Julie Nxadi

Puleng - indlela ibuzwa kwabaphambili co

Puleng Mongale, Indlela ibuzwa kwaba phambili, 2020

Courtesy of the artist

lithini ilizwi, Bani?


To love.

To love Ida.

To submit to a kind of never ever knowing. To be well fed on her elixir - her wisdom - that finding peace is to see love in labour and not in love’s requite. To be fed enough on giving that you may ignore the pangs for receiving. A wisdom that is bitter on the tongue of the child and then ferments and sweetens in the cheeks of the adult.

To love.

To love, Ida.

To be taught in doing. In jaw clenching and whip cracking. In forgetting.

In never forgetting.

In never forgetting, Ida grew stern. To live she needed to forget: Her mother and the plot where she lay. Forget her father but remember his name. Forget her husband and the children they lost. Forget the ghetto and the quiet it cost. Remember to forget when the flashes were vivid. Forget to remember when her children’s questions were explicit. Remember Ephesians 6:1-4 . Remember Act No 19 of 1954. For the grace of God would reward her sweetly in a life far away from this wretched earth. And her faith would be her currency there. Her faith would be her worth.

Her faith would be her worth.

Her faith would be her worth.

She had nothing in this world to give.

Her faith would be her worth.

Her children had to learn to fly to prove their faith from birth.

And she’d ride their wings to heaven’s gates where her faith would be her worth.

For God so loved the world He did He did He did He did. He whispered in her husband’s ear each night He did He did. And all their children were anointed, God did that He did. No more little coffins, blessed their little hearts, He did.

Oh Ida. Oh heaven’s gate. Tomorrow wails, “Oh! Yesterday”

Oh mother. Oh daughter’s dream.

Oh God’s deaf ears

Oh servant’s scream.

For She so loved the earth She did She did She did She did.

She surrendered her flesh to the dirt She did She did

She did.

Oh Ida. Oh let them mourn.

Oh sweet transcendence fire born.

Bare sacred hands with calloused tips that dig through ground to find the gift

And once it’s found will not relent

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?