7 – between memories

If we do not write,
we will forget
and be

[I’m reminded of my late maternal grandfather who would keep rectangles of cardboard torn from cigarette cartons in his pocket and use them to note down any thing of interest. He was a meticulous record-keeper, and each family member had their own file in the curious grey cabinet I’d spend hours scratching through as a child. Birth records, school results, newspaper clippings, First Aid certificates, letters; that’s how I met my mother’s brothers who had passed on before I was born.]

That word

The drive was atavistic.

Hunter-gatherer sensibilities trumped a millennium’s worth of progress as we engaged in a quiet war to secure, and deftly, the most well-vantaged space for our cars.

Parking lots bring out the moer in people.

And the ugly too.

We were all inching along; the tiresome stop-go-stop-go, mindless clutch control, memorising the grocery list by rote.

A woman in the oncoming lane had her indicators on to claim a spot where a family were busy packing up lots of groceries and what could have been a baby or its pram into the boot of their car.

The man behind her hooted.

She made spastic hand gestures towards her rear-view mirror.

The impatient man was either not versed in mad finger pokes or really didn’t consider her problems to be his.

He proceeded to somehow squeeze his bakkie into the gap between her car and the other parked ones.

This looked like it was going to blow all out. Best to move along now, I thought, nothing to see and all that.

Her window was wound down on the the drivers side and I heard her say it.

Quite clearly.

“Fucking k******.”

The shock stayed with me all the way to Pick N’ Pay and blog.

She could have called him an asshole or a fucker or a fucking asshole or some other more creatively-constructed epithet.

And he no doubt deserved some measure of profanity for forcing his vehicle past hers the way he did.

But she used that word. Why, that word?

Was she so angry at that man that she just reached inside and pulled out the most hateful thing she could think of?

Here’s what got me.

This was a young woman, somewhere in her 20’s. Probably around my age.

Hardly fed off of the boob of apartheid, right?

It isn’t that if she were older, it would be more easily computed. It’s just that I don’t want to accept that certain things are still being passed on.

Is my alarm just symptomatic of my naiveté?

What do you think?


Lately I’ve been thinking (oooh, I channeled some Henry Ate* there) that it won’t be such a bad thing if it happens that I never make it as a serious writer.

Yes, it’s been this dream; this full-on burning, for so long, that the acceptance of this possibility does feel a bit like cutting off a thumb.

Digitectomising (not a real word) aside, I will not stop writing. I just need a bit of space to figure out where I see myself ascending professionally. I’m hoping our time in Egypt will bear some revelation (Inshallah Ameen).

I’m rather rudderless right now. Stagnant qi and mosquito-brained.

The freedom that freelancing affords me, now seems to be the very thing that’s frazzling me. I’m a dabbler of note, a doyenne of nada.

I am loving the layout and typesetting gigs though, and am keen on upskilling that. I don’t quite know where the papercrafting is heading, but I have learnt that hobbies-turned-jobbies are not all about the glitz and glue-buzz.

Was it not reasonable for me to believe that by the time I reached this age, I would have had it all figured out?

*really lekker now-defunct South African band

Fascinating bit I hope I understood correctly from Arabic class: The words Binte (Daughter of) and Ibn (Son of) have at their root, the letters Baa and Noon. The arabic word transliterated as “Banaa” means “to build”, implying a notion that your progeny build you (and your legacy perhaps?).


This is daddy and I on a novelty photo badge we got at the Rand Show when I was five-years-old.
You can tell from my chewed-on smile that I wasn’t feeling particularly photogenic that day.
Today, I’m grateful my parents made me sit for this photo. It reminds me of all the things that link me to him; beyond personality, phenotypes and the fact that I love to wear hats just as much as he did.
Some Muslims have a tense relationship with photographs, especially those of their dead. I don’t.
daddy and me

My mum used to keep a songbook in High School. She’d listen to Springbok Radio and write down the lyrics of her favourite songs. I used to do something similar, except I had Google and printed out the words to stick into a plastic folder. Her method definitely had more romance to it. Her writing is also almost exactly the same today as it was when she was in Std 8 (She wasn’t sabotaged by keyboards). I didn’t inherit her legible penmanship.

mummy song book

These are my memories manifested; a badge and a notebook weighted with all the imagery and associations I osmositise into them. They’re just things though; easily lost or destroyed because of this tangibility. Short-lived signifiers. But their signified is tatooed straight onto DNA.

Note to self: stop wasting life playing Bubble Shooter.

(the post everyone has done/will do) Some year eh?

For sure.

For so many of us.

Newly-married people. N00b-Earthling-rearing people. Single people. Mingling people. Committed relationship people. Constructs-beyond-definition people.

Your 2008 was all about travel, epiphanies, discoveries, major milestones, messing-up, doh!-forehead-smack s, loves, losses, newness, learning, changing, life-getting, brain-using, creating, destroying, beginnings, endings, more opposites and juxtapositions etcetera etcetera.

And then there was, in no particular chronological order; burning foreigners, madness in Mumbai, load-shedding, horrible crimes and angry tears, bloodless coups and we get a new president and health minister, bail-outs, Zimbabwe had a mindfuck of an election(wait, there was an election?), they switched on the LHC and then it broke or something, the US got their audacity to hope, Somali pirates don’t say ‘Arrr’ apparently, Trevor’s getting married, will you COPE?, The Rand gets a drubbing, Bush ducked the now legend Size 10’s, Satan holidays in Gaza and civilians are incinerated in their beds, etcetera etcetera.

Some year eh?

I went and got married, and yeah, life tends to change just a tad when you do that.

Somewhere between fate and free-will, it happened. Beyond the febrile caricatures of what we thought it meant to love to the real deal of not being able to imagine a life without the grocery lists, the saturday morning errands, the socks on the floor, the waking up to your completion made manifest beside you; snoring and kicking your shins.

And it’s just so much to feel sometimes, yet it’s only just a scratch off of what is to come.

It’s fucking beautiful and I am so so so grateful to the Almighty for where I’m at.

Happy fat included.

Muharram Mubarak, Love and Prayers to all, especially the bereaved, the abused, the oppressed. Amandla.


It’s not that I
don’t want you.
Almighty Forbid.
May that not be taken for prayer.
It’s just that
I don’t want you
right just now.
If I were having
guests over for lunch,
would I tell them to come
at 10am?
They’d eat their fingers
while I chopped onions.
I want there to be
stories ready
for when you arrive.
Of how we went and got new
tongues in Damascus,
a rich world of words
that would be part of your inheritance,
Before we wrap and bundle you,
I want reams of my written to coddle you.
It’s not that I’m selfish,
but selfless.
I want there to be more of me
to give to you.
It’s not that I
don’t want you.
I even have a name
for you.
“One who guides”
But not right now.