Saturday, 26 February 2011

From where I'm from...

My friends figure that I could make for an interesting read if ever I should decided to write a book.  But I worry that their reasons are maybe wrong. Apparently details of my life have the sort of stuff Hollywood movie scripts I made of. The fact that I am from a far away village in Limpopo, they argue, qualifies me as an interesting subject. 

You see most of my friends are the stereotypical and sometimes ignorant city and kasi type. They think if you are from Limpopo you are not South African.  So you can imagine the work on my hands.

Charisma and wit are seen as foreign characteristics in people who came from places like me. In crowds we are supposed to be the quite shy and keep to myself sort who spots strange fashions and ancient hair styles. It is for this reason that I always get accused of modesty or I must be the exception they say.  But I remember the first time I came to Cape Town straight from Limpopo very well. I stood at the Park Station for over seven hours not knowing which direction to take with my luggage.  My rural pride would not let me cry or ask for help. No pity thoughts, I had come to get an education and be part of progressive young people my age who are contributing towards economical development of this rainbow nation of ours. That’s how I made it through tertiary. 

My rural traits are so microscopic that this particular person who mentioned it could not tell just by looking at me that I do my washing by the river and visit the garden when I need to snack.  You are not like them, she says like I am supposed to walk barefoot just to prove that I am really from Modjadji Head Kraal.  With all the discriminatory classifications in this country it was the first time I felt like I was being made to feel a certain way because of my geographical origin.

Who cares what people say right? I mean coming from African’s Eden with all its magnificent geological wonders what is there not to be proud of? I never stammer when I have to tell people about where I am from.  We are lucky to have the best of both worlds. We thrive in cities, survive in locations (kasi) and still go home to our villages. And once there, as one friend of mine who was visiting from Pretoria noted, you can never go to bed on an empty stomach. This friend said on one of those visits he was sitting under a shade of an avocado tree wondering what he was going to have for lunch. Suddenly by some strange luck a ripe avocado hit him on the head.  Nature is our best provider, always sensitive to our needs.

I was always taught to give ME! an advantage of having knowledge of as many things as possible so that I can afford myself better choices whenever I need to make a decision. For instance I learned to use a washing when I was a student at tertiary but I prefer to hand wash my clothes the way I was taught to do at home because a machine does not wash to my satisfaction.  On those laundry days the place I am at always looks like a laundromat with close handing from bathroom towel rails to living room chairs. I know this will shock the neighbours because at this particular residential place no clothes are supposed to be seen hanging outside. And the developers made sure of that by not putting up washing rails. But the likes of me always finds a creative ways to get around things that people say we cannot do.

1 comment:

  1. Masutane your writing is powerful and deserves a wider audience. I agree with those who see the gift of writing in you, go for it.

    This blog can serve as a practice ground for future serious stuff.

    I enjoyed this piece on how people from rural communities get pigeon-holed into backwardness and blissful ignorance. I have been through those stereotypes - instead of wearing me down they inspired me to do even more.