My uncle Phineas once said during one of his rants-of-hate that all that land that
was now called the Free State was the land of Moshoeshoe, the greatest king he
said ever lived, and therefore it belonged to the Basotho people.
"They stole that land from us because it has diamonds under it, a worthless piece of
stone that can do nothing except glitter. Everything can glitter Lunkile, even a rock
glitters when left in the sun for too long," he'd say.
And then he'd look at me and smile a smile of satisfaction.
"They butchered us and stole our land for a worthless stone, but you know what?
The one thing they should have stolen, they didn't. We have water, if they were
smart they would have come for these lands. Let's see what happens to them when
we close our borders and seal our rivers, let's see them drink those diamonds,"
He would say that with so much pride on his face, as if it was something that
would happen soon, something he was looking forward to.
Sometimes I did not understand who my uncle really hated, the white people
whom he maintained had no right to breathe African oxygen or humans in general,
but I knew it was the Zulu people that he had a serious problem with.
The cab has stopped in front of my apartment building.
"I charge you double fare,"
I thought I had heard that wrong so I opened my eyes and sat up straight.
"Double fare for taking a nap here. I been waiting for you to wake up. Dreaming
and dreaming and talking strange languages here," he said, his hand open and
ready to scam me. His turban slightly loose due to the occasional scratching and
his long beard wiggling over his slightly exposed chest hair.
I had been bullied enough in foreign lands so I opened the door and stepped out of
the car. He followed me to the trunk and said: "I let you go free because you have
too much children, only because. You keep birthing and birthing because you want
child support, you want social services cheque. You never stop being slaves you
people, never. Me I have seven children but I work, no handouts,"
All these insults were hurled as he furiously offloaded my things out of his trunk,
straight to the pavement at my building door. I didn't say anything back, I would
have told him I was a foreigner far from home myself but he would have looked at
me like I was crazy. He would have judged me for being a spoilt brat who left
home because she could. The truth is we were there for completely different
reasons. He would have given anything to go back home, I could have gone home
anytime I wanted to. My reason was selfish.