Nkos’isikelel’i Afrika

#AfricaDay reminds me of the Original song by Enoch Sontonga. What do you expect from a guy named Enoch but to write a song that will forever draw Africa to God! 

Our national anthem begins with Africa in mind. The dreams of our forefathers were always bigger than the southern part of the continent. They saw themselves as Africans first. Indeed even when the system oppressed them it discriminated them because they were Africans and called them Africans. 

This song has stopped bloodshed when the people were faced with violence against them. These Africans have marched in times past and sang this song defying hatred and violence. This song has calmed the souls of our people. God bless Africa. It goes on asking the Holy Spirit to descend upon us and bless us. 

Yehla Moya, Yehla Moya oyingcwele usisikelele thina lusapho lwayo. 

Today I thank God for blessing our continent with such skillful and prophetic songwriters such as Sontonga. 

May He give us new prophets who will write new songs that will take us to the future God has called us to as a people. 

It is 15 years into the African Century. 

What is our generation going to leave behind? Certainly not xenophobia. 

The Sontonga generation left us with a vision of a blessed and united Africa. An Africa whose horn is lifted! A continent and people that are at peace and an Africa that is saturated with and in God’s presence. 

#AfricaDay in #SouthAfrica



A Village of Kindness: Mothers

I am here today because I was mothered by a village of kindness. One woman gave birth to me. One gave birth to the one who gave birth to me. To the late MaRhadebe who made me feel adored for as long as she was alive. To her teachings that have made it impossible for us to ever consider a tattoo because her voice was like God’s. “Your body is a temple of God. Do nothing to it. Yes you can’t even scribble on it with a pen.” To my late grandmother who left us last year, iBhelekazi elihlophe, elithule lithecwaka. I was given special treatment at the hospital as a baby because my granny was a nurse. I hear that I was a very sickly child. But I only remember being happy and going to the hospital to my granny often. But I thank the village full of women and younger women who joyfully carried me on their backs even when I thought I was too old. 
One in particular insisted on carrying me on her back. She was older but not old enough to be my mother. She died probably when I turned 20. We saw each other once when she was sickly. Though I hadn’t seen her since childhood, our eyes locked. We had no words, only memories, silent thank yous too sacred to utter. Our eyes locked, communicating with our souls. Reaching out because what words are there when we had not seen each other for so long, when we both young and carefree. And now, death had already come to steal a life not yet lived. And even when she carried me on her back. I knew that she did not know my grandmother’s words, that her body was a temple. I didn’t know how to communicate that with her. And now that lack of knowledge killed her to soon. 
Today I pray for the orphans who have no one to say Happy Mother’s Day to. Today I pray for the childless to be with child. Today I thank the countless mamas who treat me as theirs just because we do belong to a greater family than our own. 
Today I wish myself a happy Mother’s Day, may I be called the mother of presidents. 

Tea as a political matter 

(Column first published on the Daily Dispatch 28 April 2015)  

Anyone who has a fresh lived experience of freedom has an energising spark of life about them. I saw this a few days ago in a young man who showed me his gunshot wounds as though they were badges of honour. For him, freedom was that he walked out of hospital alive even though he still walkson crutches.


Has our freedom gone stale after 21 years? Perhaps we need to remember.



Saleem Mawzer has recently retold a story of the first moments of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990. Mawzer has reportedly said that before Mandela made his first public address after his release, they took him on a detour to Mawzer’s house for security reasons. It was a last minute decision. The house was located in Rondebosch East. The first thing Mandela apparently requested in that house as a free man, before he made his historic public address, was a cup of tea. The family is reported to have preserved that teacup so that no one has drunk from it since Mandela.


The nation would drink its first cup of freedom the moment it caught sight of Mandela on his first public address. The journey though was only beginning.


Mandela’s 27 April 1994 vote is famously captured in an iconic photograph. But, what did Mandela do in April 1995, a year since that historic vote? According to the government website dedicated to the former president, these were his activities this month 20 years ago.

Fires Winnie Mandela from her Cabinet post. She is briefly reinstated and then dismissed

Appoints Archbishop Desmond Tutu as chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Wears jersey of Springbok rugby captain and attends the World Cup Final which South Africa wins

Has tea with widows of politicians (National Party and struggle leaders)


Winnie Mandela had lost all favour with him at this point as it appears on this list. This is while he had tea with those who had denied him freedom. They had not only had him imprisoned but would not have hesitated to have had him conveniently assassinated as it often happened with other freedom fighters. Instead, Mandela walked out of their prisons, became president and gave his former oppressorswives a tea party? This tea party was a revolutionary act. It was an assurance that though they represented those who had oppressed him, he would instead personally extend the freedom he was once denied to those who once denied it tohim.


My friends very generously hosted a special Freedom tea party this weekend in my honour. This tea party took place inthe same Rondebosch East suburb Nelson Mandela had drunk his first cup of tea as a free man. None of us were aware of this story at the time. The tea party was inspired by Freedom Day and an interesting apartheid law I happeneto come across.


The law reads: “Unless they have obtained a special permit to do so, a white person and a non-white person may not under any circumstances drink a cup of tea together in a café. Anyone disobeying this law will be imprisoned, fined, and/or whipped.”  


At first I was humoured by this silly tea breaking law. I then began to think about the many teas I have had with white people without even knowing that I was enjoying the benefits of freedom. The journey to freedom is far from complete but just as the Mawzers who hold Mandela’s cup with reverence, my cross-cultural tea drinking moments will become a toast to and taste of freedom.

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