Sibanda is the author of Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing and Football of Fools.
Ndaba Sibanda`s work is featured in The New Shoots Anthology, The Van Gogh Anthology edited by Catfish McDaris and Dr. Marc Pietrzykowski, Eternal Snow, A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma scheduled for publication in Spring/Summer 2017 by Nirala Press and Seeing Beyond the Surface Volume II.
A Loud and Long Lecture On The Art of It
There was a waiting line of 12 persons
in the clean but bustling public amenity,
that public facility found in the city of Joburg.
There I was at the Johannesburg Park Station,
marveling at the largest railway station in Africa.
I had just alighted from the bus with my brother.
I kept on rubbing my palms, rubbing my palms
as if I were excited or making a cultural gesture
yet in essence I was trying to generate some heat
as the chilly morning air sought to imprison my hands.
The drama that had us startled, began when a short man
with a heavy West African accent wired himself to the queue.
Whether it was a case of being too pressed or too boisterous
or restless by nature, the queue seemed to be too motionless for him.
The moment he entered the restroom, he started yelling at the people
who were already in the toilet cubicles, responding to the call of nature.
He did not only tell them that they were not the only souls who wanted to shit
but he lectured everyone on how to do that business with speed, precision and ease.
“Hey hey you little snails in there, I don’t care who you`re, just sit and shit.Whooo!
That`s all about shitting! Fools! There’s no much business! Me, I know how to shit fast”.
A Big Brotherly Handshake
Amazed, maybe is not the apt term
to describe how I felt that morning.
I was not well-oiled, but my head staggered,
no, it could not have been happening to me!
I was travelling home en route Johannesburg
when a young cop ordered me to stop right there!
Well, that was not a surprise by any measure,
I knew it was bound to happen one way or the other.
I obeyed and stopped forthwith and the officer woofed,
“Identification please! Produce your Identification card”.
I fished out my passport and he leafed through and invited others,
“Come over here, pals. This one’s big! He’s been to blah and blah.”
His colleagues came over, and shook hands with me, patting me on the back!
They wished me well with the rest of my journey, even calling me a good brother.
The level of admiration, amity and humility was simply too disarming to imagine.
Could those men be the same cops who used to demand a bribe after seeing me?
I was thunderstruck. There was no mention of money then, not that I had lots of it.
I reflected on the scene and saw well-fought battles and a humble victory over history.
A Reign Of Horror and Hysteria
Down memory lane, a few years back,
he used to dread the idea of going there;
if he had a way he would eschew visiting
or hanging around the Johannesburg Park Station area,
but then as an immigrant—Kithikule—had very little choice.
He neither had a car nor taxi fares to take him there safely--
not because chiefly he feared being pounced upon by robbers--
but he dreaded being ambushed and ‘ransacked’ by the police,
they were known to love the immigrants, especially the illegal ones--
not for a good reason---but to get them to grease their itchy palms.
It was in and around the Park Station area that Kithikule found himself
dragging his weary feet to—come weekend or month end or an emergency,
vehicles plying routes to his home country were found in great numbers there,
there too Kithikule had to play crazy hide- and--seek games with some cops;
there also robbers and thieves unleashed a real reign of terror and treachery.