Cultured dreams

Cultured dreams

                                By Sharon Maria Moemise

I've always wanted anything bigger than a cellular phone so I could continue my writings and save anything that I write. It just seem such a waste to have so much on ones mind and not being able to put it down in ink or to share with those who are curious to know about others. Well, it's just a thought.

But seriously now...being a last but one child in a family of nine brothers and sisters does not put me anywhere on the map. I sometimes have to wonder if my folks ever remembered that they had me. Honestly, while my parents were still alive and we all still lived at home, life just went on and one never questioned anything. Don't get me wrong, I'm not questioning anything, it's more like wondering about certain things. Have I ever felt a lack of attention? Has it ever really crossed my mind that I might not really belong anywhere? Come to think of it, many a times a did feel that way. I felt like a visitor. Almost as though I needed permission to be there, amongst my brothers and sisters. I am not trying to fault my parents in the way I used to feel, but almost 33 years ago, I felt that way and 33 years later I remember it. Why now?

I am a mother of a nineteen year old boy. I will do my utmost to never make him feel unwanted or wonder about his existence because he was a a child borne out of the utmost love. The love I felt for him the first day I suspected I was pregnant.  As a human being, I have always known that I'm someone's child, that I belonged somewhere, to someone, but to become confused about it now is quite scary.  
I've known my parents for as long as I could remember; then someone planted a seed of doubt in my mind and I fell for it.  Not only have I fallen for it, but I suddenly had some flashbacks about my life, growing up. I question everything and I once again get these awful dreams about my parents.  These dreams are really vivid, so graphic that i fear falling asleep nowadays. The latest dream I had, my parents' dead bodies, in their decomposed state, exposed for me to see. I recognized my mother's body but my dad was that of a young boy. I kept shouting that I've been given the wrong dad, and that the body should be returned, but I kept on dragging the bodies in a small wheelbarrow-Iike contraption till I reached a house where the numbers 8, 3and 6 could be seen.
A small child was sitting on the verandah, as though waiting for us, although looking very scared. I asked the child if their we're any elders around and the child said yes, they were waiting. The door opened and there was a very old couple sitting there looking so calm and the old lady just said  " it's time".
 I woke up.

Most often I hardly remember dreams, no matter how significant they may seem to be, but this one just seem to fester in my mind everyday, like its supposed to mean something.

In the past, the dreams I used to have were more cruel than this last one. I would dream that while visiting my parents' graves, I would walk straight to my mothers' grave and talk to her. Then I would make my way to my fathers grave and from a distance I would see his coffin on top of his grave, the whole top shifted open to expose his body and his face in advanced stage of decomposition.  His eyes would be staring at me in such a cold cruel manner as if I disturbed his slumber, then suddenly, he'd laugh at me, dripping flesh out of the coffin and demanding I pick it up and cover him. But every time I tried to do either, he would spill more rotten flesh on the ground or the coffin lid would not close. In these dreams, it was my father, but he would treat me with such cruelty that I would run from the graveyard, so scared, I would wake up from my dream, in tears.

Other dream I had of him was when I came from my moms grave and walked to his, it would literally move,  as though he didn't want me to find him. I would  walk around the graveyard for hours and if he eventually allows me to find him, it would be in an open grave, where I could see the coffin, slightly open with either his skeletal hand hanging out or those eyes staring at me. For months I dreaded going to sleep because I knew that every time I closed my eyes, I would have a cemetery dream.  The one time I dreamt that I visited the graveyard and was watching their graves from between trees. I could  see my mother's grave, but I could never see his, then I would turn to leave. But then I heard a bloodcurdling sound behind me. I'd turn around to see his coffin resting or balancing on his headstone, him sitting up and looking at me, then he gave a hollow sounding laugh and tip over the open coffin.
I still get goosebumps just remembering all those dreams, and the question in my mind is always the same...why?
In most African cultures, some would translate or explain a dream like that as a sign that my ancestors are unhappy with me or they want something from me. Others explain that when your dream of the dead laughing at you, it was never a good sign. The solution to such, would be to appease the ancestors by making a burnt offering and visiting their graves. The burnt offering would be in the form of a sheep, a goat, or a white chicken,which had to be slaughtered at sunset. The sheep had to be cooked in water and salt only and served up as breakfast to family and neighbors. No extra spices added. Relatives or friends who attend would be offered sorghum beer, snuff and or tobacco. These are used when attempting to address the ancestors or else they would not hear our requests or what we need for them to hear. In using the snuff, one has to have a good sneeze to ensure the ancestors actually hears one's requests. I've always had that fear of using snuff as it usually gave me such a headache, I'd feel like I'm carrying the weight of the world on my head. 
Well,I did all that. Believe it or not, the ugly dreams stopped. I believed in who I am and I pray to God that I will allow my son to grow into a young man who believes in God, himself and be proud of his culture.

Sharon Maria Moemise
Randfontein , South Africa


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My great grandfather was a Slave

My grandfather was a Native

My grandmother was a Bantu

My mother was a kaffir, Nigga, Negro

Names imposed by shackles

But an Afrakan I am

An identity my forefathers were deprived of


An identity I am now polluting with the fumes of cigarettes

In dope I am giving it another face

In ecstasy I am giving it a comical image

My drunken stupor gives it an unstable belonging

My borrowed accent contradicts what it represents

My imitated dress code conceals its beauty

My adopted religion undermines my intellectual prowess

My language deafens my ancestors

My values are valueless

My mind is discriminatory

It repels anything indigenous

Whilst absorbing all that is alien

None can identify with me

Even those I am emulating

Patriotism I reserve for my kind

I look down at my patriots

If I were xenophobic

I could have been my own victim

I pride myself in my slanted inferior education

An education promptly deleting my true history

Ignorance is my custom

I am dreaming dreams my forefathers cannot interpret

I am singing praise songs for my dying culture

I am branding a heritage

I cannot inherit

Knowledge of freedom is embedded in my subconscious

But suppressed by fear

Fear to develop my culture and identity

Fear to be rejected by the world

Fear to be different and still love myself

Yet with no identity I remain

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