In April 2017, in Coligny a very young Matlhomola Jonas Mosweu, a grade 6 pupil, was found with a Broken neck at the hands of white farmers. His many crimes include being a black child who was drawn to adventure and sunflowers. Peace be upon him… And the many other children of the working class who are killed and become celebrities in death.
I grew up on the east Rand, early 90’s… Our older brothers and uncles were singing “Baas, don’t call me a kaffir… ” We sang along, not understanding the necessities of the not so musical proclamation, we were young.
During school holidays, various activities were lined up. Games drawn on asphalt kept up entertained as anxiety built up anticipating the ball could hit you next. The braver mischievous kids would steal a porno that belonged to their parents. A blue movie it was called then… And we’d gather and watch and squirm and giggle and pack the tape away and go find something else to do. On some days we’d play house, dividing labour, some finding old tins to use as pots. Others fixing us shelter… and each would raid their home cupboard for whatever ingredient to contribute to “igrowzari”. And we were kids. Some of the older fitter boys would cycle kilometers to “steal” a few maize cobs as their contribution.
There were plenty of white owned farms around us, in all directions… duduza and Heidelberg… All the way to Withok estates. Plenty of Corn… And sometimes, because of the folly of youth, a bicycle ride away… We’d go hunter gathering…. Miellies, Rabbits, crabs, Imbiba (bushmice), whatever we could find and compare back and have a feast. Because we were kids and this was our land. There were some of us who got caught… Gruesome stories of farmers Torturing kids In farm walk in fridges… A guy I knew had his teeth pulled out and he was fed hot corn… It could’ve been me and it could’ve been worse.
ARTWORK: The Boy
ARTIST: MTHABISI SIBANDA, friend and Colleague.