Sunshine Blogger Award!

Well, this was such a pleasant surprise! Thank you for the Sun Shine Award nomination, this has brought a ray of sunshine in my day. Pretty cool stuff. I do not get the same luxury that I had in Durban of catching a taxi all the time. I have actually had the chance of catching one here in Cape Town, but you know Durban taxis always have a special spot in my heart. I love reality TV show and it does not get more real that the taxi community!

But back to the Award Nomination, here is a little FYI about it:

” The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are inspiring and bring sunshine into the lives of their readers and fellow bloggers. It is such an honor to receive! “

These are the questions that I was given to answer:

  1. What is something that you have to do in your daily routine that brings you sanity?

This may sound weird, but it is this is actually how I got to write Taxi Confessions. Whenever I am waiting for a bus, taxi or if I am standing in a long queue I tend to drift away and give strangers a name as well as a storyline. During my first few months in Cape Town, I used to catch a train and there was this one girl who always wore black and had a glacial facial expression. I named her X-ena. The stories I came up in my head were rather interesting, I would say. Early this year, I was pleasantly surprised to see that she now takes the same bus that I catch to work and yes she still has her black ensemble topped with the alluring, glacial expression. My day was made!!!

  1. What quirk do you find attractive in romantic partners?

Perhaps this may not be a quirk, but there is one thing I love when it comes to romance, more especially in the beginning of any relationship – it would have to be the simple attempts to make a good impression. Now, I have nothing against live music, however I have never been a fan of concerts, jazz lounges etc. Much to my dismay I found myself being attracted to someone who lives for music! I appreciated spending my weekends going to concerts and even the occasional jazz sessions after work. However one time, I actually fell asleep while the jazz performance was in full swing . . .  Let’s just that was the last time we saw each other.

  1. If you could have any song be a ‘theme song’ to your life, what would it be?

You know if we judged people based on the ringtones that they have had, I think I would definitely get a side-eye from everyone! I have had ringtones such as S&M, Promiscuous and even Give It to Me . . . again these are just mere ringtones . . .  but you are probably judging right . . .  So it would be rather challenging to pick just one “theme song” to my life. The one song that seems to lift me up without fail would be Break My Stride, by Matthew Wilder. It is just a reminder how one can overcome any tragedies that may occur without breaking their stride.

  1. If you could go back in time what would you tell your 8 year old self?

First thing I would tell my 8 year old self is not to get a tongue ring (I had such a fascination with piercings), but on a serious note I would rather remind myself back then that patience is a virtue and something that I would need to consistently work on. Ironically my first job was being a high school teacher and working with unpredictable teenagers allowed me calm down, learn to keep a smile even though I had repeated a concept ten times and to let go of things I cannot change.

  1. What is your favourite childhood book and why?

When I was growing I was into Crime Books, the classical “Who done it” type of thang, but I cannot say I had a favourite childhood book I was lucky enough to have grandparents and aunts that told me Izinganekwane (Fairy Tales). My favourite Nganekwane would be Itshe likaNtunjambili. It is more or less like Hänsel und Gretel by the Gebrüder Grimm, but with a little punch. Instead of a wicked witch, it has an ogre – what can I say, Zulu live for that element of drama. If one day I have children, I would tell them the very same tale and make them perform it on Christmas day when we visit grandma.  The reason why I love this tale so much is that it reinforces the importance of listening to your elders and the value of having siblings.

Here are my seven nominees :

lauraagudelo272

moclasssy

kerryinwonderland

Don Charisma

Uncle Spike 

Nqobile Buthelezi Buthelezi

ladygilraen

For all those being nominated for the award, the rules are, if you choose to accept it (which I hope you will) : please write a post to share the award, and answer the following set of questions ( chosen by each nominated blogger) and nominate any number of bloggers you feel deserve the award.

My five randomly chosen questions (if you choose to accept) are:

  1. What was the last conversation that you had with yourself?
  2. If you could have any super powers what would they be?
  3. If you could, which language would you absolutely love to speak fluently and why?
  4. What are the two essential items that you always have in your bedroom?
  5. If you could meet your future self, what would be the two questions that you would like to know?

Until we dance again!

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Memoirs of a Blessee

Have you ever had such an intense, inexplicable feeling that you cannot let go? It is like you think you are forgetting an important errand that you have to run, but you just do not know what it is. I could perhaps try to describe it as the sensation you get when you bump into your ex on the street, and they look like they just stepped out of a GQ photoshoot and you look like death has become you. It is a nagging echo in the background that you tiresomely attempt to defuse without success. Have you ever harboured such thoughts and feelings? Most recently, I found myself being given a title that I did not wish to have. It could be that I was so excited to finally have what I wanted and in the midst of things I chose to turn a blind eye to everything.

I guess it could have happened to anyone but it happened to me. Every so often, we find ourselves in situations that are beyond our control and even comprehension. We question ourselves why we are being dealt with such a set of bad cards. However, whenever we are showered with good fortune, do we rarely take the time to sit back and ask ourselves why me? Why is it that I have a warm bed every night? Why am I in good health and I am able to get up every day without any difficulties. Is it only when we are faced with challenges that we wonder – why me? Perhaps it is only fair to remember that it could have happened to anyone but it just happened to be you.

I simply loathed the girls at school who talked about their daddies. Not the father figure type you may imagine, but married men who casually funded their weekend activities… sugar daddies. It was rather incomprehensive to me to think any self-respectful human being would enjoy being a side dish or a blessee. Like, how do you sleep at night knowing very well that you are being treated like a cheap accessory? I unapologetically always looked down on these girls, but here I find myself in an unfavourable position. A tragic predicament to say the least, but before you start pointing fingers at me and come up with immensely tasteless assumptions, just hear me out.

You know when I was a little girl my grandmother would tell me stories when the power was off. She painted a dream of lands I did not know of. She spun such majestic tales that I eventually and subconsciously succumbed to them. My favourite story has to be about this one woman who meets her prince charming in the form of a snake. Their love is so strong that he transforms from being a poisonous serpent to a man she eventually marries. No, they do not live happily ever after, this was after all a Zulu tale and we as Zulu people do not believe in happily ever after.

Today I find myself on a bed that has been slept on. I can smell such pungent perfume that does not belong to me. I can see faded traces of red lipstick on the pillow that is behind me. I see him walk slowly out of the bathroom and approaching the bed on which I await my destiny. “I thought you said you were single,” I say looking at him as he plants himself on the bed next to me. He caresses my chin and kisses my neck. “Well, I did not fib, I am single in a sense that I am not married. I do have a girlfriend and since we are not married, my marital status remains – single.” He smiles and carries on kissing my neck. I could feel his warm breath on my neck, his beard that I liked so much felt like sandpaper scrapping away my dignity with each kiss. It was at that moment that I realized all along I was being screened and groomed to fit the role of a side chick. As enchanting and marvellous the story that my grandmother told me, I did live by them religiously. I did not seek long conversations and to have my hand held in public. I just was under the rouse that I was his only one as he was mine. All of the times he would ask me questions I believed he cared, but I did not seem to mind that he avoided responding to my inquiries about him. I also did not find it odd that he always seemed to communicate with me on weekends only. I was his weekend special after all and I seemed to have passed all his screenings and here we are in this dim room engulfed by his lust.

Yes, you are right, I could have ended it right there and walked out. But maybe, just maybe I still had hope that he was going to miraculously change from a snake to my prince charming like the girl in Gogo’s tale. Much to my chagrin he remained the snake and the snake was about to devour the last innocence and dignity that I still have. While I lie defeated on my back, I do acknowledge the fact that it could have happened to anyone, but it happened to me.

The lady down the street

Perhaps it would be a fair assumption to say she has always been peculiar, well at least that is what she has been constantly told. Although she does not view herself as strange at all, unfortunately she has succumbed to this title. She longs for an average, normal life; starting her mornings with a bowl of cereal, then catching the taxi to work. Once at work, she would love to simply unpack her lunch-box during break and dabble in some office gossip. She wishes for evenings filled with nice dinners, a glass of wine and lastly to snuggle in to her warm bed. Alas things are not so predictable when you proudly wear the badge of abnormality. Her mornings include finding a cockroach just floating about in her cereal, not that it would matter as the milk has gone off. She finishes her mornings with a quick scavenger hunt for a pair of clean socks and runs to the taxi rank. As for the office gossip, well she is the subject matter thereof and the glances she is showered with do not make any less awkward.

When it comes to romance she has never been graced with much luck in that department. She moves on from one lackluster relationship to another. Her past and present suitors include gentleman that are taken aback by her unorthodox tendencies as well as the random Casanova who would like to be with her privately. She would gladly like to split the bill after the date; well actually she would prefer paying for the entire thing. Do not expect her to be impressed by your Rolex, extravagant car and trips overseas. When she does deem you worthy of her time however, do not anticipate receiving sweet sms’ from her every night. If you think that after a month of dating her that shall permit you to doing the horizontal mambo with her, then I would suggest you reconsider that thought. In spite of all her failed relationships and trivial judgements from her suitors she still has a glimmer of hope. Her dream lover might have simply taken a detour and got lost on his way to her, but he will eventually come to her.

Even though she may think her life is just tarnished by a cloud of grey clouds, not all conditions are ever completely definite. The same people that pass on unfavorable judgement about her are the same people that go to her in their time of need. I guess even in her smallness, she is still important. The same men that have taken just a bit of wind out of her sails are nothing but insecure boys that cannot handle a real woman. As she leaves the office, you can see her wobbling to the taxi rank with her broken stiletto under armpit. She does not frown or look down at the people she passes, but she secretly cannot wait to see what surprises are awaiting her tomorrow

The house by the sea.

The sun gently peeks through the clouds and then slowly fades away within the cloud cover. It is as if it is playing a game of peekaboo in the sky. The salty sea breeze that engulfs the land is slightly cooler than usual. Winter is gradually approaching. Outside of a little, blue house sit two friends enjoying some sundowners. Sipho, the owner of the house is slowly nursing his beer and suddenly he turns to his friend and says, “I thank you.” Perplexed by this random statement, he turns to Sipho and asks, “What for man?” “For sharing this moment with me”, he replies with a smile. The two raise their glasses and carry on drinking. There is an abrupt roar of laughter coming from the lawn adjacent to the house. Sipho sees his mother playing with his children. They all take turns in running through the pile of leaves with much delight. At this present moment, he could not be any more content.

Life has not been so pleasant for Sipho, but his mother has been dealt an even worse set of cards. As a young woman, she had longed for the life she heard from the stories on the radio. She wanted to have the same excitement like the couples she saw on Generations. She did not aspire to have fancy clothes nor did she desire traveling to foreign lands. All she had ever sought for was a man who was going to love her as much as she would love him.

On one particular sunny Monday morning, she made her way to the train station by foot. She always preferred taking the train over catching the taxi. In her flat black suede shoes, she blissfully zigzagged her way in between fellow commuters. She made her way to the gate, while hopelessly looking for her train ticket in her bulky bag. Her quest is stopped briefly by the sight of the new ticket examiner at the gate. Despite him being shorter than she would have liked, she was taken aback by his appearance. She had never seen someone look so good in a simple navy and white ensemble. He was suave, very well groomed and had an afro that glittered slightly in the light. No, she was not seeing his halo, but rather the effects of extensive usage of hair products. What can we say? Perhaps some men just like that extra added shine to complete their look.

As she walked closer and closer to him, her heart skipping a beat with every step she took, their eyes connect. Like a shy, innocent school girl, she hands him her ticket and avoids making further eye contact. He delicately takes the ticket from her hand and punctures it before returning it to her. Could she be possibly reliving a scene from one of her favorite radio stories? Could this be the moment she has been fantasizing of? Unfortunately their love bubble is burst by the other commuters who had been impatiently waiting behind her. The train is heard making its grand entrance at the platform and the pandemonium at the gate really grows in leaps and bounds. As they hastily rush through the gate, she cannot help but think to herself that her mornings will never be dull again.

True to form, the two are reunited again and they begin their budding romance. However like most good things in life, the relationship went from magic to tragic. She found herself alone and pregnant. Mr. Ticket examiner was nowhere in sight. Unfortunately he disappeared as quickly as he came into her life. The only thing that remained was the memories that they had created together. One of her fondest and last memories she had, was the time she shared the news of the pregnancy with him. He seemed euphoric; he wet her lips, leaving a minty taste from the joint he had just smoked.  Perhaps Mr. Ticket examiner’s talents stretched far beyond his skills of making his hair glow in the light, since he fooled her with his very convincing acting skills.

The years passed on and she quickly forgot about her train smash relationship. Today she finds herself seated in a hall, draped in black, white and red. She is amongst people that she does not know and she still thinks the dress she has on could have been just a few inches longer. She fidgets and constantly pulls it down to her knees. Her son has grown up now and today she is attending his graduation. The audience rises, allowing the professors to leisurely waltz up to the stage in their red gowns. The national anthem is sung, but for some reason she cannot stop trying to pull her dress over her knees. After the audience is sited the proceedings begin. “Could Miss Thandeka Ndlovu stand up?” speaks the Vice Chancellor at the podium. Nervously she looks around to make sure she heard the announcement correctly and she stands without a clue of what was going on. She focuses her eyes on the stage and sees his son standing next to the man who has asked her to rise.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Sipho Ndlovu is this year’s student of the year. The lady that stands amongst you is his mother. Could you be so kind as to join me in a celebratory round of applause for the Ndlovus?” says the Vice Chancellor as he begins the first clap. One by one, the audience members join in and those who are next to her even utter congratulatory words to her. Slowly the tears trickle down her face. She puts her hands on her face, trying to hide the emotions from the people. While her eyes are tightly shut, she is reminded of the journey that has led her and her son to this point. Oh and what a journey it has been. She remembers how she had to creatively sew her son’s pants and shirts, because she could not afford new ones. She is reminded of those times when she felt inadequate. Inadequate because she believed she could not help her son with his homework due to her illiteracy.  Today however she stands head and shoulders above the rest in the hall. All those sleepless nights and sacrifices have paid off as she is showered with love. She may have not found her dream man, but this moment right here is beyond her wildest expectations. Oh and not even that dress she is so critical off can ruin this moment for her.

The gentle salty see breeze from earlier has quickly changed into an undesirable icy chill. A storm is brewing and the sun has permanently hidden itself in a dense dark-grey cloud cover. Sipho’s mother quickly takes the children back inside before the first raindrop. Sipho and his friend also make their way inside, leaving the beer for perhaps something a bit warmer. The door is closed shut at the house by the seaside.

Dirty Laundry

“Good Morning sir, could I please have some Betapayn?” I ask the gentleman behind the counter in a slightly oversized white coat. He fixes his glasses and with a frown on his face he says, “Sorry, we do not have that here.” Puzzled by this response, I lean forward and look behind him, “but sir, it is right behind you.” Without any hesitation, he slowly turns around and looks at the shelf behind him. “Oooh, jy soek Bedapayn!” he chuckles. “Ja maneer, ek soek Bedapayn”, I respond as I watch him hobble over to the shelf. As he puts the tablets in a small brown bag we decide to engage in some over-the-counter small talk. “I notice you have an accent, you are not from here, where are you from?” he asks as he hands me my debit card back along with the receipt. “Durban, I am from Durban”, I promptly respond as I make way out of the pharmacy.

I have been living in this city for over a year now. I am also very proud to say I have managed to even survive my first Cape Tonian winter. No longer do I feel out of place, despite my accent getting all of the attention. I have also had the pleasure to be awarded an array of nationalities by the locals of this city. I have been mistaken for a Congolese, Zimbabwean and my ultimate favorite a Ghanaian. I have learned to appreciate my international status.

Well known for being a multidimensional and picturesque city, Cape Town is indeed a gift that just keeps on giving. My one friend actually said; God took his time when creating Cape Town. It possesses the most beautifully carved mountains and an ambiance that makes you forget that you are still in South Africa.

Unfortunately, I do not take the taxi here and it would have been interesting to check out the taxi family that this town has. However, the walk that I take from the bus stop or the train station to the office is always eventful. If you think Cape Tonians are laid back and have the we will get to it, when we get to it vibe, then clearly you have never taken public transport in this city. There is a boom of workers coming from all directions and rushing to reach their destinations. The locals here have certainly mastered the art of jaywalking. School kids can be seen zigzagging in between cars with zero effort. The ladies however have a more subtle approach. Even though the robot might be red for them, it does not hinder them from participating in the tradition of jaywalking. They fiercely stomp the street and stop cars and trucks with their beauty without even breaking a sweat.

One of my guilty pleasures in this city is my daily stop for an Americano before I go to the office. My spot is the Laundromat by the quietly nested in the heart of the CBD. Yes, I did say Laundromat, but there is more to it than meets the eye. While you laundry is being done, you can have a choice between coffee, wine and even a snack or two. Did I forget to mention the art gallery that is also part of the business? Doing laundry has never been so fancy. As I sit there and have the first of my coffee and browse through my Facebook, I also take pleasure in seeing the customary rules of engagement by the till. “That shall be R60 and we will sms you when it is done. Do you have any special instructions?” says the manager as she takes the customer’s bag off the scale. “Yes, could you please bleach the shirts? There are some minor stains by the collar,” says the gentleman as he takes out his white shirt pointed out the stains he speaks of. The manager examines the shirt while noticing the collage of stains that this shirt has collected. It is red lipstick by the collar, female perfume that is rather too pungent and other stains that are yet to be given a title.

The strict policy of no ask no tell, is practiced with very much conviction in this establishment. Each and every client that walks in, shares a piece of their lives with their dirty laundry. The cheating wife who rushes in with a set of sheets that she wants to be washed before her husband returns from his conference. Let us not forget about the Casanova whose shirts and undergarments give a rather detailed report of the activities of the night before. They all come in with their secrets embarked in their dirty laundry and the manager by the till is always a trusty confidant. The Laundromat at the heart of the CBD is not your average business and if clothes could talk, they would paint a rather sordid tale.

The Story behind Bongiwe – The taxi Cafe lady.

It is five minutes to midnight and she is excited by the prospect of seeing him again. She stands in front of the bathroom mirror, gently applying make-up on her face. As she walks back to the bedroom to put on her shoes, she notices a message from him. He has not texted her to say he is outside, waiting for in his car. He has not written to say he is running late, but instead his message reads: something has come up, rain check? Crushed and upset she sits on her bed. It was at that point when she realised she could not carry on living in limbo. It was on that day that she made the decision it was enough. After reading the sms from him, she simply deletes it and tosses her cell phone on the bed. She may not be getting ready for a night out anymore, but on this particular evening she finally realised her self-worth.

Bongiwe is indeed beloved by her customers at her stall. Her kindness and uncompromising customer care relations are some of the attributes that have garnered her an impressive clientele. She keeps her stall clean to perfection. In her faded navy apron, she juggles taking down orders from the taxi drivers, as well as making sure that she attracts more clients from the taxi community. In her apron she keeps a photo of her daughter in her school uniform. The photo does not only serve as motivation, but a reminder of how far she has come. She leads a simple life, merely comprising of providing for her daughter as well as expanding her business. Unfortunately a relationship does not feature in her life. She has made several attempts before to find a good man; alas she has never been really successful in that department.

When the pandemonium of the morning rush and the taxi drivers are out on the road she has a few seconds to breathe. She sits quietly by her stall, sipping on her tea and reflects on a life she had once had. As she drifts even deeper, she remembers all of the men that have come and gone in her life. To her, a relationship never meant gaining support or companionship. She enjoyed the diverse experiences that every relationship presented her. Her first boyfriend, also the father of her daughter introduced her to the world of sports. She relished being amongst supporters in the fully packed soccer stadiums, chanting along in all their might. Then there was Muzi, the charming, vivacious gentle giant, who wooed her with the soft beats of Jazz music and his wet kisses in his car.

However, with every relationship and experience she had to adapt to the life of her newly found partner. Fearing rejection, she moulded herself to fit in their lives. In her search for love, she changed herself to be the woman, she thought they wanted. Yet on one particular evening while waiting to be picked up her then love interest, it all changed. She sat there on her bed, with one shoe on and tears trickling down her face. It was at that moment, that she decided it was time for change. She chose to put her happiness first above others. In that evening, she became the woman, that she had always been afraid of being.

In her tiny, quite stall you shall find Bongiwe doing her rounds and giving taxi drivers their meals, while she tucks the money in her navy apron. You will always be drawn to her warm and sweet demeanour, but the newly found Bongiwe does no longer have time to compromise herself for any man.

Room 1408

“So, is that a requirement?” he asks, as he blows cigarette smoke out his nose. She smiles softly and looks at him straight in the eyes and gently says, “I am an only child.” Perplexed, he carries on smoking and questions her again, “what is that supposed to mean?” She leans forward as to give him a wet kiss and whispers to him, “I am an only child. I do not have requirements, requests rather. If my request is not granted, life carries on. That is how my mother raised me. So it was not a requirement, rather a request.” She takes the cigarette from his hand and takes a few drags, before leaning back to her side of the bed. Broken beer bottle glasses, their clothes on the floor and the pungent odour of cigarette in the air, the morning after had never been so awkward for him before. They are not a couple, nor do they belong to someone else. The arrangement was pretty simple; to meet, engage in the ‘night before’ and ‘morning after’ rumble and move on. Sometimes not everything goes according to plan.

Some of us are familiar with the drill. The meeting is very brief and frankly straight to the point – zack, zack – as the Germans would say. Once the deed has been done, there is no need for further communication or even interaction. Meet, engage and move on to the next bedroom buddy. However what happens when the other party exceeds your expectations of the morning after rumble? What happens when they can see beyond your superficial cold demeanour? Would it be such a travesty if that happened?

For Sipho here, this had always been the case. This one weekend of pleasure however, gave him a new perspective in life. The petit, young lady that rests on his bedside could have been like any other. After the night of pleasure, she could have easily picked up her clothes and not even consider staying for breakfast. She could have just closed the door behind her and not even look back. The petit, young lady on his bedside did no such. Her unpredictability came to him as a surprise. Her charming demeanour and effortless manner of asking him questions was astonishing to him. She was unpretentious and for the first time in his life, he did not hide behind his shield. He let her in; a place that he rarely showed anyone including himself. She carefully took her time in to finding out more about him. Unravelling all of his layers and teaching him things that he did not know about himself.

The weekend may have been a wonderful life learning experience for him, but unfortunately he could not freeze time. Time had come for the petit, young lady to leave the room. Life was carrying on beyond the tiny room that they both had shared for two days. He helps her get dressed and take some of her other belongs that were remaining on the floor. He walks behind her as she slowly makes her way to the door. “One minute, can you please just hold me,” he asks, grabbing her by the arm. She stops and gazes into his eyes, stands on her toes and the two hold each other. They rested in each other’s arms and feeding off from one another’s warmth. For the first time he has a feeling he had never had before, a feeling he does not wish to let go. Sadly he had to let go, for the petit, young lady also had a life to return to. She gave him one more kiss, before walking up the staircase. As he stood there overcome with emotions he could not explain, he wondered if she would ever come back. He may never know the answer to this question, but what he knew for sure, was that the petit, young lady allowed him to open his door. Perhaps this time, he might just be truly lucky.

Taxi Socialite

I have always been fascinated by people who have mastered the art of making an entrance. Their presence aluminates the room, while others around them busk in their aura. The power of making your existence felt without usage of words is rather impressive, I would say. There is a lady in the taxi community that actually gives our beloved Taxi Queen a run for her money – that is the resident Taxi Socialite.

In her big dark sunglasses, little black dress, a small colorful polyester scarf wrapped loosely around her neck, she makes all men lose their train of thought. Unlike the Taxi Queen, she does not hid behind European brand labels nor does she casually bathe in expensive perfume. She gently walks up to the taxi rank, with her slightly oversized black coat on her arm. In perfect posture, she stands behind the taxi allowing the other passengers to go in first. She releases a delicate smile and the freckles on her cheeks just complete her angelic demeanor. Taxi drivers, taxi conductors and blue collar men alike have tried talking to her, but after the greetings are exchanged, words also seem to disappear. They think they are no match for out Taxi Socialite.
Unfortunately she is not celebrated by the female taxi members. “Uyazitshela” (she is full of herself) they unanimously say. Truth be told, it is their insecurities that lead them to shower her with such resentment. You would imagine that she would opt to associating herself with people of a certain ilk, but it is the very same community that chastises her from them.
In those long taxi rides when the weather is tragic and the traffic is also being quite unpleasant, the Taxi Socialite does not rely on her music playlist to kill time. She pulls out her novel. Carefully paging through the pages as she reaches the last chapter she read. She prefers getting lost in words as opposed to losing herself in music lyrics that at times makes no sense. Sometimes her favorite novel takes her back to a time when she was in love. In love with a man who did not share her sentiments. As she felt his breath on her face and saw the cold, glacial look in his eyes, what she had initially feared became evident – she was just another temporary bed warmer. Pity she cannot talk about her thoughts and feelings with her fellow taxi members. She has become a fortress for her painful thoughts.
As she closes her book, she also shuts down those memories running in her head. In her soft voice she tells the driver she would like to get off at the next stop. Slowly making her way out of the taxi she feels the piercing eyes behind her from the judgmental passengers. Regardless of what they may think about her, her presence is difficult to forget.

A concern about cultural sensitivity: the impepho scene on Generations

I have never been a fan of open letters, as I have noticed that some of them are written by fans who seek to ridicule our South African celebrities. Needless to say, I have chosen not to write about the taxi family on this post but ti address an issue that left me gagging this week. Note, this is not part of the open letter cult, but it just a mere concern, perhaps an observation if you would like to call it that.

Generations has been part of many South African homes for two decades now. This multicultural t.v. soapie has introduced to various lifestyles and personalities and never fails to tackle certain topics in a tasteful manner. However, I was not amused by the impepho scene on Thursday evening –  29 May 2014 -. The scene of which I speak of, included two characters, Sibusiso Dlomo a veteran character of the show as well as newcomer Priska. Not to bore with an in-depth background story of the two characters and how they came to be an item, I would like to just get straight to the matter at hand.

In this scene we find both Priska and Sibusiso in bed, presumably about to engage in some adult fun. We find the main character – Sibusiso in despair following an incident that occurred during the week. He turns to Priska and tells her that she must bear him a child, particularly a son that shall carry on with his legacy. Now that was all fine and dandy up until Sibusiso casually took impepho and began to chant his praise name, asking his ancestors to help him get a son. This happened right on the bed, within seconds before they were about to be intimate. The scene ends with Sibusiso still chanting away and the poor Priska looking frightened and besides herself.

Speechless, puzzled, in awe me and my family were and I proceeded to see what the word was on Facebook and Twitter, regarding what had just been broadcasted. I was more shocked to read that some of my friends couldn’t be assed about this scene, but there were more concerned about how much it was a turn off for the mighty Sibusiso to light up impepho just before the deed. Perhaps I am being overly sensitive, but I feel it is time we call a thing a thing and just address the elephant in the room.

To those who are not familiar with impepho, it is what is known as incense. The Zulu and I believe some other African cultural groups burn it in several occasions. This could be at a wedding, funeral, before one departs for a long destination or even when a new born baby is introduced into a family. It is usually burnt by an older member of the family, and it is very sacred as we believe it is our communication tool with the ancestors. I then am saddened by the manner in which impepho was used in this particular scene. But what also surprised me is that the actors themselves, even agreed to shoot this scene! Hey, maybe rent was due and they bills to pay, but surely there was some kind of discomfort on set, no?  I come from a very traditional family and to be on the safe side, I even watched this episode again with ugogo –my grandmother –  and asked her a series of questions. Ugogo clearly explained that impepho is only lit at a certain place of the household and never on a Queen sized bed! She stated it becomes and exception when the individual is ill and cannot leave their bedside, and even then the impepho is burnt by someone else and brought to the sick person on the bed.

No matter how I look at the scene and try to understand the reason behind such utter disrespect for the Zulu communities, I still do not have an answer. This is not the first time that impepho was misused on Generations. A few years ago, Ntombi Khumalo-Dlomo (Sibusiso’s ex-wife) was also in a scene where she was using the bible and impepho in her time of need. Maybe it is just the Dlomos in Generations who have not been given enogh knowledge about the usage of impepho, or maybe it was an oversight of the cultural advisors of the show. Speaking of which, does Generations have a cultural advisor to tackle such sensitive issues? I recall that I watched the show till the very end and the credits only showed their three resident translators and no cultural advisor in sight. Do these translators then perform dual duties? Are they also the cultural advisors of the show? I mean one other South African soapie does indeed have cultural advisors; surely any soapie that caters to a mass multicultural market should have one or three?

In conclusion as stated above this is not part of the open letter trend, but it is just a concern from a fan of the show that has grown up watching it. The show has given us a lot to talk about and think about, and I hope for future episodes, cultural sensitivity shall also be taken into more consideration. I thank you.

Taxi picnic

There is nothing more awkward than being in a taxi just covered with a cloud of silence. The taxi driver does not have any music playing in the background and the passengers could not be bothered with engaging in some trivial small-talk. But honestly, what is even worse is being excluded from the taxi picnic. The taxi picnic is a very special event that occurs without any prior notice. Invitations are not sent out and there is no arrangements done. Before the lovely event begins, the passengers make a few last minute stops for some snacks and other things. Once that is done and out of the way, they make their way to the taxi. The taxi conductor slams the door shut, windows are closed and let the taxi picnic is about to commence.

The taxi becomes suddenly is filled with a combination of sweet and sour aromas. They can either make your mouth salivate or you can be prompted to open the window as you would be simply too overwhelmed. Leading the taxi picnic is one of the taxi mamas. She has a full three course meal safely tucked in her oversized handbag. For starters she nibbles on some Cheetos, and then tosses the packet out the window. She digs in her bag of tricks and takes out some KFC. It is still warm and the smell even distracts the taxi driver. Once she has devoured that, she throws that out of the window too. As for desserts she gobbles up some fruit yoghurt that was also in some compartment of her bag. She lets out a loud burp in utter euphoria she leans back on her seat. She makes sure there is no evidence left before she reaches her destination. She will lie to her children who have made boiled cabbage for supper and tell them that “nginenhliziyo emnyama akudleki – I simply do not have an appetite.”

There are those passengers who pretend not to be fanatics of the taxi picnic. But one by one they slowly take out their food items. Some shyly eat and try not to make any eye contact, whereas there are others who even share amongst each other. Even the taxi conductor joins in and takes out a warm mealie that he bought minutes before getting in the taxi. Like any event, there is always a master of ceremony. For today’s taxi picnic the master of ceremony is one of the township drunks. He may have not have any food on him, but the alcohol running through his whole body is enough to keep him going. He dishes out advice and stories and he projects his voice as audible as possible.

It indeed a beautiful festivity; filled with contrasting smells and tastes, dirty stories told by the drunk taxi baba and smiles all around. Well, almost everybody is glee – the one guest who never seems to make it on the guest list, is our taxi driver. He never has the opportunity to participate in the taxi picnic. Well, his hands are tied and he has no choice but to accept that he shall remain excluded from the taxi picnic.