The man, the cross and the shadow (1) Whose cross is that?

“You cannot be a hero without being a coward.” -Bernard Shaw

For many days I have been staring at the picture above and I must confess there is something haunting me about it. They say a problem shared is a problem solved (who said that anyway?) so I hope to share my haunt with you. Like I said, I will like to dwell on the man, his shadow and the cross though not necessarily in that order but then, how did we possibly get to having such a picture?

I surmise someone woke up with the intention of driving a message across. I surmise they wanted to be seen and heard, possibly. In view of the past occurrences I believe that the person sought a form of identity and possibly protection. That , in my view, came in the symbolic form of a cross. A brand new cross. A spanking new cross.

I believe the person , let us call him( I settle for him for all players in the image are male, which is a story for another day) the Bearer, is (or was?) a religious person who believed in the sanctity or at least the sacrilege or at least the defence ability of the cross.

The fact that the Bearer went out of his way to procure a cross for his intent is something we can write acres of pages about but let us fast forward to the picture. We have to dispense of the issues relating to where the Bearer lives , how he carried his cross to the picturing point etc and get to answering the question : Whose cross is that?

I respectfully submit that the cross does not belong to the shadow owner. The little I know about trajections and mensuration show that there is now way the shadow owner could have dropped (or placed?) the cross on the floor under his feet and strike the fleeing pose at the same time while avoiding what was pursuing him. So I know at least one person who the cross did not belong to and I choose to call him the Shadow Man.

I submit the owner of the cross is not in the picture but was definitely at some point somewhere around the photographing point. Maybe he was breathlessly watching the camera man at some hidden corner, but then that’s a maybe.

The Bearer would tell a tale about why he dropped the cross as I believe it was not his intention to place it on that ground. What cracks my head is why he let go of his shield and possibly his symbol of faith? Those in the know will tell us of the theory wherein one has to choose between options and I aver that whatever was facing the Bearer made him decide that his cross was optionally now a burden or was going to bring him troublesome attention that he was not wont to handle at that time and he chose to jettison it.

So, did the Bearer lose faith? Or courage? Or, did the cross let the Bearer down?

But then,I digress, whose cross is that?

My simple summation is that besides the people in the picture , the cross belongs to anyone of us not in the picture.

Is it your cross?

Could it be mine?

“Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.”                   ‭‭Luke‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭AMP‬‬                                                                                                                              

To be continued…….

A tribute to mamo’mdala Maria Zondo

We Africans have many mothers. Old mothers and young mothers and it will take an African like me to understand the whole symmetrics. 

In my mother’s family they were ten siblings and my mother was second last.

High up in the hierarchy as the fourth child was mamo’mdala Maria. Records say she was born on the 14th of September 1938 to Nhlanganiso Zondo and Jessie Manholo Sibanda. 

On Saturday 30th July 2016 around 0300hours mamo’mdala Maria breathed her last. She died. She was 88.

My ealiest memories in the early eighties hinge on that she owned the first American fridge in the whole clan and this novelty was worth a 15 kilometres trip to Pumula East from Luveve every Saturday by yours truly and his sidekick Zibusiso. 

Without fail every Saturday that we got there the fridge would be switched off and defrosted so that we could feast on the ice blocks like water melons !!!

Years later as she aged, she became the matriarch of my mother’s clan. We had a love hate relationship that always ended with her smiling in a manner that even reflected in her eyes. 

I remember that she christened me Ndabezinhle (good news) and that name never made it to my birth certificate. 

I remember when she fought me tooth and nail about a decision I had taken that she swore was wrong and she believed was going to haunt me. I thought she would never talk to me again, was I wrong…!!! Three months later I walked into her at my mother’s home and tensed recalling our fight and braced for another barrage of missiles. 

I was embarrassed.  No mention of the incident. No grumpy talk. She was her old self. Water under the bridge though she didn’t miss a chance to tell me that she still did not support my decision  but that didn’t change the fact that I was her child ( remember Africans and many mothers?)

Fast forward to her last two weeks. At my last visit to her I promised her a road runner (another African issue) and was supposed to bring it midday Saturday 30th July. And early that morning she left without the promised chicken.

As I remember her, I have this image of her mounting the last step to the Pearl Gates, stopping to catch her breath by stooping and holding her knees and then straightening a minute later to behold St Peter lowering his bifocals to his nose to verify if it was really mamo’mdala Maria.

I see him handing her an arrivals slip and a full roasted chicken with a message :

Mamo’mdala Maria. You forgot your takeaway meal in your haste to answer the Pearl gates bell. I fried it to your liking and didn’t include the feet and gizzard as per your preference. 

Happy journeying mamo’mdala. 

Ndabezinhle aka Nqobile 

I see her smiling in memory of the little boy she used to call fana (boy) who forty years later she was calling baba  (father).

May your soul rest in eternal peace mamo’mdala.