We Are Stories

1989: I’m told that this is the year that my young mother buys me at Shoprite and takes me home with her.

1990: I’m dragged around the house by my great grandmother (uMadlomo). This is apparently because I am too heavy for her to carry.

1991: I crawl out of the yard and I go missing for a couple of hours. A man finds me and takes me back home.

1993: Earliest (and the happiest) memory I have is living with my grandmother in a shack in Cape Town. She says whenever the rain would flood our zink shelter, I’d promise her that my mother would soon buy her a house. She never does.

1993: Veliswa buys another baby at Shoprite. The newborn is named Lindokuhle. But will always be called Lindi.

1995: I’m living with my biological father and his two cousins in Butterworth. He is a school teacher, the school kids call him ‘Mfundisi.’ I get in trouble a lot with him because I always steal his stationery and give it to other kids at my school.

1995: I get R1 and sometimes R2 for lunch money. A single shwam shwam is 1c, so I can buy over 100 a day. I get an award once in my English class.

1995: Veliswa comes to visit me once. I remember knowing without ever being told that she was the woman that gave birth to me.

1996: I move to East London to start Grade 2 at East London Secondary School and I only leave the school when I’m 18. The day I start school is raining very hard, but I’m safe from all its intentions, warmly sitting inside the car of my new father.

1996: My mother gives birth to my youngest sibling, Zandile. I see her belly grow this time, so I’m well versed about where babies really come from.

1997: I tell my mother I will stop calling her and her husband ‘sisi and buti’ and change to ‘tata and mama.’

1997: I am best friends with a girl named Cassandra Adams. She has another best friend called Izaad, so sometimes she has to split her lunch breaks between us.

1998: Zandile eats cockroaches of the wall and when I do catch her, I never stop her.

1998: I start keeping a secret that I will only remember when I am about 16. I’ll tell my best friend Piece Ndungane about it and she’ll say ‘sorry’ and we’ll never talk about it again.

1999: I’m given the nickname ‘Mamgobozi’ by my stepdad because I get chatty when he buys us KFC. He still calls me this. It basically means ‘the one who brings us news/gossip.’

1990 Something: I get bitten by a dog in the face. I probably wouldn’t believe it happened, if I didn’t still have the scars.

2001: I start having problems at school. My mother is constantly attending meetings about my bad behaviour. I get punished but nothing ever changes.

2002: I bring a kitten home, I name her Lucy. She disappears after a few days.

2003: My grandmother is constantly coming with me to the police station and meeting up with social workers about the kids I bring home with me. My mother is frustrated with me but all I ever want to do was help them run away from their (bad) home situations.

2004: School teachers start believing I am being abused at home. The maid makes me cook and iron for myself, I’m always getting ugly scars from burning myself.

2005: I’m repeating Grade 10. We get a new English teacher. He is the first person to ever think I can be a writer.

2006: I do badly in school but I’m pushed through to Grade 12 anyways.

2006: I make friends with the school bully and I find out she’s being physically abused by her boyfriend.

2006: I go to Thabanchu for the first time.

2007: I don’t want to go to the matric farewell but I have to because my English Festival trip gets cancelled. I go with a girl. My dress has pins in it because it never gets finished in time. I don’t go to the after party.

2007: I barely pass matric.

2008: I’m supposed to be improving my results but I only go to English classes.

2009: I start at Walter Sisulu University, studying a course that is for kids like me, whose marks are too bad to do anything else.

2009: My mother starts planning my 21st birthday party with her best friend. I ask her to stop because I want something small.

2009: Pumzile calls me 21 times on my birthday, the sweetest thing any boy has ever done for me.

2010: Depression starts hitting me harder and harder. I’ve self-diagnosed and every day is still a struggle. I don’t attend classes and I stop going to SCO.

2011: I fall in love for the first time. We date for 8 blissful months but we struggle with abstinence so we decide to end things before we completely go all the way.

2012: I’m nursing a heartbreak.

2012: I refuse to go back to school and I start looking for a job. The middle sister goes to study her first year at Port Elizabeth College.

2012: I get my first job as an Asset Management Consultant in Sterkspruit.

2012: The contract ends and I’m unemployed for months.

Late 2012: I get another job doing the same thing but for a different company.

We have to work at hospitals with really sick people. To keep my immune system strong, I always have to drink a full glass of milk and eat a full breakfast and take multivitamins. I urge my sister do the same just in case I bring her some disease from work.

2013: I love my job and I’m actually quite good at it. I’m not easily liked by my colleagues but I make a friend called Onke.

2013: Contract ends but within in a week, I start another job as a receptionist in Stutterheim. I love it there. I live with an old friend of mine uKosh.

2013: I get counselled by my pastor because of the gruesome nightmares I’ve been having for years. Overtime the nightmares stop completely.

2013: I go on my first 40 day fast and it births so many firsts for me.

2013: The middle sister gives birth to my nephew, Osiphesona.

Our home has a sudden joy. In fact sometimes I believe he is the only thing holding us together. He’s spoiled and adored.

Late 2013: I resign at my permanent receptionist job and move back to Port Elizabeth for a promotion at my old job.

2014: Onke is not part of the group that is called back and when the boss asks me to make a recommendation for someone from our old group to come back, she bitterly turns the offer down.

2014: I love my work and I am dedicated to it fully even though we are not getting paid what we deserve.

2014: I resign again to join PriceWaterhouseCoopers in East London, it’s a demotion from my previous role but I make the sacrifice, confident that I will grow within the company. I never do, I stay in the same position for almost two years.

2014: I start wearing pants for the first time in my life. My mother thinks I’m changing and becomes very worried about my spiritual life.

2015: I start attending a new church.

2015: I fall in love again and I hope it’s for the last time but we don’t even make it into our second month anniversary.

I still wonder, if I had not suggested the break up, if we would have broken up? What would have happened, if I’d told him that ‘we’ll figure everything out together’ instead of jumping ship to affirm my insecurities and distrust about men?

2016: He moved on and I didn’t. Almost a year later, I’m still heartbroken, crying and writing pathetic poetry about him. I eventually delete him out of my life (social media) to try and bring some sense of healing or whatever. It helps but I still feel, I have a long way to go.

2016: I resign at my job to become a writer. I don’t even know what that means. But I’m determined to free myself from a life I’ve resented for the longest time.

2016: I become a selfish first born that frees herself from black tax. Nobody understands and I don’t care to formulate words to make anyone understand.

2016: I turn 27. I’ve never been on a real date and I’ve never had sex.

2016: I get invited to a television show to talk about my blogging. I can’t go but it serves as such a perfect and necessary affirmation for the direction I want to take as a writer.

2016: I’m accepted into Umuzi as a Copywriting Recruit but a few months later change departments and join Digital Marketing.

2016: I move to Johannesburg completely broke and my cousin agrees to take me in for a week, which later becomes 6 weeks.

2016: I’m housed another two weeks in Roodepoort by a woman who barely even knew me.

2016: I live in a subsidised flat with six girls.

2016: I discover I have an allergy to weed, my throat is always swelling up because I live with people who smoke it.

2016: I buy a second hand bed and even though it squeaks and hurts my back, it is my pride and joy.

2016: I read more than ever before.

I start a website to publish my reviews of my travels, all the book reading and event attending.

2016: I start freelance work as a Content Marketing Manager for three upcoming brands.

2016: I grow a deep respect for my new manager and how he supports everything I do.

2016: I become a better writer and still in the pursuit of being a better person.

2016: I am still looking for a church I can finally call home, like the last one I found in East London.

2016: Johannesburg becomes my new definition of home. Home becomes where my bed and all my books are. East London becomes where I’m from and where my family stays.

2016: I’m mine for the first time ever. I am the only person that holds acclaim to me, it is a foreign but also trememndously freeing feeling.

I am happy in a way I’ve never known before. I feel like a new-born. I am learning new ways to be and trying to unlearn and relearn so much.

Photo by: Boitumelo Mazibuko

 

 

 

 

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34 thoughts on “We Are Stories

  1. Pingback: A Life Worth Celebrating – Sinawo Bukani

  2. From the first time you wrote, “we are stories” in your 29 letters of gratitude in February, I fell in love with the line.
    I don’t know about you but I see myself at a book signing with your name in lights, you collector of children from “bad homes “.
    Here is to baby steps that led to becoming your own!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are quite something. A true writer. So interesting. What makes a true artist great is the ability to not only be great in their craft, but the ability to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a skill most great artist use as a weapon of strength in their craft. I couldn’t stop reading. You should do scriptwriting as well or plays. You’re a natural storyteller.

    Liked by 2 people

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