Their papers are never in the state that the authorities want them. So they take them to prison. In prison they hang out with the really bad guys. The murderers, thieves and assaulters and the people who talk back to the white man. There is a man who has a really blackened name. He is in a prison that floats in water. You are not allowed to say his name. That Mandela man talked back to the white man. He is now in prison. With a very blackened name.
His papers just refuse to obey him.
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He tries to get them to stand to attention like good soldiers, but they have a mind of their own. Even the local preacher does get picked up for his wrong papers. So you see, if these papers can even defy the holy man of God, who is your father? You see! The scooter man comes.
You wonder what happened to her. He shakes his head at your moronic self and leaves. You repair to your favourite position next to the stove, where you settle for a slice of peanut buttered bread and a cup of umbhubhudlo , sugared water. When you hear a whisper, you shoot to your feet in alarm. You think the Heavens are checking on your scrumptious lunch. She must team up with Mshumbu, the local magician who puzzles and fascinates you. Like the other day when he performed a trick at your school.
In front of the children in the school hall, he produced an egg from his backside, not unlike a chicken. He said it was a boiled egg. Because you were sitting right up front, he beckoned you to come over. Hesitant and reluctant like, you got to your feet. A part of you was happy that the magician had noticed you; another part of you was wary.
To turn you into a monkey or something. But you got up, walked to the magician. He said touch the egg.
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You touched the egg. It felt like an egg. It was still warm.
Mshumbu encouraged you to eat the egg. Again, you hesitated. You looked at the other kids. They were looking at you enviously, swallowing their saliva endlessly. So you cracked the egg open.
You tore it into two pieces. Just to check if it had the yellow stuff inside. The yoke, as the teacher calls it.
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And yes, the egg had the yoke. Of course you know it is spelt Y-O-L-K. But you pronounce it yoke. You wonder why they put it in when they are going to make it silent. Grown-up people are strange. So you got two pieces of the egg in your hand. You could smell it. It smelled like a proper boiled egg. So you ate it. It tasted like a regular boiled egg!
If only you could get some salt. Yes, your mom the magician must team up with Mshumbu.
Together they can lay more boiled eggs. Can I borrow just a handful? They never buy their own salt because they know your mother is a salt mine, so generous she is. Of course, you never say these things. But hey, some lines need to be drawn. Your mother is never someone to draw the lines.
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Anyway, she always has extra salt. They will graduate to producing golden eggs as well. Now, that would be Superman cool. Anyway, two weeks later, the gate creaks open.
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Someone is coming through. Half naked, your mother comes rushing to the kitchen. You hear? Your mother smiles, and then disappears into her bedroom. The man knocks. You tell him to come in. He looks hungrily at the dining-room suite. He plonks his huge frame on one of the sofas and bounces on it, as if testing it for firmness. He looks at the pictures on the wall. Your mother told you some time ago that the white woman is called Queen Elizabeth. You once asked your mother why the woman called Queen Elizabeth was on your wall if she was not your relative.
But you were still young and silly when you asked that question. Now you know why Queen Elizabeth is there on the wall, smiling mysteriously at you. Your mother used to work for a white woman who used to love Queen Elizabeth. Next to Queen Elizabeth is the picture of Jesus Christ.
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