Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.
Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

#PoeticLicence: There is pain in learning, in growing, in being

By Rabbie Serumula Time of article published Sep 19, 2021

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Johannesburg - I grew up in an era where if you heard the old Generations theme song from another house, you were due a whooping at home. It was 8 pm and you were late, how did you not see the street lights come on two hours ago?.

Depending on your tolerance of said whooping, you will either run or carry on walking and take the beating as it comes.

I remember the first time I did the latter.

I had learned, from previous whoopings, that sometimes you may run, and get home winded trying to turn back time. Out of breath as you are, if a beating is destined for you, it shall be given to you.

It was on that day when I also learned to pick a struggle; I was already late and it is harder to absorb the lashes of a leather belt when your lungs are clumsy from a guilt run, and you keep failing to catch your breath. You keep catching and missing lashes. Dodging, ducking and weaving. These lashes keep missing and landing on your skin. Licking and scaring your skin. It was the era of “if you can’t hear with your ears, you will feel with your skin”.

I must have been 14 or 15-years-old the first time I carried on walking.

I was headed to my Greenvillage home, north of Protea Glen, in Soweto. I don’t recall the details of that specific escapade, but I remember the song that was playing. It was ‘One More Time’, by Daft Punk. I also associate my initial memory of this song with a clammy scent of soil when light rain dances on it. It was drizzling when I first heard it and the dusty township had a wonderful, earthy scent that permeated the air.

It was the era of street bashes, DJs in the township were Apollo; the Greek god of music and dance. How they would manipulate sounds that would shoot straight to our heartstrings and tug, they had mastered archery. We have always been multilingual, but the mother tongue to our souls was Kwaito. The teenage life was Yizo Yizo and we wished to grow to live like characters in the soapie Generations, in contrast to our own conditions.

I was no stranger to punishment, but this specific beating was different.

I could mask the pain by recalling the scent of dust rising while it was drizzling outside.

Thinking of how I connected the theme song, with the leather belt to my skin, is how I learned the law of causality. That every change in nature is produced by some cause.

I learned that there is pain in learning, in growing, in being.

There is PAIN because an equal amount of LOVE exists. There should be balance.

If there is any form of balance in your world, be grateful for the strength.

I had a conversation with God at my father’s grave this week, a holy trinity of sorts.

I said thank you.

The Saturday Star

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