Bridging

by Thulasizwe Somdyala

Two Generations

“We’re simultaneously more connected and isolated than any generation before us” – Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh

i was born eGcuwa and in 1994 we moved to my mother’s home in Mbizana, kwaNdunge. uMama subsequently bought a plot and built our new home in Margate. During the week we lived in Ndunge village and weekends in Margate. In Margate is where i had my first contact with white people at a social level. Couple of times i would arrive home with uBandile, my cousin, from the beach reporting to uMama how the day went and having to state we were in a fight. In a sharp stern tone she would ask, “Benisilwelani?” ready to discipline. “Abantwana bamabhulu bathe sizikaffirs, thina sababetha,” we would respond. uMama would compose herself not content with the violence but held back in reprimanding by the cause of. My sister would be adding in the background, “Nize nibaphinde, basile.” Therefore, i was not alarmed by Penny Sparrow’s comments, i know how they think of us. i was disappointed and frustrated at the government’s response to her violent statement. Dehumanising our being is met without repercussion. Kodwa ke, this is the same government that forgave people who did not ask for forgiveness; makes sense why whites still run a murk here.

In understanding government’s response we have to look at the conditioning and upbringing our leaders in office had that still distorts their psyche. uMama asked me ukuba yintoni iqakamba these past holidays. “Cricket?” i responded. She looked at me with eyes of a missed opportunity, “Kanene. Mmmh khaw’uphinde ucinge inoba ingathetha ntoni?”  she asked. Seeing me struggling to answer she breaks into a monologue, “Ooh kanene anikwazi nokucingela (referring to my lack of articulation of Xhosa).” She then corrects herself, “Hayi kodwa awunoyazi ngoba eli gama belisetyenziswa phambi kwexesha lenu.” uMama then explains that iqakamba was a name used for a white policeman. Black and white policemen wore different uniform in her young days. White policemen wore helmets and therefore were referred to by their attire- iqakamaba means helmet- cricket in my generation. She further explained the fear one would have in sight of iqamkamba; abantu would square off at a whiff of their presence. Telling this story to bring into perspective the fear our parents have for white people, an older friend substantiated with her own experience. She has a scar on her forehead as a result of her mother fleeing from a Casspir. Frantically at the sight of the van her mother ran, tripped and fell scrapping the land they desperately wanted to be free in. Her last image of that scene were amaqakamba laughing at the sight of their terror.

“Bathi jonga jonga jonga yo khawuleza mama

khawuleza mama khawuleza” – Zenzile Miriam Makeba

South Afrika is currently in a state where the young are manufactured to endorse whiteness without fearing it; the old know who they are but were conditioned to inferiority. I  am trying to establish how content and context in our schooling system can bridge the gap to a state where we know who we are and progress with pride in projecting ourselves.

Their Schools Can’t Teach Us S**t

“Our matriculants passed colonial education. Know nothing about South Afrika before 1652, little about Afrika before 1882 and so much about whites.”

The South Afrikan family structure has been dismantled by various systematic violence resulting in the loss of the roar in our pride. Our mothers and fathers have become ever more distant from the pressures of meeting minimum wage, leaving the young to the white man’s world devices without traces of home as base. Development takes place unsupervised in the education system meant to conscientise the young about self, self in relation to nature and then further develop skills that enhance their character so to serve the community in progression. In Kemet, initiates would be secluded from society in aim of reducing distraction and the blind spot of emotion when awakening reason. In the same way rites of passage into adulthood are still practised in Afrikan cultures. The practice has also laid foundation in how modern teaching occurs, therefore, being away from the physical home is not the problem. The problem is in the teachings and context of within our institutions distancing us away from home; our knowledge.

Our schooling system mimics plagiarised knowledge received from the West which inferiors the originators, resulting in a production of carbon-copies of our oppressors. Our ancestors humanised the Greeks living in darkness unenlightened, the Indians living by the Indus Valley, Achaemenid Empire (Persia) in a quest to build harmony and community. The young’s state of mind has now been defaulted into the survival of the fittest; delusions of the Aryan ethos that is well indoctrinated to the detriment of community. Instead of being groomed to progress our ancestral linage, we manufactured to security guard those who steal our ancestral heritage. Now our brothers are killing our brothers, sisters hate each other and the parents do not know who their children are. Whereas they thought they were doing better by sending them to white schools. No one is building our villages.

Bridging

A Black man currently walks without a shadow accompanying him; he cannot look back and trace where he is from. This makes it easy to be misled and dictated to by foreign influences who he is and what he should be. The content and context in our education is  Eurocentric; Afrikan ideas and view of life remain unuttered. How are our seeds meant to grow and flourish. In our schools is where the bridge is meant to be built; connecting our past with our present, enabling us to walk into our own self-defined future. Therefore, an urgent need for consciousness of self to arise, initiated by our own people who can articulate from our perspective is needed. The endorsing of white authors to dictate our history and environment needs to be eroded. We know the real power of the oppressor is propaganda and it is the only way he has managed to defeat us; reason and truth is not his strong point. We have focused too much on what the white man thinks and how to sober their insecurities while getting drunk in our pain. We need to reconcile with ourselves. In our current state the young must lead and the old must guide. An OG told me, when they were faced with suffocation they took to the streets and in his lifetime ’94 happened. He therefore conclude, if we serious about what we say, let us continue pressure on the streets and craft what we want to see in our lifetime.

You cannot enslave a man who knows where he is from.

The Realest

Until We See Azania

 

Notes

The “i” small cap is a conscious imagery of not being bigger than the group.. The Cartesian principle is “I think therefore I am.” In Afrika we say, ”i am because we are and since we are, therefore i am.”