I Remember by Ntsieni Mathalise

I remember your smell.  You smelt like the red, African sand, planted near the field of rooibos leaves.


I remember your hair.  Your tight curls were packed perfectly into and glistening afro.


I remember your beard.  It was perfect.  The lines around your lips were so on-point and sharp 

that mawe couldn’t help kissing you.


I remember how you drank when the days were tough, dreary and listless.


I remember how you would wait for me at the bottom of the street, holding a bowl of grapes. 


 When the school bell rang, I’d run right down the street and you’d hand me them. It was a month we could afford them.


I remember when I was seven or eight, you’d let me sit on your lap and help you drive our little mazda 323.


I remember you not giving me a spanking because I threw a rock at some boy who called our family a Kaffir. 


I remember you’d always give us meals to die for.


I remember how you’d put five tablespoon of sugar in your tea. Each sip you took, you did sip it like a king.

I remember you watching the news–president Nelson Mandela had been released from jail and to be inaugurated in 1994.  The first black president.


I remember the night before going to vote.  

              Mawe made sure that I was scrubbed from head to toe.

              My skin smelt like cocoa butter.

              My hair was braided.

              I was on point.


I remember the long line we had to wait in to vote.  We took a cooler with us filled with food and drinks and a radio.  People of all creeds were treating it like a wedding celebration, only it was a cultural celebration.


I remember we left at 6am and returned home at 6pm.


I remember your smile



                        Your voice mattered.


I remember you saying, “Tshidi, my baby. You matter.”


I remember…


I remember and my whole essence remembers to smile.