My 4000m Achievement!

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I cannot be certain of the date or day, when my uncle and I were subjected to the tyranny of the Ngwaketsi sun and its heat, walking from the sediba [borehole], where the cattle of those lands are meant to quench their thirst, to my father’s cattle post. I am told that many many years ago, years before I was even born, herdsmen would actually walk ahead of their herd and the cattle would follow him faithfully in their magnitudes. This was just one of the many thoughts that accompanied me between the seemingly short conversations with my uncle KB, as we ourselves were marching behind my father cattle herding them along the dusty paths meandering through the Morwatubana savannas. This is how herdsmen “lead” their cattle nowadays, from behind the herd, following them. We had just been on the far end of Morwatubana, the side of the molapo [river], looking for my father’s cattle which we had been looking for since earlier that morning, and so lassitude was slowly luring us into his shadow and the sun slowly rising to its peak. Though we seemed to march quite fast behind the herd, it was just our feet and legs hurriedly carrying our sloppyish upper bodies through those dusty paths.
“Hee monna, Taekha [1], leuba le le gaketse waitse. Bona hela jaaka lefatshe le setlhahetse, le leruo ke mmopamo hela”[2], my uncle said; as if telepathically aware of my own thoughts about the dryness of the land brought about by the piercing aroma of the dust risen by the herd as it marched ahead of us, which had now awakened my sinus nightmare. I immediately concurred with him on the matter, which we soon found ourselves passionately engaged as we wondered how long it had been since our part of the country had received decent amounts of rainfall to emancipate our people and their crops and livestock from the stark drought. But that conversation was quickly wiped away by my uncle KB’s sudden realization. There is a Setswana proverb that says, “tlhako ya morago, e gata ha ya pele e gatileng teng” or, the cow’s rear hoof, steps upon the exact same spot where the front did, if directly/literally translated. However, my uncle’s melo dramatically expressed fascination was particularly with the literal truth of this proverb, his face was lit with excitement as he walked behind one of the calves watching its hoofs as they stamped the ground one after another in a seemingly magical fashion. He too like me, seemed to have always assumed that when the old folk coined the proverb it was just out of casual assumption without really having considered the practicality of this phenomenon.
As the exchange between us assumed a higher pitch and a lighter and jollier mood, the long walk to my father’s cattle post seemed to have shortened as we were now approaching an old once compounded settlement called “letlotla la ga Ophaketse”[Ophaketse old abandoned home], still within the Morwatubana lands.
This is the same area whose thought and memory is forever attached to that of the first time I ever saw a family of ostriches. It was some years ago, when my father and I were riding in his Toyota Hilux [which I have since inherited, BTW, LOL], that we ran into these tall and massive birds. They awakened the little boy in me, the excitement gave me such an ecstatic rush that it earned me a short story from my father about his boyhood days growing up in Kgalagadi. Although I never remembered what the story was or about, that short moment experienced with my father certainly remains one of the very few cattle post memories with him, which I will forever cherish.
Anyway, as uncle KB went on and on about his fascination with “cow’s rear hoof, front hoof” phenomenon, the tractor like sound of my father’s Bolero pickup truck awakened and could be heard in the not so far distance as it drew nearer and nearer from behind us. We had left him at the sediba still consulting with the borehole foreman [rraSediba].  He soon approached us and signaled that we would find him at the cattle post as he drove past us. Not too long after that the mildly blinding gleam of our herdsman’s house, made from silver sheets of galvanized metal, shimmered through the cloud of dust hanging above the nodding heads of the herd in front of us. As we slowly approached, my father opened the kraal and stood alert by its entrance to make sure the infant calves inside do not run out to their approaching mothers who were now all passionately mooing at them. After successfully herding all the cattle into the kraal, we all dragged our heavy feet to a tree within the compound were we then sat in deafening silence. After some time of being lost in the maze of my own thoughts, my uncle then shuttered the bubble of silence that had engulfed us: “ke gore re ka tswa re tsamaile sekgala se se kae hela gooha monna Taekha” [3], he asked me. The question proved to have caught me off guard as I lazily tried to think of an answer I did not even have, “go tswa ha Sedibeng hale go tla ha ke 4Ks [4KM]” [4], my father rescued me with an answer. The question had now sparked a conversation between my father and uncle to which I was not listening as I sat there beside them trying to figure out how long 4KM really is, because I had imagined it to be much longer than what we had just walked. Realising that the time had long gone past noon and that the sun was just about to start its descend, my father suggested that we leave all the cattle in the kraal for the day and adjourn our mission of dehorning the calves and branding them to the early morning of the next. We then hopped on my father’s truck and started our journey back to the village, Mmathethe. As we drove off I started to observe the distance meter on the car cluster as well as the distance from when we were leaving the cattle post to that at which the distance meter would signal that we had done 4KM. The distance which we had covered at the 4KM mark now seemed to be quite a long one, though in less time. From that point on I was thrilled at this little discovery, and became quite anxious to get home as I now couldn’t wait to get home and tell my mom and sisters about my big achievement that day, which it certainly is for any city slicker as myself. And that was my 4000m achievement.  t

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[1]. Which is in fact meant to be pronounced, “Duiker”, like the name of one of Botswana’s early heroic national soccer players, Tumi Duiker, from whom I inherited the name by virtue of my name  also being Tumi, shortened from Tumiso.
[2]. Hey Taekha, this drought is scorching. Just look at how the land has gone dry, even the cows are just skinny.
[3]. How long do you think is the distance we have walked today, Taekha?
[4]. It is a 4KM distance from the borehole from here.

The Greatest Poet!

Maybe im not a writer, or even a renowned poet. Maybe Im just a simple guy simply fascinated with the simple idea, that I can translate thought impulses into words and onto a piece of paper. And not just mere words but words that provoke and evoke thought, giving life to new ideas and concepts. Confusion and comprehension alike are wrought, and maybe even a fusion of emotions are brought forth. But here’s an interesting thought: maybe “maybe” may be simply implying that I could be. But really? A writer? Or even a poet? No! T.S Eliot was a writer, and Milton a poet. Me, Im just a simple guy simply fascinated with the simple idea, that I can translate thought impulses into words and onto a piece of paper.
I make up words and line them up in rhymes to numb your mind, because, in that previous line what you fail to realise is that by “make up” I meant to beautify, as opposed to construct. So let not that thought, like writer’s block, block away and obstruct the beautifully abstract thoughts now in your minds, because they are offsprings of thoughts conceived in mine, now entangling your brains like a growing vine, ’cause they embody a DNA they inherit from mine.
Today I found myself at a crosssroads, having been forced to alter my sails of thought according to the vigorously blowing winds of a new revelation. What if I told you that Shakespeare is NOT the greatest poet that ever writ? Not because his work has shown a lesser level of wit, but because in me, John Milton’s and Alfred Lord Tennyson’s have aroused more marvel and appeal than his. You see, they too have recorded and voiced the words to thoughts some have only ever thought, they have painted vivid pictures and portraits in the minds of many; unleashing the souls of their wildest imaginations in the simple spirit of merging As, Bs, and Cs and XYZs in infinite combinations and permutations. But still,  they too aren’t the greatest. So the burning question then becomes: who is?
Well, in my humble opinion, the greatest poet came way before your Plato’s and Shakespeare’s or Maya Angelou’s, He is the very first, yet He is still the very last; some call Him, Alpha and Omega! Whom when He spoke, the subjects of speech hastened to life at His command. Once He said, “Let there be light”, and glorious enlightenment shined upon my mind the composition of a piece so great, it proclaimed glory and honour for no other, but Himself.
It may be that I am not a great writer or poet, but surely what I am is the proud product and manifestation of His 10 word poem in Genesis as pronounced by the 26th verse of its first book.

A Lesson From Noloh: My 5 Year Old Cousin.

Children are such a joy and a pleasure to watch sometimes, such a beauty to behold I tell you. But not if you asked an in-the-moment irritated mother; “mothonyana oo ditsebenyana o oa ntapisa, hanke abo a ntheetsa1”, she’d most probably say.
Anyway, one morning as I got into the kitchen hoping to quench my thirst with a cup of cold water, I walked in on my favourite little cousin, Noloh, and her mother. They were standing there facing each other with aunty bowing down towards Noloh, almost hovering over her, placing one hand on her back and the other stretched out in front of my little cousin as if waiting to receive something from her. Noloh had two apples in her hands, one on each, and looking at them so intently almost as if trying to make some sort of very important life or death decision. “Tumie, please ask Noloh to share her apples with me, please may I have one Noloh”, aunty said with an undisturbed gaze at her daughter asking me to put in a good word for her. I quickly closed the fridge and turned to Noloh and said, “Give mummy the other apple nnana2, be a good girl. Good girls share”. But her stare at the apples went undisturbed, she didn’t even turn to look me in the eyes for a moment. Rather, she quickly took a bite on the apple on her right hand, chewed and swallowed, paused for a quick moment as she raised her little eyes to look into those of her mother. She once again took a quick bite into the other apple on her left hand chewed and swallowed, still looking her mother in the eyes seeming so unbothered. Sadness came over me as my heart took a deep dive into my stomach, but I could have never been ready for what happened next, and I am most certain that even aunty couldn’t have expected it. I had simply thought and concluded in my own mind that the little girl decided to mark her two apples with her tiny teeth in a desperate attempt to bit off her mother’s interest in them. And I guess aunty had thoughts similar to mine and was just as quick to conclude on them, and what had just happened left her just as speechless as it did me, because she too just stood there as if frozen by the tension that had befell the room in an unbelievable moment that seemed to last forever.

“Take this one mummy, it’s the sweetest of the two, I think it’s the best one”, Noloh suddenly broke the silence, and indeed the tension that seemed to have grabbed that moment, with her beautiful innocent little smile and voice. Noloh placed what she believed to be the sweetest of the two apples on her mother’s still hopelessly stretched out hand. As if it had not been enough, my heart once again fell deeper into my stomach but this time it was joy that came over me as I beheld purity of heart and soul manifest. Aunty Kelly quickly knelt on one knee and grabbed Noloh to hug her. “Thank you ngwanaka3, thank you my child”, she said over and over with a shaky voice and a look on her face I still cannot describe even to this day. But what I know, is I had never in my life had my emotions toyed around with so viguorously from one extreme to another in such a short moment that now seemed to have gone by too quickly to truely take in and appreciate. I had just been schooled by a 5 year old, never to judge any person too quickly, and I bet my aunt too had just graduated.

1. This little person is so irritating, she never listens to me.
2. “Nnana”, is a setwana word(noun) usually used to refer to small children in a sweet tone.
3. “Ngwanaka”, also a setswana word(noun) that directly translates to “my child”.
NB: Setswana is the native language of the people of Botswana, who are also known and referred to as, Batswana.

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Myself, Noloh and Her Little Brother Maatla

Restoration!

The time is Three Fifteen AM, as I find myself wondering under moonlight, swimming in a pool of the concentrated salt-water that is my thoughts; whose piercing sensation cuts deep into my eyes, causing them to weep onto this paper, words, potent with regret and hurt. I try to wipe away the tears but my hands are covered in red, drenched to the skin with the blood of those that have found themselves wandering under the sharp edges of my so-called-love. I could have sworn that I loved her eternally, but time being time ticked and tocked and knocked reality into that fallacy, and so her fantasy branded with Cinderella-perfection scabbed away all too soon, opening her old injury that soon became a fresh wound. And the numbness in her womb seeped up into her heart, masking up its sensitivity to feel any form of true love. But who can blame her?

When your heart has been broken enough times, the messages of true affection never really reach their intended and rightful destinations, all because the nerve-endings of the heart just hang loosely between the cracks of your broken spirit. So how do I live with myself, knowing that I am the breaker of an overly fragile heart, and a part of a squad of  guys who play catch with the heart of another Adam’s rib, the bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, Eve! The doctors say that she has been broken beyond repair, and that even the Medical Aid Policy she subscribed to would not cover the costs of life support of her broken heart any longer. Death is indeed imminent. So no hope resides in this chapter of her “love story”.

“It’s all in God’s hands now”, one of the doctors  hopelessly remarked. But things soon took a dramatic turn the day she whispered a quiet prayer in her soul. The author of her love story looked down upon her, as she lay on her ICU hospital bed and said, “My child I see you, and I will cease your pain at once”. A bright light then shined upon her infecting her with a  strong sense of hope. It is then that she understood that life is solar powered, it needs the Son to recharge, and that when He, the Son, said “It is finished”, it marked not the end but only the beginning, it marked not His fall but rather His Ascension, on to His throne of glory, from which He would rewrite her story, the story of her new love life. The throne from which she knew, He would remould her heart anew, because she knew, she knew better, to seek Him first, the potter. Today when she walks the streets of Gaborone, just as only Jesus’ disciples saw Him after resurrection, only worthy men see her, because she has been born again, revived and restored. Nowadays she only lies in a bed lined with sheets of divinity and will only give herself to a man triple-checked by the Trinity. Because now for any man to woo her, it is through the way of one but three avenues, either the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit.

 

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They Keep Coming! Behold, How Beautiful They Sound.

I have written and written, pages and pens have run out. But chains of words link together in diverse fashions and styles, all because these, the words, well these keep coming. Flooding the creative reservoirs of me, mere experiences reinvent themselves in the noon of darkness. When others rest their spirits, mine sprints in artistic stillness into proverbial phrases and rhythmic syllables. They assemble at the gates of my thoughts, forcing them open with the heavy force of poetic allure. Some make absolutely no sense to me, but I neatly pack them up in verses anyway, because, “behold how beautiful they sound“. The lids of the eastern eye yawn once more, minutes and hours run out, days come upon days, even weeks may stack up again, but all these run out, writer’s block may block them away, but creative urge eventually knocks him out the way, and these, the words, well these keep coming.

Creative seasons change and alternate, and sometimes even reason dries out with the summer rains. The stark dry winter scorches any form of understanding the words, but beauty has no definite boundaries, like love, love makes no sense to me but it too is beautiful. The words keep coming leaving comprehension to migrate with the birds because they always come back anyway. Backs against the walls, ignorance taking its toll, but the words always return after it all. Somnolence can knock me out dead, BPC can shed out the power over my head, but morning comes again, rejuvenated and lit, and these, the words, well these keep coming. Mama sent me out to the store, the fingers cry out, “Please write no more”! But these small distractions never settle the score, because these, the words, well these keep coming back for more. The adventure of life never stops, reciprocating between moments the alternating current of sweet and sour memories into the live circuit of life. Beams of a forecast future are powered, illuminating the chill present with a hope in motion, moving aside with the retired yesterdays, and all because these, the words, well these keep coming.

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The Power of The Tongue: Of Thee Word.

 

Sometimes, the mysteries of life lie right before our very eyes. But because the universe has to play her cards right, it is perhaps in our best interest that the things we are not yet ready to receive, remain unknown to us: hidden from us in plain and simple sight. It is then that, in very special moments and very particular ones in time, we are dealt a revealing hand in our lives: revealing unto us the nitty grittys of life we thought we had never known.

It was just last week Wednesday when Diana shared with me her big news, that I had a major revelation. She told me she’d be moving to Maun, the one place she had always wished and hoped, to someday get the chance to reside at. But because it seemed a little too unlikely at the time, we made a big joke of it. And everytime we did, we winded up having this serious conversation of how, the mercies of nature would someday configure her wishes and hopes into the complex maze that is her life, she’s still trying to navigate: not realising that that day, may be sooner than we thought. So as I sat in her office on that day, pondering upon the big news that she had just given me, it is then that I got to really realise and appreciate, “the power of the tongue“, or we like to call it, the power of thee word.The book of Hebrews tells us that, “the word is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joint and marrow; and discerning to the thoughts and intentions of our hearts”.

Though it seemed jokingly, we wished and we hoped for this implausible thing, but I guess the joke was on us, because the persistent words of our joke had wrought into reality what seemed an absolute fantasy. I guess, “the thought of all achievement, no matter its nature or purpose, must (indeed) begin with an intense burning desire for something definite. Then Through some strange but powerful principle of mental chemistry; Nature wraps up in the impulse of strong desire ‘that something’ which recognises no such thing as implausible, and accepts no such reality as “un-likely“.

So as her departure nears and we continue to say our silent goodbyes, I have wished her well, good luck and good fortune, in all her latest endeavours: riding upon that same newly discovered power of the tongue. But I guess in fear of that same power, I have continued to numb the thought of an indubitable and inevitable truth: that SisBax, you will be dearly missed.

 

NB: This piece was written for my dearest sister and friend, a true lady of Faith; above all appreciating her for revealing to me that the words we speak posses a greater power than any of us imagine them to. She simply spoke her wildest dream into reality. This is also a fare-thee-well note and a confession that even though I never really say it, she will be exceedingly missed by myself and I’m sure many others. I pray that God continues to work in her life and through it, and that His power, Thee Word, will continue to exceedingly blow her imagination beyond measure in all her life’s pursuits. Kgotla SoulOfWit Letlotlo.

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My Truth

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The truth can be a painful place to be! Especially when you have been fed half truths that stacked up in their infinities to lay a porous foundation. Our hearts are deficient, hallow and punctured by bullets signed with autographs of our past lovers. Heartbreak is not a joke, it is not just another stumble in life, it is an apocalypse of the faculties of the soul’s universe. And in this aftermath of failed relationships, I have found my truth, buried between chlorophyll bodies of defeated attempts. Now as the leaves of this stark season fly away with the passing winds, new and fresh ones begin to grow on the erect branches of my truth. A fresh scent of lullabies scoop me up between sleepless nights and rock me to sleep. The tears I used to shed, the hurt I used to sweat, fell on these pages to draw up a maze of rhymes that spell out my truth. Poetry! When I say these words are my rock, it is simply because, when I tripped and hit rock bottom, it is these words that caught me and fought for me.
Yes, the truth can be a painful place to be, but my dark and gloomy poetry ferments with time, and with time the taste of its metaphors only gets better. With time HOPE-less-ness sheds away all unnecessary accessories, and with the death of her suffixes hope is born again. You see, with the rebirth of my hope, my truth soon grew to be a beautiful place to be. Poetry!
               SoulOfWit.L.K.M.Aristotle