ntombi siyochama’ (Wake up little one, we must go pee).

He would nudge me softly out of my sleep and help me make my way to the loo.

Most nights he is able to wake me before I am the cause for the next day’s laundry but sometimes we are not so fortunate. It is instead a warm dampness that stirs us both out of our slumber, forcing him to change the linen in the middle of the night. On our very lucky nights, he is able to usher me to the toilet on time. He stands by the open space that should have a closed door, looking the other way as I pee. There seem to be a lot of gaps in my memories about those early years of my life but somehow I have always held on so tightly to Xolani. Even though he was the male half of the two cousins, he still took up the role of primary guardian unquestionably.

He wasn’t only my night usher but this swarthy, dread-locked and reserved uncle of mine extended himself to making sure I bathed, and ready for school in time with a lunch-box in my bag.

I don’t remember seeing Xolani ever again after moving out but I still carry these little memories of us in my heart. They make me appreciate every hand that’s played a role in piecing me up into the woman I am today. And that is why it’s been so easy for me to have chosen gratitude as my month long writing challenge.

Cover Photo By: Lutendo Malatji


Do you have a relative that has meant just as much to you as my uncle did? What are your memories?

14 thoughts on “To Uncle Xolani

  1. Pingback: Black Men Rock Too – Sinawo Bukani

  2. Pingback: We Are Stories – Sinawo Bukani

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