The Calabash, one of the archetypal African artefacts is widely used by the African diaspora. When it is cracked or broken it symbolizes chaos, misfortune and underlying troubles. Discovered in tatters on the floor, wails ensue in the home and across the community. This reference depicts the legacy left behind by Apartheid South Africa.

Sons and daughters of the African soil were lying in each other’s bloodbaths, dying like cattle and  were ghostly reflections of themselves. In frustration necklaced one another to rid themselves of sell-outs – i-mpimpi.

Illustration by Brian Seane

Illustration by Brian Seane

Through the crimes of apartheid we were spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically battered. The year 1993 marked the pinnacle of those tragedies, therefore the leaders of that era did what befitted those conditions.

Amidst all that, we had a father that desperately wanted his home to be what it should be. Mr Mandela wanted his home to heal, and he refused his own freedom for the freedom of his people.

The need for spiritual cleansing and neurological healing as a society is clear as day to me. Pioneer of Black Consciousness Stephen Bantu Biko did say after all “the most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” Therefore we cannot pretend to be a great work of history. We are disjointed stepchildren seeking a parent, trying also to identify what we have done right and what we did wrong.

In my opinion this tension between white and black sadly is inevitable. There is this gap in communication and understanding  amongst ourselves as a nation. The Truth and Reconciliation Committee only did half the work, it is now up to us to complete what they started. We are the misplaced pieces of the Broken Calabash. We will only find each other through dialogue.

It is of great urgency that we return back to the source of the cause of our problems,  and identify what exactly was taken from us in order to heal. Regenerate, reawaken and rebirth a new Africa post-apartheid. We can do this through the collaborative efforts of organic and conventional intellects. Mayibuye i-Africa!

Written by: Mogau Ntsoane

Illustration by: Brian Seane


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