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The Streets of Okuryangava

By:Hertha Ekandjo
Mid-day, 2 February 2021. My cousin Zama comes home with a plastic of half-bread and Drink-O-Pop. “Bra, kom eet,” (bra, come eat) he shouts in Afrikaans, a language he just learned from the dusty streets of Tagtag(80).
I quickly rush to the fridge, grab a bottle of water and fast, fast dilute the drink, a big smile on my face and deep down in my heart, thanking Good, “chos! At Least, Bra God you came through for us.”
Back to Okuryangava: where we sleep peacefully, while clearly knowing that a bullet can penetrate through the zinc that is right above your head and send you straight to the grave.
I still call it home though. Throughout the night all we hear is gunshots. “Keleleni!” Someone shouts. “Someone broke into my ghetto and stole my gas cylinder!”
Everyone is awake, all gathered outside, some with pangas, one with a spear, the other with a brick, all targeting the fugitive.
The ghetto: silver town we call it. A microwave during summer and a freezer during winter, but we are still breathing.
Dogs bark throughout the night, but we still make it to the next day.
“Hoezit, chimati?” Zama’s friend greets him. “Inamuteleka ano?” (Did you guys not cook?). Zama replies, “omwelelo kamuna kaa” which translates to “there’s no meat.
It has been a life of “survival of the fittest”. Lucky day, I went to my friend, Rauna, up the road to tell her nice stories just to distract her from thinking straight. Jackpot! She offers me free fat cake and fried fish. Ngula Nale. Tomorrow is here.

Hertha Ekandjo

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