Standing Around the Fire

It was late at night, after their evening feast. The villagers, men and women stood around a large burning fire, as it was a cold winter night. They sung beautiful songs, in deep conversations they triggered memories of the past. As the drum played, some had gone in a trance, at times even burning their hands and feet as they felt no pain. The gods had entered the place, and the grace of the old spirits was upon them.

As they danced around the fire, a childlike figure appeared from the center. She spoke with a huge voice as though speaking through a body of primitive ancestor. Her voice echoed in the mountains, caves, forests and rivers. She spoke with uttermost command and clarity.

Though speaking in a language never heard before, from underneath their feet they all understood the meanings of her words. Her eyes had a light unseen before, and anyone that looked directly into her eyes was pulled into the fire and soon vanishing. When the audiences noticed that, they began to listened with their eye closed fearful of disappearing into space.

Some panicked to a point of even attempting to escape, but her presence and that of the gods had amplified, gravity anchored their feet so deep in the ground. At some point no one could even move.

She seemed to be completely uninterrupted by all that was happening. She just looked at them then continued to speak saying ‘I’m sent by your forefathers and mothers that now live in another world.’ Then she said ‘they have found large enough lands to accommodate you all.’ She took a pause, then said ‘they have attained freedoms as great as the skies and deep as the oceans.’

After this statement, many started to sob, they cried because, over the years, they had accepted having no land, having no freedom. Freedom had become too abstract an idea for some that they believed their freedom lived on the edges of slavery. Similar to their land, they had been pushed away to live on the edges, their center had been stolen. They had tuned in to a frequency of indigence.

Some did not want to hear about their past and ancestors. Even saying they did not want to encounter a future that carried any overtones of their past. They had disconnected from heritage, and their abandoned legacies.

Sensing their fears, she then said ‘I’m now leaving to go back home, those whom have sent me are soon coming. The underworlds will soon emerge on earth. All that was buried in the past, is the future that you await.’ Then she vanished

Iphupho

10112019

Nduduzo Makhathini

A Seeker

As though I am a visitor in my forefathers land

My rituals are strange, they are not understood

My forefathers’ gods are unknown to man, they are unknown to their granddaughters

My freedom only comes in the night, when everyone is asleep, when no one can see me

My customs have become midnight customs, that is also if I am fortunate enough not to be disrupted by those in government uniforms

||

Now in the very dark I speak to my gods

I dance with the gods

I remember that I am a mystical man, I live in two worlds

I refuse to disconnect with the ‘dead’

The so called dead visit me, they speak to me, they guide me and they are my light

||

I am a strange man and my technologies are scary to man

My drum is too loud a truth

I am a seeker

||

Inkondlo (02.11.2019)

Nduduzo Makhathini

Awaiting Another Borrowed Life

In a far away place, way beyond the stars, we arrived in a land where beings walked slightly high above the ground. A tribe so technologically advanced that they each possessed several bodies. That is to say, due to the large quantities of tasks and responsibilities each of them had, over the years, they had developed the art of multiplying their own selves. At a blink of an eye, these beings could project several other bodies similar to theirs whom became responsible for all kinds of work as they wish.

Perhaps the only limitation was that, each of the projected bodies operated from the mind of their creator, thereby restricting them from any kind of independence or freedom. At night these projected bodies did not sleep but were tasked with performing dreams of their masters (the beings that had created them). In that way all the dreams of the tribe were known through songs, dance and poetic recitations. As such, the tribe always understood and were made aware of the sentiments of their ancestors, their pasts in the same way they could also foresee their futures.

This ecosystem was functional and served the tribe in meaningful ways for many years until these projected bodies were tired of being slaves to the tribe and its dreams. They too wanted to live their own life, they were tired of the many hours of hard labor, they wanted to experience sleep, they wanted to have their own dreams.

For a long period there was great tension between the tribe and their projected bodies. These moments of disagreement got characterized by a serious war. They fought to death and they all perished. The projected beings turned into shadows living in a kind of exile state having no access and will to become ancestors. To this day, they await yet another chance for a borrowed life from the superior beings.

Iphupho (07102019)

Nduduzo Makhathini

The Lost Tribes of Wamadingho

She screamed with a deep voice. She screamed from the depths of her belly, right across the river. The river was full and no one could cross. Her voice echoed in the depths of the forest, in the caves, through the mountains, to the villages and right into the people’s consciousness. For many years, there had been a storm that never ended, and as no one could cross over, the tribe had split into two.

On the one side of the river, they spoke an ancient tongue left by the ancestors of their land. This tribe also searched their archives looking for their forefathers songs that could harness and quieten the storm. While on the other side, they developed new languages, and investing on new technologies that could perhaps assist to someday cross over to the lands where their umbilical chords were buried. After many years, the tribe built a ship that someday sunk the entire tribe.

I hope someday when the storms is over, all the tribes of Wamadingho (as told in another dream) will reunite in the underworlds, where the drum plays all day and night.

Umbono 15092019

Nduduzo Makhathini

There is a Space and Time for Everything

Standing here this morning, thinking about how an echo travels. I once dreamed of this idea ‘Letters from the Underworlds’ really around the notion of an ancestor and how, without a language (which I call code), we become confined in a kind of ‘exile’ away from a part of ourselves. From these thoughts, I then questioned our ‘Modes of Communication’ centered around ideas of rituals and how how they become a key hinge towards dissolving the ‘exile’ borders from either side. A deeper context of all of this is coming with the ‘release’ of the album.

So I know that you’ve been waiting for this record to come out… I’ve also been waiting, so the thing is, if we consider an African cosmology as a point of departure for our work, or as even a frame, then we have to also acknowledge its totality and the need for a kind of synchronicity between our world and the underworlds (ancestry realms).

With this in mind, I just want to tell you that the initial echo of the ‘Letters from the Underworlds’ has reached this side of the globe in a huge way.

Yesterday I attended a meeting, and all I can say at this time is I HAVE A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE regarding the release of Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds. I will perhaps share the news towards end of October, then from there the ancestors will grant us a date for the feast!!!

Reflections

Thokoza

11092019

Nduduzo Makhathini

Shadows of the Divine

There once was a man whom had fallen asleep. After a long period of sleep, he woke in another planet. He knew that he had never been here before, neither his ancestors had spoken of such existence. The land was flat, there were no mountains or hills, there were no trees. It was a space of nothingness.

He looked around and all he saw were very tall, moving shadows of men and women. Shadows of beings that had transitioned into spirit dimensions. These beings had transcended life inside a body, they had become spirit and only their souls lived. They lived through the light and the shadows represented projections of their shared pasts.

Through movements of their shadows they told tales of their collective memories. Memories of the lives they once lived in a physical realm. Their past was a dance, a dance of yesterday.

The man continued to watch in total amazement. And though another part of his being was still puzzled by such joy situated in intangibility, he soon became hypnotized.

Then his own body disappeared too and his soul smiled at the dance of his own shadow.

01092019

Nduduzo Makhathini

Imvula: A Vision in Three Parts

[It is after a heavy rain. A big flood had destroyed their homes. Through ancient wisdom, they had all climbed up the trees during the flood.]

Meditation|

A huge crowd stood by the river banks. A tall man in his old age carrying a particular type of stick, stood right in front much closer to the water. He was the eldest in the village, and over the years he had lost his eye sight. Though he was blind, he was still trusted deeply by fellow villagers. He had developed the highest level of hearing, they say he could hear the voices of the gods from far away worlds. Through the floods, he was given a task by the gods to take the tribe to their new home. They all followed him, he led in faith.

Meditation|

I also saw a second vision. There were beings that lived underneath water. Some were people that had ‘died’ in other worlds. Some had disappeared from their families many years ago and could never be found. Back in the villages, others told tales that they had been swallowed by gigantic creatures that lived in deep waters. The underwater community told different stories about how they had come to this world. Some said they heard a song from the river and followed until they reached their ancestors in the underworlds. While some say they were born and had always lived in both worlds and between.

I also learned that, some of these beings could live both on land and in water, as old ancestors they could even fly.

Meditation|

Then I saw a third vision. An elderly mother appeared from the top of a mountain, she spoke in a deep voice. She was the rain goddess. Behind her stood a tribe, all dressed in white, they chanted a river song.

Meditation|

I then saw the initial vision, the old man danced to the rhythm of the mountain tribe. He had moved into a trance. So far away, he was the only one that could hear the voice of the rain goddess, he had their song. As the mountain tribe finished chanting, he jumped into the river and all villagers followed. They all disappeared and their story was never to be told.

Umbono 15082019

Nduduzo Makhathini