Many days I lie awake in the belly of the night, possessed with thoughts that seem to always flood the open tabs of my running mind. I fear extinction and so I document my every thought by night. Pen and paper are the stewards of my every cord, every thread of emotion brought to life by the inspiration of each star, studding the firmament with glittery sparks. The moon is my muse, fathering every word I put to use. Insomnia is my uninvited lover, whom I embrace through the night. The potency of our poetry has my eyes bloodshot red in the morn. I will thank her at dawn but dread her at noon, when I pay the price of deprived sleep, when my flight through the day proves too steep. But then again later on tonight, when my lover calls for me, I will lie awake again, in between these sheets. Because Insomnia claims she loves me, and helplessly, I think I love her back.
We have grown fond of the city life and lights, fumes and noises pollute the atmosphere, and the birds that sing here sing in vain to the still drift and stiff sway of electric poles and road signs that stand by our ways. They too have succumb to the concrete lifestyle for they have built nests in roof corners of old warehouses, competing for real estate with appallingly fat rabbit sized rats that could scare away a township cat. The city life is a mean life which we live by means of serving survival to the meanest and fittest. Integrity and honesty are tales of the past that have past with the last of our happiest years.
Children of the dunes, how have we lost our way, our paths have faded away with the memories of rays of sunshine clouded by clouds of smoke and dust at dawn as grandmother sweeps the compound and prepares soft porridge for us. Children of the dunes how is it wise that we have traded away these blissful morning dews for toxic exhaust fumes and tragic accident news in the 7 o’clock bulletin. The sounds on the radio, the sights on the television, all seem dark and stark, no light shines at the end of these city tunnels ’cause we have funneled ourselves into the narrow enclosures of our city houses that we so seldom see even the sun shine.
Children of today barely even speak the tongues of their Fathers, when they roll their tongues with twang their mothers light up with pride while their grandmothers drown in confusion. And this is what the city has turned us into, strangers with like features and gestures living in the same houses. They often tell me that they see my father in my face and that my grandfather’s awkward swagger is evident in my pace, yet the only thing I know about him, my own DNA, is what I read in the books I buy from CNA.
Children of the dunes how have we lost our way? I remember as a child when we used to love playing in the rain, singing at the top of our voices: “Pula pula nkgodisa, ke tlaa gola leng?”. But today the only reign I witness is of terror and sadness in the faces of the children that dread and hate the rain. “Rain rain go away, Bill and Johnny want to play, so come again another day”, is what they sing with their drowsy horrified voices.
I have not any understanding of the Phonology to the language native to my tongue, because my mother never taught me such. Well, they call it “mother tongue”, but it is our fathers’ ethnicity we inherit, the ones we are identified by. I have only ever learnt to understand that man’s mumblings, but never to speak like him. From a tender age my tongue has been carved to meander through language with a Victorian swerve, I have been taught to walk the talk with Shakespearean swagger. When my lips and tongue tango they observe British etiquette. But I promise you, my lips are fat and cracked, the skin I wear is ivory-tan, my hair is nappy and pitch black, and my eyes are a reddish-brown hazel glare, that reflects the shimmery rays of the desert sun. My country has apparently been independent since ’66, but has remained colonised by Western ideals and ideologies. Our culture has been reduced and relegated into an irrelevant and old fashioned way of doing things. Our identity has been lost in our misplaced plot to civilise. But, children of the dunes, we need to claim back ourselves, let us take back that which civilisation robbed from us and deposited into the tombs of time, lost time. And let us reclaim back our language, our culture, our heritage, our God-given identity, and reimplant the back into the wombs of time, not time lost or past, but time promised to us, by the rising sun, the golden eye of the east, on a golden junilee year.