I went to my hut
So I could cry alone
Because I didn’t want these tears of joy to be comforted
I wanted them to be felt in their essence
Ugly cry and all
My school did the unthinkable yesterday and surprised me with a welcoming ceremony that I will never forget. Up until that moment I simply felt like I was existing in my community but not exactly a community member. I would walk around and greet people at times and still get blank stares of confusion or chuckles at my broken siswati which was expected but a part of me was ready to be over the “New girl” in highschool phase and to be seen as just another girl in the community. Wishful thinking right considering my bright red toms and often colorful attire could be spotted from a mile away lol. Ill take that. But none the less my deputy head teacher has invited my top what he called a cultural event at school and said “Nosmilo you must come”. It will be a nice program for you to see swazi culture. Unbeknown to be I thought it was going to simply be that but it turned out to be so much more. I should of known something was up by the way the security guard quickly escorted me back to the entrance or the school as I made my way to the officer. From a far he yelled “Hamba Hamba” meaning go go and all I could say was “Lapha” meaning there? Mine? Over there? Me?
I had no idea what he was talking about. He said Nosmilo you must stay at the gate. It’s a surprise. And still I had no clue. I guess I just really wasn’t expecting anything. And then it hit me as im being paraded in by the schools majorettes that in actuality this so called cultural event was in fact a surprise welcoming ceremony for me. Yes lil ole me.
The Love was warm
The laughter wild and untamed
The smiles many
The rhythmic energy alive and well
I sat on the stage of the courtyard as my head teacher Mr. John said some of the most touching words to me. He said “You see African-American and what I want to emphasize is the African part. It means that you originate from Africa. You are one of us. Your home is here”. I felt my eyes water something serious and my voice cracked. All I could say was thank you and smile because man I was about to cry.
You see outside of this being my “DIY” year, more importantly its been my “Get real Year”. Not so much with people but more with myself. Getting real about the things that I want, my faith, learning more about myself. I want to know my origins. Like I’m African American but what does that mean for me? Where do my origins lie?
The ceremony only went up from there when the “umbholoho” group sang a wonderful song just for me. It goes
Welcome to Swaziland
I can’t quite remember the rest of the verse but it was beautifully accompanied with rhythmic footwork and various other dances. Mr. Mseni could sure get down for an old man if I must say so myself. The group was followed by rap and dance freestyles and a lovely poem entitled “Happiness” which a student dedicated to me.
For my school to have so much faith and confidence in me was astounding. I can’t help but feel motivated. With such great group of supportive people I can’t help but succeed.