It gives me great pleasure to share with you my debut collaboration with internationally acclaimed cartoonist Nanda Soobben from Durban, South Africa in this month’s GloMag from Page 96, edited by Glory Sasikala from Chennai in India, where you can also read a short bio of the man himself!
Have you heard of Cato Manor?
We live here – Our roots anchored again on the periphery of Cato Manor
they said our kind dwelled here – The Nqondo clan in 1650 followed by
the Ntuli but we rented from Mr Moody – Worked some land and lived in
a corrugated iron palace grand but old George Cato sold this land to Indian
market gardeners, our new landlord fathers – Who could foresee foretold horrors?
At night the embers predict our future but we do not want to leave here.
Garden Boulevard – Narrow planted strips of fresh fruit also vegetables carefully
tended and groves of sweetly smelling avacado, mango and pawpaw resulted in Durban
city market awe but we never heard the crow’s warning caw – Our wealth was locked
in places of worship, founded schools as well as cultural and sporting institutions but we
came alive in a daily spicy jive creating authentic Durban curry, which would make you
run in a hurry – We foolishly agreed to become shack lords but political fat-cats created organic
cultural wars, exposing their human flaws closing neighbourly doors – We never saw the plants
Living on the Edge – Brown our mood scraping daily for soul food – Ukudla our daily
nourishment fearing permanent banishment – Tempers flaring dissidents gathering
emotions sweltering – White our prayers for peaceful negotiating – The sun still melts
our empty rusty chairs but no-one really cares we sometimes hear ubaba’s raucous laughter
as he consumed his secret recipe umqombothi then shout his incomprehensible banter
only a hot potjie of isobho would calm him down as he told eerie stories at sundown.
Grey Street massacre – Why oh why did Boi steal from that market stall? Yellow our
fears as we heard his punishment – Intoxicated frustrated misguided they reacted
violently – Our tears fell silently our pleas for sweet peace muted by festering anger
exploding, deleting, injuring – The scene too obscene to share in this imploding
cultural couldron scarring their humanity but what about the children?
Ghost Town – It came at dawn not a chance to warn – Regime maschines marched over
us that grey morn – Oh how we mourned, our roots once again scorched by the Apartheid
dragon warlords trying to bury old scores – But our eyes remember our tongues still form the
words our feet still dance to the rhythm – Only now they burn in fiery surrender whilst
the elders whisper – We lived here…
Copyright © Don Beukes 2016