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 and my whole essence remembers to smile.