Situated in the foothills of the Western Drakensburg, it has the coldest and hottest weather you could ever feel. With the smell of dust on rainy days, it has nurtured and kept life achievers. Very small but accommodative, the town I belong to, where my life is based. Matatiele, the reference point of all the Northern Transkei – this is my hood and my pride.
Sitting outside, basting in the sun during winter days, feeling and mesmerising on the cold winter that almost freezes the blood in you, sipping on the coffee that is now cold because you made it two minutes ago and you had to walk with it to the backyard.
This is the feeling everyone remembers when they are away from home. Watching the kids happily playing with no worries is the best feeling. It brings back memories of when you were little and life was revolved around a playground and the owner of the ball. This is the only worry we had growing up in the hood.
Now you think that you can’t really go play because you’re too old to be playing and the weather is too cold for you to move on from your favourite daily spot. In all honesty, your blood and body need some shaking as its winter and its cold, you really don’t want to freeze to death in the backyard.
Now the sun has set, you’ll hear Likho’s mom shouting “Enye nenye kumngxunya wayo!” meaning everyone must go home.
That was the line she was most known for, even by the elders. She was motherly and kind to everyone. We all loved her. You will see children running to their homes and saying goodbyes – the saddest part that breaks every kid is leaving their friends before they want to.
It becomes hard to stand up and to go to prepare izinto zokubasa. We all get excited to sit around imbawula as it makes the room warm, you’d swear its summer. You even start sweating if you still have your big winter jackets and coats on.
I stood up, called my younger brother Luzuko, so we could both go collect the wood from the kraal. We chopped them up, even though my brother was doing most of the chopping. He considered himself stronger than me and he preferred to do the hard stuff (something I call sibling love). We put the wood down and set up the fire. We were just standing there waiting for the fire flames to calm until there is sparkling coal.
My mother came out and shouted “Inoba nisahleli nangoku, ayikho into enikwazi ukuyenza ngaphandle kokuxelelwa!” meaning we were probably still sitting in the backyard waiting to be given instructions, because there is nothing we are able to do on our own. She always complained, in a funny and educative way, but we were used to it and we loved it because it made her unique.
You could see it in her pale face with a dazzling smile that she was happy with us – she was surprised by this act. I still feel the joy we had when we saw her happy. It’s an amazing feeling to make our parents happy and proud.