I remember seeing this place in my dream. From my angle, the tree was confined with boarders made from nineteen branches. The tree appeared so naked, malnourished and not fed. An interesting contrast of the trees in the opposite space. Black on white. One would assume it was two different seasons. Summer and winter. A huge difference between the two even though they were so close. Just like the contrast between Alexandra Township and Sandton suburb.

The barriers were so short but so confining. Giving the illusion that the tree is not surrounded by any barriers. You would think it’s free but it’s not free. These barriers reminded me of the barriers set around the black African child. As if almost set up for failure. Yet the inequality of the other side is not hidden. Wanting to create the impression that that’s how life should be. The tree standing tall in the corner as if trying to move in silence. The roots almost not visible. As if trying to protect itself.

The tree looked frail, naked and poverty-stricken. Like the many Africans left to poverty and hunger. Looking in the opposite direction, seeing the short trees with full leaves. Immediately reminding me of the politicians with big bellies. Sustaining themselves and their luxurious lifestyles on the food taken from the mouths of the hungry Africans. I felt like digging up a path from the lifeless tree to the nearest nourished tree. To prove that the roots of the nourished trees run from that of the lifeless tree. Greedy and selfish, taking all the nourishment leaving none for the rest.

What I admired about the naked tree. Was how tall it stood. Looking so strong and determined to strive regardless of the barriers set around it. Reaching for the moon and sky as that was the only route to its success. Revealing all the branches, all taking their own character. Spiraling out in different directions but still united at one point. The tree soaring high like a competition of survival. Some branches looking down as if looking down at branches used to create barriers.

The same drive we see in most African branches soaring high and determined to succeed through the hurdles set upon its way. Showing us the unity of the African bloodline. Rising up above limits set upon it. Giving it hope for freedom, equality and nourishment. The connection between the moon and the branches of the tree. Appearing as if it is breathing life and nourishment onto the tree. The moon looking old and in favor of the tree. Creating vivid imagery of the African ancestry, looking over their African child. Suddenly content and supportive of its success.

The small tress within the confined space. Having already given up to the dreams of ever succeeding. Just like the African children that have resorted to crime and the dangerous world. The dreams of ever becoming a lawyer to fight for injustice. Blown away with the wind. Like their qualifications at home that cannot get them the job. So rather they resort to something that looks easier, giving up. Already understanding that they are free but not free. The tall tree continues to grow tall.

Fighting through the cold winter sky that never rains to nourish it. But the land outside, strangely giving the tree hope and passion. Creating envy amongst the well fed and rich trees. Having everything but never satisfied and somehow not being able to grow tall. Regardless of everything it is equipped with. Like a Sandton house owner, envying the Alexandra double story shack owner.

As I wake up from my dream. Startled and confused. Wondering what all this means. It is only after deep thought I realize that I see myself in the character of the confined tree. Reaching for my dreams, breaking the chains tied around my mind to prevent my success. No matter what boundaries and hurdles are set around you and your life, breaking them and having the mentality to strive through it all is what gets you to succeed.


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