Durban can feel so foreign sometimes. I have been dreaming about going back home a lot these days. I miss my Gogo.
I imagine walking through the gate and the first thing I’d hear is her shouting at anything she sees wrong in the house, with the loud jazzy sounds of Hugh Masekela in the background, and the smell of freshly cut green grass, egcekeni, home. It’s true what they say: “Home has never been the walls but the people”.
I remember when I was younger, about seven or eight, she would yell, “Hambisa okwe-lady uziqhenye”. It only started making sense the more I grew. I remember she would take me wherever she went and show off her first granddaughter to everyone, not that I am complaining. I kinda loved the attention too from everyone, my favourite was hers. She always looked at me like she had never seen anything more precious.
She would make and sing music with me and made sure I was fed, more like overfed. How I wish to come back to Gogo Thandiwe’s soft, filling dombolo and beans, but that’s one wish even God can’t make true. I can’t come back to her shouting, her food nor the loud jazz music anymore.
Dad says years back she woke up one morning and started knitting in preparation for a baby girl. When he asked her, she replied, “Uyeza uSingathiwe.”
“But Mama, who is that?” my Dad would ask in curious confusion. Dad says that she would just smile and say, “She is my Singathiwe.”
A few weeks later my parents learnt they were pregnant and it was a girl.
Till today nothing flatters me more than realising she knew about my arrival before my parents even figured they had conceived. Most found it to be expected since she had a gift and was a sangoma, but to me it meant more.
I remember feeling lemon was sweeter compared to when the thief took her and we had no choice but to let go. I swear I felt robbed, why do I feel that way? Is it because they hid it from me till two days before they, well we, laid her to rest. Was it because I never got to say goodbye?
After the funeral and everyone was gone all that lingered was the scent of her. I swore if I threw that scent in a wishing well all the wishes in the world would come true.
Silver lining: though she is physically gone I know she is with me everywhere I go. She is my guardian angel. My grandma Thandi.