SO THIS HAPPENED // MY NEW TITLE

Just call me award winning journalist! God imagine if I was that type of person! I don’t know how else to write about this without sounding arrogant, so I’m just going to tell the truth: last week I won an award for my body of work in the City Press, the columns I write about being a black woman in post Apartheid South Africa, the columns that have made their way onto this blog in the past.   I stopped writing them a few month ago because I needed a break to finish writing my doccie, plus there were budget issues at the paper, plus I was getting into a new relationship and feminist stokvel and and and, so the stars were aligned against my sharing my thoughts with the world for a while.  But in the midst of all of this, my editor at City Press, Charl Blignaut, submitted my columns for the category Columns and Editorial for the Standard Bank Sivukile Journalism Awards for 2015 and I kind of continued with my life.

I was very touched when Charl Blignaut submitted my work but in true insecure writer’s style (no more of this by the way, there’s too much work to do and I don’t have the luxury to be a troubled artist), didn’t place any expectant pressure on myself or the universe to win this. I was happy to be nominated. So last week the awards ceremony was held in Sandton. Before I left my place to collect my date Maria, I said to the silent ones, my ancestors, guys please come with me tonight, especially my dad cos this is the kind of thing he would have had front row seats to. So off we we went dressed phly like we do, we get to the venue and Maria and I occupy a 4 seater table, leaving 2 empty seats. I didn’t know anyone but Maria and she only knew two or three people, which is an anomaly because she’s McCloy. Maria went to the loo and as she disappeared, an older black man came to the table and asked, are these two seats taken? I said no (internally going but why here, why me, there are so many empty tables?) He and his partner sit down, he heavy and close and me trying to shift into a more comfortable distance.  He immediately starts shooting questions, what are you doing here? Where did you get this haircut? Who are you? Where are you from?

He didn’t have Shellington vibes but I felt a bit bombarded so I wasn’t open. He asked what my surname is and I told him. Then he goes, oh are you Mzingisi’s daughter, Chithibhunga’s daughter, Bukiwe’s daughter or the dark one’s daughter? I didn’t flinch because my family is known in the former Transkei. I respond, none of them, you’re missing one. Then he goes, oh then you must be K.S’s kid. He takes a long hard look at me and says “I knew your father very well! He loved me so much.  He had a lot of respect for me”, and proceeds to tell me stories about my dad and my entire extended family.  He asks where so and so is, whether so and so is still alive and we end up having a very solid and for the rest of the night, silent peace and knowledge between us.   I was so happy because I knew this was not just a coincidence.  Then he asked, so which one of his kids has taken your father’s gift? I say look around old man and he smiles a relieved smile. So when I was named as the winner in my category, not only did I have my dear friend Maria with me, I had an angel sent by my people right next to me. It was beautiful. And as all angels do, when I returned from the loo at the end of the ceremony, he was nowhere to be seen! He had disappeared.  Ndiyabulela Makhwane, Sigasa, Mwelase, Mlalase, Cikili, Ngwekazi, Madinganenkomo!  Our loved ones on the other side are always with us, they are here when you invite their spirits into your everyday! They appear when you need them! They never leave.

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Top pic: Sim Shabalala, the CEO of Standard Bank, myself and Paula Frey who was the head of Print and Digital Media panel of judges that voted for the winners. The bottom pic: Maria, me and my Godsent angel.

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