AFRICA: STORIES FROM HOME (Day 2)
COLD WATER BURNS
I have laughed at myself countless times when I think back to the days of my growing up and how I believed every little thing my grandmother told me. Every warning she gave me, though at times I was stubborn which always came with a beating. You are not an African child if superstitions didn’t play a part in your upbringing, it must have been a skill they did private classes for. I was told:
- Do not sing when you are bathing it causes bad luck. Are you laughing? Cause I am, all over again. What does singing as you bath have to do with anything pertaining to bad luck? I remember this one time my grandfather did this, he was scolded so hard I began to think it was real. A whole adult being scolded, who was I? I saw myself tripping and falling over a huge block of bad luck so yes, I stopped!
- Do not walk around wearing one shoe. For this the reason I was not given, and till today I have questions because a number of my beatings from grandma were because of this very thing right here. In my defence I would be looking for the other shoe, apparently it wasn’t a good enough reason. Imagine shoe shopping with her, draaaaaag! I mean sometimes wearing one shoe is enough to tell you it’s the one, not with my grandma.
- My grandma’s older sister was special; she was a sangoma of some sort. So there were rules to her surroundings and one we all, including grandma herself, had to remember was never to walk behind her. If she was seated you could not pass her back. If you did you had to go back and do the right thing. Walking behind her was said to bring a cloud of darkness over you, I tried this once without getting caught. I waited for the cloud, till today dololo!
- Darn, I forgot this one but I remember the consequence which was having a cloud of rain over your head to let the whole village know you had misbehaved. I never tried whatever this was for sure because the thought of being the only one getting rained on even in the house didn’t cut it for me. What level of the walk of shame would this be?
- I was not allowed to knit, yes I said knit because in her belief that was a sign of me walking into poverty. Let’s just pause for a moment, she was a designer and sewed up dope stuff for her time so …. Yeah I didn’t get it too. I tried to do it secretly then one day she caught me, she burnt my scarf, I watched it burn. And she said, ‘let that poverty burn with it.’ I can not can!
- I loved playing nhodo (I do not know what this game is called in English or if it has an English name. describing it is a challenge too so psshhhh). Grandmother, my beloved, said it was a game of deceit. The face you wearing, I wore it too! Just how? Poker, we get but nhodo? Ah gogo, I just don’t know.
With all these set on my life, I turned out to be a lover of fashion and studied for it for a while, came out top of the class. I am a singer who sings in the shower all the time, what is bad luck? Still haven’t had a cloud of rain or darkness over my head, thank God.
R.I.P GOGO GANDALA! I LOVE YOU.