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The Township Will And Testament

My father is a graduate of the University of Hard Knocks and he may not have left me with a long will and testament but he left me a rich legacy.

10/03/2017 04:54 SAST | Updated 10/03/2017 04:54 SAST
Londeka Thabethe

If township streets could talk they would speak of my father, die real jita van di plek, the main matwetwe, umaqhuzu, hard-core malambane, a humble ghetto king with a flow like Serote and wit like Sobukwe. My father lives in echoes of 'Dudu my darling' and 'Dudlu m'twana' on kasi street corners my father is umathandakishin' ne Chuck Taylor. On Friday nights he is West Nkosi and the Marabi bell 800 at Seipati's jazz oasis, he is slow sips of Mellowood and Klipdrift.

My father is Sunday afternoons with uDarlie at Nomsa's hair palace; he is the serene beauty in the curl of her perm, the sweet smell of her hair, he is dark and lovely, soft and free and 'bhut'ungam'shisi ubaby'. My father is the comfort of Ntate Thuso on Lesedi FM, he is the naughty in Joe Mafela's 'Thoko ujola nobani'.

My father is the pride in Mahlathini's raw, he is the wise whisper in Sbongile Khumalo and he lives in me, to many my father might have seemed like a small town hustler, a ghetto tsotsi, because he never wore a suite with smart Floursheim shoes. He never tucked in his shirt like a good little boy. My father never said 'yes, sir' or 'no, ma'am', he never polished his shoes or strapped on a waistcoat but he had impeccable work ethic.

My inheritance is my heritage, it is the courage in Mafokate's 'Don't call me Kaffir'. It is the wisdom in Mhlongo's 'khula, khula tshitshi lami'.

My father is a graduate of the University of Hard Knocks, where every man is on his own. My father didn't have a long will and testament but he left me a rich legacy. My inheritance is my heritage, it is the courage in Mafokate's 'Don't call me Kaffir'. It is the wisdom in Mhlongo's 'khula, khula tshitshi lami'. Mine is the lineage of Nkalakatha. It is the knowledge that sometimes 'is vokol is niks' and sometimes we go higher and higher.

My father was a Pantsula who gave birth to 'uSkapadiya'. A premium kasi gentleman. My privilege might be none existent but I know I am resilient. I know because I was raised in the days of blow by blow and Dingaan Thobela, when men had no choice but to go pound for pound using nothing but their God given strength. I was born back when Jerry Skhosana tore goalpost nests in the name of 'iBhakaniya'.

I am hardcore, I am 'yizo-yizo' the return, 'simunye' nanini 'Gaz'lam'. I am the sassy in 'Nomakanjani', I am love and care, and I am 'Sponky-ponky love. I am unapologetic, like Senyaka, ke chesa mpama. I am authentically African, ang'siyi fong Kong. I am loud, like 'iyho bangani iyho', I never adapt but I know how to adjust and I am irrepressible, like kwaito, from Mapaputsi to Mampintsha I keep on conquering.

I am a fire brand; I am a living revolution, in song and dance, in everyday living. They say heritage is a birthright passed down from generation to generation, that it is the catalyst of one's identity, the treasure of knowing yourself. They say where you live and who you're with is what makes you. Who you become is the product of the village that raised you. My heritage is black, it is unorthodox and it can never conform.