because the Gregorian calendar has completed another round of its solar flight; and because we have just celebrated the birthday of the sun (that curious meeting of the dawn of Christ with the rebirth of Tammuz & co.); indeed, because the cycle of the seasons has been renewed and time may no longer be what time once was, I thought I may as well start to collect the memories of my life. to reconcile the record of my days and years. be reconciled, that is, to the moments that have constituted this breath that I have breathed on earth.
I was born. this is the foundation. I was; therefore, I thought. or, more accurately, I would begin to think as soon as my soul grew enough to operate my brain’s apparatus. in December of 1986, I dropped like a bomb from my mother’s womb into the violence that marked Apartheid’s death. during those days, South Africa was in the bloody throes of its own rebirth. the sham of legislated racism was burning to a close and, amidst its ashes, a nation with hopes of being a phoenix waited to rise.
it was a time of trauma. two states of emergency declared during that decade shrouded the country’s townships in smoke. the army were unleashed to enforce a vicious peace on die swart gevaar—those dangerous blacks whom the government had despised so much. the regime showered the ghettos with bullets. over twenty-thousand men, women and youths were arrested for the crime of having brown skin. these were carried off to detention centres without any legal recourse. many were brutalised there. many were never heard from again. untold numbers of wives and lovers and children were left bereft. not to say that everyone was innocent of wrong. it was a season of heroes and villains and victims in every camp. and while all of this took place, God – well aware of the chaos that scarred the land – was at work, preparing two of the great miracles of the twentieth century: the republic’s reconciliatory transition into democracy and Nelson Mandela. the dark tide was not going to stop Heaven’s High King from doing wonders. in the hour that the last waves of the tumultuous flood subsided, He would be there at the forefront to raise His rainbow over the land.
on the appointed day, I breached the waters and crossed over into time. absolutely elated, heaven partied. (as it does with every child born to woman.) I was a boy. Father God was pleased. closer to home, however, there may have been some disappointment in the air. I was not the desired girl. which would later translate into not being the desired suit. I was not the fruit that had been desired from the womb. I was wrong. but I was also right. so wrong. but so right in the eyes of Elohim. He had not made a mistake. He never does. exactly as He had planned, there I was. a poem sent forth from heaven to make a unique contribution to the fulfilment of His dreams.
and so, I began. completely oblivious to the events that shaped my world. but, then again, what newborn stops to take stock of their socio-political and familial environments when they first open their eyes? not me. I was not so gifted. but I was a gift. (as we all are.) and that was enough.
Kambani Ramano is a roving photographer and writer of biographies who finds himself caught up in the marvellous story of God, following Heaven’s High King wherever He leads. get in touch with Kambani to commission the telling of your own story; or, click here to read other stories and poems that he has written.