Tuesday, July 23, 2013


My daughter, Imani, has been spending her holidays with her grandmother and cousins. The school break is rather long so it was only fair that she takes a break from me and her nanny to spend time with her relatives.

So the house, is too quiet, too cold, and too adult.

I call her ever so often to hear how she's keeping, but this morning she broke my heart.

I asked her about when she wants to come back home, and in her sweet voice, she says' I want to come back when you will have more time to spend with me at home" she went on to say " when are you taking leave? will they let you come home early in the evenings?'

She spends weekdays with me and most weekends (Sunday) with her dad, so we have Saturday to be together, and that's hardly anything. Is there another way to strike a balance?

After we ended the conversation I sat in my car and re-played it, over and over again.

I am a working mum, a single one at that, like many other women out there, but due to my working hours, I am hardly home in time for dinner. I have late mornings and manage to do the school drive,( a pretty short drive at that) but increasingly,I hear the words 'when you have time' more and more from my 7 year old girl.

I'd want to be home to make dinner every night (and she loves my food, especially helping me prepare it) i'd love to do Bicycle rides with her, have movie nights, or go out for weekly dinner like we used to when I had an 8-5 job.

Right now, I feel guilty, and a little confused because I love my job and wouldn't really want to quit, but for the first time in years, I am between the proverbial rock and hard place.

Is it really worth it?

Any mother's out there going through the same?

What would you do?

Thursday, July 18, 2013


“Bring back Nelson Mandela, Bring him back home to Soweto, I want to see him walking down the streets of South Africa…”

As a young girl watching Sarafina for the first time, I thought that white people were the devils children, and Mandela was Jesus.

I sobbed as the family gathered around a relative’s living room watching a VHS copy of the movie that ran on Broadway in 1988.

That was our baptism into the realities of South Africa’s apartheid regime.

I wanted to be Sarafina, most girls my age did, and I remember wondering if I could convince my parents to change my name to Sarafina. She was bold, she was beautiful, she was loved, and in many ways brought to our little hearts the wretchedness that was South Africa’s black , white and colored’s policy.

And then Mandela became my addiction, I wanted to know everything about him. Lucky for me, my father collected books, magazines and newspapers. An avid historian, I remember the countless times he told me stories about Mandela and his role in the struggle for South Africa’s freedom. In retrospect that shaped my desire to do law, and perhaps be an activist, because that was the stuff that activists are made of.

For a young girl my age, who was a good student, always among the top 3, always a school prefect, I began to wonder what Mandela was like as a child, was he naughty and stubborn, or calm and proper, like I was?

I paid attention in my GHC class and I remember “Umkhonto we sizwe” and when mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. I remember listening to Miriam Makeba

I found out about his hard to pronounce “Rohlihlalha’ name. I always thought Winnie was his first (and last) wife, until my dad told me about Evelyn Ntoko, she was a nurse who married Mandela but got divorced for a number of reasons, among them was that she was Jehova’s Witness.

I was in awe of Winnie Madikizela, the viciously courageous woman. I had mixed feelings about her, some of which touched on a bit of envy. In my curiosity I also got introduced to the voice of Miriam makeba, of the ‘Pata Pata’ fame and fondly then known as ‘Mama Africa’ she easily became one of my unforgettable heroes.

Years later when I first went to South Africa, as we drove through the streets, it felt like a trip back into history. My host made sure I did that famous Soweto tour, where I also visited the apartheid Museum, I cried as we were guided through Mandela’s old home each room reminding me of the stories that I had heard about Madiba, and I was recreating scenes in my mind, my heart ached.

My curiosity about the drive behind his passion quickened and continues to puzzle me, I wondered how a man can give up the prime years of his youth, but for a country and its people, imprisoned on an island for 28 years. And still pressed on for freedom.

The lessons I learned about passion, brevity and a will to do the right thing still ring true until today for me.

Tata, Africa has not seen another like you, but we pray and hope that another legend (s) has been born, and will attempt to fill the rather humongous shoes you wear today.

You are Africa’s joy and pride, and inside my heart, the little girl in me swells with pride as the world celebrates your 95th Birthday.

I love you, even though you will never really know.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Necessary Distractions

Necessary Distractions....

The danger of a single voice begins to stalk me

But, Will I find stillness within distraction

Did I, blindly crush and instead create destruction?

Dare I stay blind when truth is deep and in a single voice, unknown ?

I see you, but inside dark shadows house your heart

I feel you, outside a brave face inside a bewildered soul

I hear you, loud and laughing but whimpering inside

I touch you, burning with fire but burnt out and ashy inside

Dare you stay blind when truth is deep, and perhaps known?

Necessary Distractions in the eye of the storm

Stillness and quiet

Is perhaps what that loud whistle calls

Until you read the writing on the walls of your heart,

And I mine

Perhaps a fluttering butterfly was all I was

On a journey that shouldn't end at your door

Listen to your truth first

And I will follow, away or towards

But perhaps you shouldn't close that first book so fast.