He could have walked away,
For there were many a reason to do so;
But he never did;
He was there through the highs and lows.
I gave him many a reason
To walk away for good;
And yet he stayed beside me
While I was in his neighbourhood.
There were panic attacks, crying,
Semi madness, paranoia;
All the usual consequences of
Being assaulted a year earlier.
There were so many times
I expected him to be gone;
I warned him in fact that -
I’m not worthy – my people are gone!
There is no need to put up with me,
Its not good for your health;
I’m used to people disappearing,
I’ll deal with things myself.
For I am being punished,
It’s how its meant to be;
At least for those of us assaulted
....in the middle of the sea.
But of course he didnt understand,
He’s from a different culture;
He wasn’t afraid to hold my hand
And protect me from the torture.
He has probably never met anyone
As mad and unstable as me;
Coming to stay in Soweto
And feeling so totally free.
He saw my love of Soweto,
For the children, the people, and more;
He spent so much time exploring his home with me –
He’d learnt which combi to get door to door!
When I had to get to clinics,
Not just one, two, three, or four (!)
He spent two days right there with me
As we waited hours to reach the door.
He didnt have to do that,
He has work to do back home;
Yet even when I shouted at him –
He never left me alone.
Of course I apologised later,
Tried to help him understand;
That my brain does its own thing,
Yet he was still there to hold my hand.
He never once walked away,
And thats when it occurred to me;
What a complete cultural contrast
....to our “people of the sea”...
My “family” are now Sowetans,
Although i’ve known that for a while;
When the clinics registered me as an “African”
All I did was smile.
Of all the times I thought i’d given
A reason for him to abandon me,
There was one in particular –
Where he’d be fully justified to flee.
To protect yourself i’d understand,
You may need to walk away;
And yet he didnt – he put himself at risk
...to protect me, I have to say....
It’s not an easy place to live,
He could have walked away;
I’m forever grateful for his bravery
And that he didnt walk away.
For a place where for so long,
Segregation was the norm,
It has come such a very long way –
Since the day I was born.
My culture, mixed as it is
Has not suffered in this way;
Instead it shuns and alienates people
....if they “dont obey”....
Well done South Africa,
Though the problems you face are not gone;
You could teach a lot to “my people”..
..a culture that needs to be re- born.
Written on Mandela Day 2018; an account of the total contrast I found in a society so different to the one in which everyone I know...walked away.