River of Memories

She sat still and silent outside her hut, her face deeply lined and her hands calloused. Her eyes were closed as if she was lost in memories of a time long past; of people come and gone.

The first was of her childhood,  sitting on her grandfather’s lap, listening to the tales of the sly fox and of how snake tricked rabbit. She remembered laughing and playing  ‘doctor doctor’ with the other little girls. Her most fond memory, was one of her mother cradling her and rocking her to sleep, singing an old lullabye.

School was difficult for her at first; she was taught only in Afrikaans, a language she did not understand, everything was new and scary ( frightening). The teacher would use a ruler and hit her on her knuckles if she spoke out of turn. Many of her peers left school, because they could not cope.

The strikes were the hardest, masses of people protesting against the degradation which affected their lives, making them slaves instead of equals. The bodies were lying broken and bleeding in the streets, as peaceful  protests against the inhumane treatment had turned violent.

The humiliation and degradation that she felt each time her ‘pass’ was handed over. The belittling way she was looked at, because of a little thing such as her skin colour when inside her heart was the same as theirs. She was manhandled into submission, her cries of innocence ignored, blamed for theft and other misdeeds. Her voice .. locked away inside, helpless and begging to be set free .

The emancipation of Nelson Mandela  was the spark of hope for us all. He was their leader. He had fought for their rights when they had none, his freedom was their freedom. His hope was their hope. The people rejoiced and his praises were sung. A new day was dawning at last.

An ink mark on her thumbnail was the main reminder of the choice she had made. Her choice, with no one forcing her  to just accept the government. Finally, the day had come where the rightful leader would take his  place and the land would be free.

Her final memory was of her children and how they would live their lives to the fullest with her guidance and without. She opened her eyes for the final time , gazing upon the sunset. Then she slept , for an eternity of peace awaited her

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