Many people I don’t know, and even my friends are terrified of my father. Some are frightened of him just because men are seen as the head of the family in the Xhosa tradition. He is strict and always has the final say, but deep down he is a caring man that I am grateful to have in my life. During weekdays I long for weekends to come to spend time with him, because it is soccer that reveals his soft spot. When we talk about soccer he is not the dignified man he usually is. On weekends we have to choose sides, his side, or my little brother’s side. They support different soccer teams. We have to choose between Amakhosi and Amabhakabhaka.’ As they call them. Those of us supporting the losing team have to dance to a traditional song (umbhaqanga). It’s then that we see which characteristics us siblings have inherited from our father or mother. My mother always says my father’s family knows nothing about dancing.
I treasure those moments on weekends that bring us closer as a family.
A new addition to the family came nine months ago, a little cousin. She is learning to talk and walk now, so we are teaching her all sorts of words, from her name , to saying ‘I love you’. One day, while we were having dinner, my little brother whispered to her. He told her to say, ‘Go Away’ when she didn’t want someone near her, or to do something. Minutes later my mother called out for help with the dishes and my little cousin shouted ‘Go Away’. My mom turned and saw our little cousin standing behind her. We all laughed. Her anger suddenly melted and she also laughed.
One of the sports admired by my family is rugby. At the beginning of the World Cup we were all excited about having to defend the Cup. The first match that South Africa played in the World Cup was on a Saturday. We all enjoyed watching it but nobody as much as my mother. If we dared to stand, or even walk, in front of the television she would yell at how South Africa could have scored a ‘try’ but because of us standing there it didn’t happen. She would also mix all these rugby words together so they didn’t make sense, and be so proud that she could use them.
‘My boss taught me well,’ she would say.
All those moments are special to me. The way my parents are when the world is not watching – or how they sometimes tend to act like we would when we are with our friends.
Life has a way of reminding me not to always take myself too seriously. Laughter is the most important medicine I can heal myself with.
I have learned in the face of many challenges to always appreciate the people who make life worth living.
FunDza is working to develop young South African writers and provide them with a platform to publish their work.