There Is Always A Lot More Than Meets The Eye, Time Surely Will Tell
I am hardly a person who talks about myself, so much so that I believe that during the eight years of my stay in Canada, my newly formed community knows almost nothing about me. Retrospectively, I think this is a cultural orientation matter, as I don’t recollect anyone, especially the community elders, talk of their backgrounds. For example, I did not know most of my cousin’s maternal family’s side until the Covis-19 rules called for funeral attendee numbers to close family members. In essence, the new norms translate into reviewing who belongs to which family and the intimacy of funerals to prevent the spread of a global epidemic. A saying that is true for this case is this “nothing stays the same,” as my recent WhatsApp conversations with my mom have evolved to studying family trees. For mom, this talk responds to her hurt and guilt linked to missing the opportunity to moan with loved ones at such a dark historical existence. On the other hand, we both have a realization that we may never meet, or if we do, we both will have survived the worst case while leading completely different ways. Listen, homesickness does not accurately conceptualize my reality.
Let us agree that I am deeply Swazi, a person who lives with others without introducing myself. Luckily, this character is changing now. My name is Nombuso Makhubu, I am from the Kingdom of Swaziland recently changed to Eswatini. My dear mother is Ntombenhle Winifred Dhladhla-Makhubu, and she birthed six children, all girls, save for my brother Zakhele Makhubu. My mother was her mother’s only daughter, ironical, right? I have two lovely uncles named Musa and Douglas Dhladhla. These gents were very loving towards my family. Sadly, they all have transitioned to the next life. I take comfort in that they joined their mother. My grandmother was a nurse, a staunch Christian in the Methodist faith, and was very kind. My father, Prince Masalekhaya Makhubu, had nine children. He loved my mother dearly (bless his soul ). I was lucky to see his funeral in 2007, while I missed the burials of dear uncle Douglas and grand-ma and many close and not so close other community members to date.
Trying to describe where I grew up, Luyengo is equivalent to narrating Africa to people without African experience. Honestly, I have limited knowledge surrounding my birth: save for that, I was born on June sixth, on a summer’s day at the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital. In another classical Swaziland’s way, I don’t know who named this medical institution and why. Luyengo was also my father’s birthplace, and actually, this points to my society’s patriarchy, right? Mom can trace her family as far back as Kwazulu Natal, KZN, in The Republic of South Africa. Her family relocated to central Eswatini, Manzini region, and settled at Kabhudla constituency under the Magagula chieftaincy. Of both these places, Kabhudla holds the fondest memories.
Let me see, my idea of present-day Kabhudla includes Sundays spent at our local Methodist church, under the leadership of Umfundisi (clergyman) Khoza. Like clockworks, Khoza and his family would arrive at the church in their John Deer tracker and trailer, ferrying congregants along the way. The humility of this church group is like none other. I can say that I acquired Ubuntu (the concept that I am because we are) from living amongst Kabhudla people. Another fact about my maternal birthplace is that it was fairly underdeveloped compared to Luyengo that had tarred roads, the faculty of The University of Eswatini’s Agriculture and Home economics, a reputable high school, St Christopher’s High School, that I graduated from and a Research center too. Most homes had electricity and running water and were upper-middle class.
It can be said that with the best of both worlds, I became ready for greater challenges. Oh, I did not say that I obtained a law diploma from the University of Eswatini in Matsapha and worked as a paralegal in Manzini. I also worked at Coca-Cola Eswatini before relocating to Canada, and now this is where the plot thickens. After landing at the Montreal International Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, I conquered the French-speaking border service staff and headed to downtown Montreal. As recently as 2019 I traveled to meet with mom in Southern Ireland, Galway, and Dublin and relived the traumas linked to African migration. Let us say I will tell this tale another time.
I think the Formula One race I unknowingly stumbled upon in downtown Montreal portrayed an exaggerated Canada for me. By the next Monday: everything was back to normal, which made me realize that I lacked French language skills and needed to move to the nearest English city, Ottawa. Since that bus ride from Montreal in the pursuit of English: I have since graduated from Carleton University, now concluding a correspondence certificate through Queen’s University, Kingston. Of course, I am also a writer here, and in the process, I am building my portfolio.
With a sigh, I hung up my laundry. It didn’t look shabby at all, or did it? Jokes aside, I am blessed to be living where. This chapter of my life is not always easy, but with a rich southern African heritage: inclusive of spirituality and Christian faith, things can be tolerable.
I plan to tell more of my stories. Maybe it is a case of “it is hard to teach new tricks to an old dog.” Oops, I left out that I am a mother! To be continued.