The unity

Bulelwa Basse

Bulelwa Basse – Citizen of the World, Child of the Community

As a child of the community, I’m blessed to have the honour of being called to uphold events of significance, events which mark milestones of coming of age, celebration of life and the remembrance of where we come from.

Born in Soweto, raised in kwaLanga and eGugulethu Townships – I am comfortably claimed by all these origins of home – no matter how far in the world I may travel.

And Saturday 30 April 2022 was an opportunity for me to extend my gift of word [Intwaso Yelizwi], at a young lady’s 21st Birthday, Sinazo Kwatsha – daughter of Noxolo Kwatsha from Langa Township.

A beautiful intimate affair of family, friends and close members of the community coming together to celebrate a young woman, who has done her loved ones proud, by following a journey of education in construction studies at UWC, from where her mother is also a graduate.

It was easy for me to narrate to the intergenerational guests gathered at Langa High School Hall, the importance of education, since it had already been fostered among the young voices that were present on the day, and who spoke warm-heartedly to Sinazo, as they offered peer-to-peer words of wisdom.

Imbeko, iintloni, isazela were values extended by elders, in particular, umam’ uNyembenya – the paternal grandmother to the birthday girl. And so, it is this level of respect and consciousness which has guided this young woman’s life to the point of communal celebration.

The event was blessed by Apostle Andrew and Noxolo Slatsha – a member of the Langa community and friend to Noxolo Kwatsha.

The kitchen was led by Maureen Hoho – who, together with her team, cooked up a storm to the delight of the guests: She fed us until we could not get up from our seats to return home…

A gift she inherited from her mother – uMampondo Hoho – the woman who raised me as the apple of her eye – among her own tribe of children, and in whose arms and bosom I hung every second of the day. Today, I am still untouchable, because of her love – even beyond the grave.

These are the people from whom I come.

I would also like to acknowledge the young people who did the décor with a spirit of servitude: Nasiphi, Zimkhitha, Sibu and Zikhona. These are the kind of friends every young person should aspire to have.

The Vithi family, who represent the paternal family, couldn’t have said it better when they said we had merely come to celebrate, rather than “ukuyala”, since uSinazo already espouses the qualities of a wise young woman.

And the Bam family – who played a parental role in Sinazo’s life, reminded her of how cute she was as a toddler. (These are the memories we need to hear of, to recall how loved we are).

Athi Malamba brought humour to the occasion, reminding the birthday girl how she used to carry a straight face, with very few words, holding a colouring book at hand – all signs of how serious she would later become in pursuit of her education.

I enjoyed seeing faces of people I have grown up with and among, who reminded me of how loved I am, how chubby, hot-mouthed and hilarious I was as a child – who commanded the love of a community with her tears, tantrums, and tell-tales of who said what and how. (This is where and how my journey of story-telling began).

To Sinazo Kwatsha: My wish for you is to continue to embark on a journey of self-empowerment, so that you may in turn pay it forward to the rest of your community.