A girl that was given a magic stone

[This dream felt different, and uncommon in some way. It was unusual in that, most of what I saw had an intense deja vu feeling to it. Places looked familiar, some of the people I saw were people I know, people I currently live with and the ones that have transitioned. I also noticed that the setting looked very similar to where I was born eMbubu, in Sweetwaters eMgungundlovu. The dream it felt like a moment I was re-living, a song I’ve sung before]

It was almost at midnight, it felt as though the moon was watching us and over us. It was in winter, a fire right at the center of the kraal kept us warm but it also gave a unique kind of light. Its flames appeared like responses to our conversations, almost as though the fire itself had been listening and formed part of our conversation.

Throughout the day, we had listened to several teachers, poets, artists, musicians, dancers, poets and storytellers giving anecdotes, talking about what inspires them, what they’ve seen and the lives they’ve lived. They also, passionately, shared on their unique perspectives and approaches to life, some even demonstrated how their understanding of life informed their organic artistic outlooks.

I remember one poet sharing about her process, telling us how poetry helped her understand society and her place better. She continued to say that, it was through poetry that she understood the need to have a voice, and to then use that voice to bring about change. She spoke with great command and a particular rhythm. As she spoke, someone whispered in my ear that, as it was after midnight and part of the tradition was, a guest master artist would speak after her and offer a special blessing to one of the artists in the audience. And so it was time to listen really closely. We all set around the fire, listening attentively and all hoping we become the chosen ones.

Soon after a great talk from the poet, the master began to deliver his talk. As he started, a young girl with an extremely particular radiance, walked towards the kraal. For a moment we were all quiet, her presence was intense it filled in the entire space. She carried an unusual flute with her, and looked as though she had been accompanied by the stars. She did not look like any of us and I had also not seen her throughout during the entire programs. She had a remarkable grace.

It seemed as though the master too could not resist her charisma. As the girl walked inside the kraal, the master quickly asked, ‘who are you and how can I assist young lady?’. She responded, ‘my name is not important oh great one, I just want to be in your presence. I had traveled for many days so I could see you.’ Then she kept quiet, some older men standing behind started to mumble as they thought the young girl wasn’t as interesting as she appeared to be. Quite surprisingly, on the contrary, she didn’t look distracted by any of the comments and the ridiculing. She instead kept her eyes focused on the master.

The master then continued to speak and said, ‘I have no words of wisdom to give to you this morning but I think our ancestors have brought this young lady to us, from unknown lands, for a very special reason.’ He then said, ‘young lady since you also have no words, play us your flute.’

In no time the young girl began to play. As she was playing a huge cluster of bees appeared above us, then around master’s head. They danced for while, until they drop something on the master’s hand after which they disappeared.

Then the master said, ‘at times words are not necessary. The universe hears our intentions much deeper than what we could say or explain in words. And I say to you all, be an artist in all that you do and let it cut through in all that you are.’

‘Create a world you wish to live in and when you pick up your instrument, let it be a moment to allow your audience and all that is around you, an opportunity to enter your world. Play, dance, paint and sing gracefully.’

He then handed a magic stone to the young girl, and as he did two huge birds came and carried her to the stars. She left us all with a song.

I woke up singing

Iphupho 10082019

Nduduzo Makhathini

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