Last week we ran a piece by Keabetswe Magano about the dangers of Assimilation as opposed to Transformation. It has evoked some strong responses that we published in the comments block below her story. This story of the painful nature of change in South Africa reminded young Free State Journalist Linda Fekisi, part of our Mentorship Programme, of a letter she wrote to herself.

A letter to a part of me who may forget where she comes from…

Dear me, think like the Xhosa girl that you are
One who comes from the amagcina tribe, otyhopho, onokwindla, oxhamela
One who is able to speak more than six languages of her country
One who sang Suikerbossie during Volkspele
One who has attempted ukuxhentsa but failed due to a lack of rhythm
One who knows that her roots being planted in Africa is no mistake

Dear me, think like a girl who knows how to handle cows
One who remembers clearly that standing in front of them is not how to do it
Remember those involuntary lessons that your father gave you
When he was trying to get them into the kraal
Remember how that is your least favourite place in the entire yard
Not because of the unpleasant smell of the dung but
Because it just is

Dear me, think like a girl whose home is surrounded by mountains
Think of the beautiful blanket of snow that covers them in winter
Think like a girl who was granted with the opportunity to admire nature at her best
Think of the bright stars that you used to gaze at, remember the dreams they gave you
Before those stars disappeared when you moved to places surrounded by street lights
Something that people from the West brought as part of ‘development’

Dear me, you may forget all the above but please do not forget to think. Most importantly,
Think like an African in Africa