I peed myself on the very first day of school.

My lilttle champ is still 2 years away from that first day of school moment. So I will share my own first day of school:

I peed myself, on my new Khakhi short trouser.
It was a warm morning in January. The year was 1991.

Mamncan’ Tozi sheperded me and my sister Khanyo, to start our primary schooling at Lindumthetho HP, in the rural eMondlo kwaC, Northern KZN.

Maam’ Kunene was doing the registrations for Sub Standard A, ufestiye. (That’s grade 1 for the born frees) and she was our class teacher.

I remember that many kids were resistance to school that day, screaming and kicking and all. And me, I confess, ngazichamela. I peed myself, on my new Kakhi shorts.

I was beyond nervous. I was nervous because of many things: I had never crossed the ‘big road’ before. In fact, I had never been on the ‘big road’ on foot, the only time I’d get to see the ‘big road’ would be when I’m in a taxi with Gogo when she went to collect her pension money at ‘Eytolo kwa-A’.
The other experience that shocked me was seeing so many kids in one place, my previous ‘school’, which was also known as inkulisa (creche/pre-school) had been conducted inside a rondavel hut kwaKhumalo, with less than 20 kids and our ‘teacher’, whom we addressed as Miss Aunt’Thoko, was small and gentle, this Maa’m Kunene was huge and didn’t look ‘nice’ to me..

When Mamncane left us behind, Khanyo started crying. I wanted to cry too but I tried and held it. Gogo would always say ‘Indoda ayikhali’ (a man doesn’t cry).

In class, confused as hell, I felt some nice warmth from the front of my trouser, I was not sure what was happening. It soon dawned on me that I had just emptied my bladder. Kanti ibhlukwe lishisa kamnandi nje sengizichamele! I remember Maam’ Kunene hitting me with a strange, short stick that was made of hard plastic and had many numbers on it, which I later learnt it was called a ‘rula’
“Uzochama la eklasini lami?! Phuma uyokoma elangeni”. Shout Maa’m kunene.

My eyes were wet but I still didn’t cry, just slowly walked out, turned around the corner and leaned against the wall.
I stood in the hot sun for what felt like an hour. The sun caused an evaporation off my trouser, a sight I was enjoying, ‘Ibhlukwe elishunqa intuthu, that’s magic’!
After a little while I tapped my trouser with the back of my hand to feel if it had dried out. I decided it was dry and I took it off, put it on the grass, grabbed a piece of brick that was next to the water tank nearby, as if it waiting for me to use it. I then started ‘ironing’ my trouser using the piece of brick. I’d seen Gogo doing that after having washed and dried our clothes. Of course she’d use a real iron, I just had to make the best of whatever was available given the circumstances. While I was ‘ironing’ and humming Gogo’s favorite song ‘Ezulwini kulawula wena’, I heard loud voices from two women walking past the school,
“I know that voice!”. I thought to myself.
I looked up and indeed, one of the women was Mamncan’ Tozi. She was with Aunt Ntomb’thini. It didn’t look like they were coming to rescue me though. They were just walking past. But I was never going to miss the opportunity to ‘escape’. The school was not fenced so there was no gate. I looked around and upon making sure that the coast is clear, I grabbed my trouser, no time to put it on.. I started crying out loud. I screamed as I ran to Mamncane, with my trouser on my one hand, my ‘iron’ on the other. “Mama, mama”!

I didn’t survive the first day of school. But I am lucky enough, given the circumstances under which I grew up, to be among those who beat the 12 years that followed.

All the best to parents taking their kids to school for the very fist time today. May everything go smoothly and safely.

Bangazichameli odadoh.

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Threesome sex acts with a big muscle guy, while I sat there watching helplessly.

I once witnessed my partner and her best friend having threesome sex acts with a big muscle guy, while I sat there watching helplessly.

My 2017 new year’s resolutions included going for dance classes. Particularly modern dance. This resolution was the late entry on my list. It made it to the list on the last day of December 2016, when a tall, big muscle guy rubbed his dick on my partner’s ass. Bamufenda umuntu wami ngibhekile.

It was on new year’s eve, we were among the thousands of spectators at the 7th annual Last Dance Music Festival, which took place at uMhlathuze Sports Complex in Richards Bay, KZN. Black Coffee was on the desks dishing out his hit song ‘We Dance Again’. My partner and her friend excitedly took to the “floor” and danced up a storm.
My partner, though she doesn’t do it often, has impressive dance moves. A guy emerged from a group of people who sat not far from us and joined my partner and her friend. This gentleman had a long conversation with ground, in isiZulu we say ‘Ulishiyile igabade’. His height complemented his big muscled arms, he was wearing a white vest and red tight jeans. He danced with the same passion as my partner and her friend who is a beautiful yellowbone in her white short pants.
Soon enough, a croud of people had formed a semi-circle around the trio. It got heated. The croud was screaming, clapping and singing along. The trio would now and then form a straight line, my bae in front, Tough Guy in the middle and Yellowbone behind Tough Guy. The screams got louder when Tough Guy begun to rub his waist against my bae’s ass, while Yellowbone brushed his huge shoulders and wiggling her curveceous hips.
I was now also on my feet to get a better view. I watched with perplexity as the orgy got hotter. I started sweating and my glass of vodka was emptying rapidly. The boy from eMondlo kwa-C inside me wanted to jump and strangle these three, but the matured father inside me told me to chill. So, I put down my glass and calmly approached the circle of extavaganza.
As I got closer to the dancing trio, the cheerleaders changed their tune from “Ayoh yoh woh, awoh” (what ever it is that they were screaming) to “Bathathe mzimb’oqinile.”.
I soon realized that they were refering to me as a lame dancer, I gave bae a look that says; Cant you see that you are embarrasing us”?
She gave me a look that says; “And then, what seems to be a problem?”.
The song faded away and Black Coffee thanked the croud. We all went back to our seats and my partner sat on my lap, put her one arm around my neck and kissed my forehead. Her usually gesture to say; “Hey dude, relax”.

I am hopeless when it comes to dancing. And I have long accepted that part of me. However, I love watching people dance and now and then I’d attempt indlamu/ukusina (a Zulu traditional dance). Just this past weekend I attended a party in Centurion. As expected – a group of Zulu guys around the fire – we started chanting ingoma. Bayibhaxabula! I felt the burning desire to stand up and join the warriors. It did not end well. I woke up with a pink elbow the next morning.
Ndabezitha, who was hosting us, suggests that I have had to much to drink, which led to me falling when I tried to lift my leg in an attempt to ukusina. I still mantain that it was actually his friend Kini who pushed me.

Sadly, the year is already halfway through and there are many more other resolutions that I still have not excecuted.
But I have not given up. I can still do it. Singadlala òTough Guy bazodansa nabantu bethu sihlekwe yi-audience.

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Gululuva.

UGuluva, uMshovu, uMbokodo… all these names belonged to my uncle. The same uncle who cut my throat when I was a little boy…

So, I’m a little boy playing with sand on our grandmother’s yard eMondlo kwaC. I get excited when I see uncle Mbongeni approaching the gate. I stand up and wipe the sand off my hands using my khakhi shorts that I am wearing as I run towards him, he bends over to hug me and tells me to go wash my hands. He always say that and I’d run to the back of the house and wash my hands from the dirty water that stays inside a half-cut metal drum. After I have assured him that my hands are clean, he would give me some goddies from his bag, most of the time these would be loads of sweets and fohlo snaks, sometimes accompanied by a toy.
He orders me to sit down because he has some good stories to tell me. We sit on a wooden bench next to a chicken coop. He usually has good stories and he is a great story teller. That is why I wish he could stay with us. He stays at his father’s home ‘le kwaThwala ngasemgwaqeni’, that’s how we as kids give directions. ‘Ngaphaya komgwaqo, uma uya ngasestolo eZama’.
But he visits us frequently because he loves gogo and he is fond of uncle Mandla, with whom we stay. I like uncle Mandla but he never tell me stories, all he does is send me kwaGazide to buy him beer and bid me wash his All Star takkies. I still like him though, he is my gogo’s last born and gogo loves him. But I don’t like people who drink beer, I hate beer. I hate it when uncle Mandla drinks beer, because every time he drinks, he talks back at gogo, he cries and threatens to kill himself. It seems like beer makes him cry. I hate it when big people cry. Only small children should cry. Every time this happens, gogo would chase uncle Mandla with a stick and curse this thing called beer. Anyway, uncle Mbongeni is here and we having fun. He reads Igoda to me and that is my favorite book and he would dramatise it as he reads. There is always fun in his presence. That is why I don’t believe what I hear about him being a criminal. How can such a sweet, clean and smart guy be a criminal? They say he breaks into people’s homes and steal their things. When they mention his name they attach to it words like ‘robbery at gun point’.
“But me and my friend Papazi also play robbery and guns and police and all that, is that a crime”?, I’d ask gogo, who never respond to my questions.
“Awusiyeke ngoGuluva”, that’s all gogo would say.
‘Guluva’ is one the names I have heard people use when they are refering to uncle Mbongeni. Uncle Mandla’s friends call him ‘Mshovu’, one of them, uncle Bhekani, praises him as ‘Mbokodo’. I like Bhekani, his surname is Mthethwa and he addresses me as Nyambose. Gogo tells me I am Mthethwa even though I use her surname at school. She says I use her surname because my father have not come to pay ‘inhlawulo’. I dont know what ‘inhlawulo’ is and I dont care. I want to be called Nyambose, it just sounds nice. Miss Mthethwa at school calls me the same and she says she knows my father. She says she is friends with my aunts who are also teachers at other schools. She brags about how smart these Mthethwa people are and according to her, I too am smart. I don’t know if I am smart but if these Mthethwa people are such as Miss Mthethwa says they are, then I will have their surname. I am not worried about ugogo nenhlawulo yakhe

I don’t understand what is rape. But they make it sound really bad and apparently uncle Guluva rapes women. But I don’t believe what they say about him, to me he is a great guy and I like him. Sometimes uncle Mandla joins us on the bench and he talks ‘inombolo’, he explains that inombolo is the language of prison and maybe I should learn it, for me to survive in case one day I end up in prison.
“Landa mshana, uyofica òntanga begqoma phezu kwazintaba ezikhala ubisi”, he’d recite. Uncle Guluva tells him he should not talk such things in front of children. But I want to listen to this ‘inombolo’, it sounds poetic to me, we do poems at school and Miss Xulu, our isiZulu teacher, says I’m good at it because I’m one of the few kids who can recite “Lethwese ihlobo” off by heart…

There’s a van at our gate. Three men come out and walk straight to me; ‘Ya mfana, uphi umalume wakho?’. (Boy, where is your uncle?). I want to ask ‘which one’? but the words get lost on my shivering lips, so I just look at gogo who has just emerged from the garden carrying a bunch of spinach. ‘Sibonene gogo, sifuna uGuluva, uke wafika la?’. Its the other man, the one with what looks like a gun hanging on his hip, asking gogo if uncle Guluva has been here.
“Angazi bantwabami, ngiziphumela ensimini ningibona nje”, gogo tells the police that she doesn’t know, she’s been buzy in the garden. Through the cracks of the chicken coop’s wall, I see uncle Guluva’s face, he looks at me in a strange, scary way, with his finger on his lips, that’s what big people do when they signal us to shut up. Even with the sun rays through the cracks I can see him putting his index finger on his throat and slowly sliding it accross, signaling a cut. Sweet Jesus, Holly Mary and St Joseph, I have never been this scared in my life before. I feel the cut like he is actually doing it on my throat. I begin to cry out loud and run to hide under my grandmother’s skirt. Phew!

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Back!!

I have abandoned this baby of for a while. Life happened. I am back and promise to post frequently.

Next post will be available in the next few hours….

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I might change my name in the near future, damn, it’s flipping hard to make people happy!

I might even give my offspring English names. Yezwa manje.

One of the integral parts of the African culture is in name giving. Me and my people have a strong belief that when you name your child, the name must carry a significant meaning because there’s a high probability that the child will become his or her name and the name might influence his/her identity. Yadah yadah yadah. That’s how it comes that the boy named “Sgebengu” will grow up with the tendency of liking other people’s belongings and applying force to “repossess” them. This and other name phenomenon including Phakimpi being a violent child with a Commander of War propensity in high school.

My parents are, like most Africans in post-apartheid era where South Africans are free to show pride in their identity, very fond of this tradition and that resulted in me not possessing any English name, my parents named me Mthokozisi. Essentially, ukuthokozisa means ‘to make happy’. I was born to “make people happy”. Thanks, mom and dad, for putting such pressure on me. It’s so fucking impossible to make people happy. Human beings are hard to please. To paraphrase Nakanjani G Sibiya (Amalangabi): “Ungeze wasihlaba umxhwele isilwane esingumuntu”. (No, I’m not going to translate that for the Zulu language challenged dear reader, learn the language of your President!).

Sibiya had a point, trying to make human beings happy is like trying to persuade Mugabe, Hosni Mubarak and Mangusuthu Buthelezi into realizing that they are very old and should actually STEP DOWN. Yet my parents saw it necessary to appoint me the BOH (Bearer Of Happiness), and they even thanked me in advance for that. My second name is Siyabonga.

As much as I think that my parents gave me the name that puts enormous pressure on me, that is to make people happy, I’m still glad my name makes sense and it’s not an interpretation of some event that coincided  with my birth. To name a child after a horrific event is beyond showing unfairness to that child. Think of names like Domoyi, Tsunami, Democracy and Freedom. I’m writing Freedom and Tsunami in one sentence because it’s when we first got the illusion that we are free that most of all the twaddle started (a topic for another day).

Oh, Matlakala is a Sotho name and it means rubbish. Yezwa manje. Somebody please provide me with a logical explanation why would you name your child “Garbage”.  

There are more reasons why I think my name is a burden to me but nonetheless not bad at all:

1.     It’s not religious – Imagine if I was named Matthew, Gabriel, Jesus (very unlikely, I know), or John the Baptist, and yet grow up to be the beer guzzler I am today.

2.     I was not named after a famous individual such as a soccer star, a music diva, a great politician or a world known billionaire. I would be miserable my whole life trying to follow in the footsteps of someone like Bill Gates or Patrice Motsepe while being a starving artist whose goal in life is to publish books and takes writing articles such as this one as the “step” to achieving that goal, look up to and be mentored and influenced by writers such as Ndumiso Ngcobo, ‘players’ like Themba Miya.

3.      My name is very common. A unique name attracts unnecessary attention and it gives you illusions that you are “special”.

4.      My name does not have nick names associated with it. Names like Vusi – Mavura. Sipho – Msaypos or Cypho. Tebogo – Mrembula. Themba – Mthimbane (Hang out with the township dwellers to obtain knowledge of more names with nicknames attached to them). I wouldn’t want to be referred to as Bra PG by young boys in my neighbourhood when I’m 45. That’s my father’s nick name, by the way. It derives from Praise God. Yezwa nje.

5.       The name Mthokozisi is not a unisex name. It’s so embarrassing having to explain which sex you are and I would typically be affronted If I were to be presumed to be the other gender. My brother-in-law wannabe is called Zanele. The first time I heard of him, my younger sister had to put my mind at ease and explain to me that Zanele, her newly found lover, is actually a man and he’s “straight”. Phew!

Now having hurled insult at my parents for naming me the way they did and admitted that it’s not as worse as being named Gedley’hlekisa while I in fact lack the ability to convince the nation that exchanging bodily juices without a rubber and jump in the rain (or take a shower, whatever) is no danger to catching the virus, let me ask my question:

Let’s suppose you feel like your name does not identify who you are or who you have become, would you change it and be “disrespectful” to your parents? Will that be disappointing them as they gave you that particular name because they wished you become the name?

I know you want me to make up your mind for you by letting you in on what is my opinion on this. Well, you won’t be winning any prices for guessing that I think changing one’s name if it sucks is not a crisis.

I would change my name anytime if one day I woke up and decided I don’t like it anymore or the number of people I have hurt instead of making happy has gone up to equal the China population and if Dlamini Zuma would allow me that right. Would my parents be disappointed at this deed? Yes, but they would get over it eventually. I mean how many times have we failed our parents by not acting according to their wishes? My mom hoped for me to study Electrical Engineering and work for the coalmine. My dreams were different; I opted for a very challenging, very complex industry, that’s why I’m still writing articles for free today (hhay bo, somebody please pay me, beer is expensive these days!). Mom was disappointed but she got over it and decided to support me. How many people whom their parents wished for them to become lawyers, doctors, taxi drivers, but they decided to make their living by recording tunes that talk about their girlfriends who are attracted to DJs and call it music? And make thousands of bucks out of it and even win awards?

People get fucked up sometimes and somehow they get over it! I believe that everyone has a right to control the way they want to live their lives. “We do not choose our beginning, we do not choose our end, but in the moments between, we choose who we become” – Athol Furgad.

Before I’m being accused of being a culture abandoning, lost child, let me proclaim that I’m a traditional Zulu man with entrenched respect for my culture. Ok, let me rephrase that: I’m a modern, evolving traditional Zulu man who respects his culture but have my own preferred principles, values, beliefs and I just happen to be driven by logic. I like things to be explained to me in a clear, coherent manner. That is why my beer marinated brain is still trying to comprehend how, can a lazy, balls-scratching, intellectually impaired alcoholic also known as me, become rich by making a goat to unwillingly part with its soul and be feast to ancestors. How? And some of my views on culture are extremely dangerous, for e.g., I think when two people love each and decide to be miserably ever after, they should be given the blessings to do so without the two families having to complicate the whole thing by insisting on undergoing the ass- ripping process (also known as amalobolo negotiations). But that’s another topic for another day. Let’s go back to names, and that wraps up this long worded crap that is probably beginning to make you sleepy.

Let’s suppose you feel like your name does not identify who you are or who you have became, or your name  means Rubbish, or it’s a girly name and you are a ”straight guy”, would you change your name and be “disrespectful” to your parents? Would that be disappointing them as they gave you that particular name because they wished you become the name? Would you give your child an English name if you are not white or vice versa? Or a Sotho name if unguMzulu, or Xhosa name if you are Tswana because we live in a rainbow nation? How rainbowy are we when it comes to such issues?

Yezwa manje.

mtho.urban@yahoo.com

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From fermented hops dews that been long over dew..

I have always known that I was going to become a writer, published or not published. From an early age after I have discovered that I am a born artist, I made it a personal challenge to work on finding other modes of my artistic being and writing is one of them. Ok, before I bore you to death with my not so interesting history (I am working on an auto-biography for that), welcome to INJOBO.

As many young aspirant writers would tell you, I have written a lot in my life and under my bed is a resident for most of my work. Short stories from as long as high school years, essays, plays, scrips, poems, etc. All of that occupies more space in my wardrobe than my clothes do. I have done some freelance writing over the past years and even though most of the time I have been getting paid “peanuts” for it,  it has helped to sharpen my skills. But I still wanted that first book to be published. I have contacted your cousins’ cousins from the publishing houses and none of them were ever interested. Some have presented me with deals that  never resonate with my guts. (Read: a bunch of untrustworthy, greedy motherfuckers)

So after hundreds of on lines courses, writing workshops and meeting equally talented, young hopefuls, I have abandoned the notion that your cousin will ever publish my first book. (That’s not saying I am giving up, no, I will still be nagging them).

“Don’t wait for publishers to put your work on the shelves; you need to put your work out there for people to see”. Those were the words my mentor told me on our first meeting. He instilled in me the urge to write more and from then onwards I have been compelled to write everyday. “Limited opportunities and exploitation are some of the impediments young writers have to face, especially in Mzansi.” Said my mentor. “But before you start writing for money or fame, write for passion, for the love of your art, then everything else will be just a bonus”.  I have decided to open the cage and let the bird fly to tell the world about my work, I have done that by starting to write everyday and dust all my work that has been sitting under my bed and put it out there. I have seen the need to create my own platform. Hence INJOBO  was born.

Here I will doodle my thoughts, opinions on anything about everything. I am not going to limit myself to certain topics. Most of my posts will include topics on whatever issues that I feel strongly about. I will write about politics if that happens to move me, book reviews is one of my favourites. You might open this some day and find a poem. But mostly I will be telling stories. Stories about daily experiences, things I encounter on the streets, work environment, pubs (You might see a lot on this one), etc.  You will read this in English most of the time, but sometimes I just want to put out of my mind the language of George and scribble in Zulu, so sizobona nje.

This will be my play ground, my stage. Please be my participating audience and give feed back on whatever I write. Remember, I am still learning and I will never stop learning. “You must always see yourself as a child, that way you will never see yourself as great and you will always be open to learning new things, you will always be growing” – Hugh Masekela.

I call this my brewing house in which I will be brewing different kinds of alcohol, for you, my dear readers, to taste and give me your feedback.  Different kinds of alcohol works in different ways to different people. Some think beer tastes like hell and to others  wine is the most sophisticated form of beverage ever to be made, yadda yadda yawn. Ditto my writing, some of you will think I am a genius and even consider persuading your cousin to publish my first book. While some of your will laugh and suggest I find another hobby. I accept all kind  of feedback.

I hereby announce INJOBO  blog officially opened.  I would like to invite all of you to partake.  (“Injobo enhle ithungelwa ebandla” is the Zulu proverb originating from the hypothesis that if an individual has difficulty in resolving an issue or matter of whatever nature, such should be extended to a gathering usually then of men. Then opinions, comments, views, suggestions, approach even assistance can be gathered to resolve the matter.)

My first post will be available before the end of today so please call again soon.

“Yezwa manje!

mtho.urban@yahoo.com

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