Sweet Honey Nights.
Sweet Honey Nights I spent many years Trying to understand my mother And I am sure she tried even harder To understand me--her youngest daughter We were so alike, and yet so different A powerful river of determination Ran in our blood When she wanted something Mama sure went for it I do the same! And I remember it was great When both of us wanted the same thing But when our wishes differed The storm, the heavy rain of tears, and the pain To this day I remember that well After she died I realised that My mind did not recall Any of the good times The pain and the tears filled my thoughts Soon I knew I had to go back Shake up the bones And try to find the other stories From the bones of memory The grass from her grave was swaying In the wind, whispering a quiet rhythm For a long time I stood and listened Lost to my immediate surroundings Caught up in a time when I was very young More playful and excitable than I am today And then I think I heard a jawbone move I felt my ear starting to itch And I think I heard these words: 'Sweet honey nights, sweet honey nights Winter times in the Eastern Cape Close your eyes, remember the smell And the taste of honey Sweet honey nights, sweet honey nights Smile a little, swallow once and the story is yours'
In her anthology Love Child, a combination of poems and narrative, Gcina Mhlophe shares her personal journey through the social and political landscapes of the 1980s, and her development as a writer, playwright and performer. For many years now she has been South Africa's favourite storyteller. In 'Sweet Honey Nights' remembers her mother bringing a bucket of honey from the forest to the warm thatch hut where she and her siblings were resting on sheepskin rugs after a delirious and filling supper. 'Wide eyed and full of anticipation we suddenly felt our stomachs making space for what was to come,' she writes, and while the winter wind howled outside, Gcina felt like she was in heaven, 'savouring our sweet honey night."
Gcina concludes this story saying that one needs to have sweet memories such as these in the difficult and violent times we are living in. "Working so much with young people as I do, I keep trying to add my own share of sweetness; little mouthfuls of honey, one spoon at a time.."
--Love Child, University of Natal Press, 2002
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2003|
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