During Apartheid in South Africa the Black family system was broken, this was done in 2 ways. When men (fathers and brothers) were taken from their homes to work in the city mines and when the land act of 1913 came into practice dispossessing Black South Africans of the land they called home. This act in many ways robbed people of their identity and scattered families; consequently, today, over 48% of households are female-headed with absent fathers in SA. Many children seek for their roots to make sense of their lives but it is difficult especially when one knows not who their ancestors are nor where they rest. At some point in time as an African child, life circumstances compel you to find answers so to break the curse bonds that stand in your way to perform well academically, secure a job, or even find true love.
This poem is about a young woman who follows her calling to be a healer and seizer of broken family cycles. After rejection from the living members of her father’s side of the family, she begins a spiritual journey of meeting herself through the realms of those who have passed. Seeking to understand her life experiences and their spiritual influence, she embarks on a spiritual journey to heal the inner child trauma in order to return home… to her true self.
Through this poem I wish to remind all people who are feeling lost that there is a home that resides in all of us through our souls, that there isn’t anybody who does not belong and mostly that life can still happen positively for you even though you have been rejected by family. Although it is important to know your roots, our blessings and life plan does not depend on where you are from, I know it can be daring and scary to set out on a journey to find yourself in spaces and people that you do not know, but in the end, the journey will be worth it, for your own peace. Empowered are those who know themselves.
Human is a trinity; mind, body and soul.
The mind’s cerebral capacity I am yet to fully tap into, daily I mindfully consume information aiding its expansion.
The body is a vessel through which I am identified, brown skin slender girl with an attitude. Daily I wash her up, dress her up and look into the mirror aware of her flaws, bad skin and yet ready to present her to a society with set standards of beauty.
The soul I am searching, finding. Hoping to catch a glimpse and follow her into the path where she who dwells within resides.
Broken phylogenetic pathways. I seek for my people to no avail, sometimes I feel like my mother whose history has denied her too. My spirit shall remain living past my death and searches a space to belong in my ancestors unknown. My father left without a trace so in my attempt to pay libation and call out the names of the family tree from which I descend, I get lost in soul searching.
…tobacco power, traditional beer, reciting my last name in ululation I search for answers.
Soul-finding in unfamiliar ally’s, every face is a suspect, could he be my father? Attempting to make sense of the man who gave me a handshake in my dreams feeling like I knew him from another life. The life where the African girl knew of her paternal roots and did not visit her home in Deja Vu. “You cannot be in tune with self if you do not know your people, speak to your ancestors” they say…”How?” I ask, when this mind has been conditioned to think of practices non-indigenous to my being. This body’s mannerism resembles people I do not know of. This voice safeguards a foreign language passed down to me and I too shall pass to my own continuing this intergenerational falsehood.
Born with the responsibility to find those who denied me, the ancestors speak in me and I cannot comprehend. Born dislocated…soul-finding in unfamiliar spaces. Lost but the voice within will not be still, it disrupts the little peace in my life so barefoot I run this road in pursuit for the place my soul shall reside past the death of this body in hope that one day I shall recite my family tree informed by truth…
Writer: Lindokuhle Petunia Zwane
*Image courtesy of @missenocha