A car pulled up. We stood, and moved to the door. It stopped in the shade, the front doors opened and two women climbed out. I was nervous but felt like I knew what was happening. For a split second, I missed my sister but reminded myself that I was surrounded by family. I looked up into his face and wondered if he wanted someone there, someone other than my gogo, other than my mother. Someone from his family. Our eyes met for a nanosecond and then I blinked and the thought was gone.
My attention was drawn back to the road, a third door had been opened and closed. Thin brown legs, feet covered in silver pumps, a beautiful red, brown, purple and orange dress with delicate gold embroidery over the chest, and two little pink straps loosely hung over perfect chocolate shoulders. My eyes met her eyes.
For a moment I was her and she was me and we were looking at each other, both in wonder, both in admiration, both in surprise, solidarity, recognition. I looked at her and saw me, she looked at me and saw a possibility of what she could become.
Her eyes were strong and her posture soft. She was one of the most beautiful children that I had ever seen. I felt like I knew her life and I could see that she was calculating mine. I wanted to thank her for being there, for me, with me. I wanted to tell her that her presence there was everything and that she made me feel whole and at the same time made me feel very lonely. But Buhle is only 6years old, she sat on my Gogo’s chair playing with her brown baby doll called Sarah or sometimes Henry ( I think that is what her mom said ).
I had contacted Symi because we needed a marriage officer. I chose Symi because the internet told me that this was a company based near to where we lived. Having done our interview and booking at Paarl so as to avoid Cape Town mayhem, we had decided to just cut out Home Affairs altogether. We just wanted to get married, why did everything have to be so complicated?
I learned only a week ago that Symi was not, in fact, a white, Afrikaans, Klippies en kola drinking, weight lifting, Fish Hoek living, black person envying/hating man. Nope, Symi and her wife, Ava were very far from what we had originally thought we would have to deal with.
When Buhle walked through the door and into my Gogo’s open arms, I felt deep inside of myself that what I was heading into was supported by everything that I have come to recognise as true and important.
I believe in signs and feelings and dreams and visions. I have never for a moment doubted my link to my ancestors or my link to the earth. When something feels right it is right. Buhle and her mothers were everything that I needed to know and trust that this was right, truly right.
As bizarre as it might sound, I know that my white father is somewhere hanging out with my Tsonga ancestors, smoking, drinking and watching over my life choices. I believe this wholeheartedly. I have been worried, often about how my ancestors might feel about me being raised by white parents and then marrying a white man. I have also wondered often about how my ancestors might feel about me marrying a man with the knowledge that I will not and can not promise to be with only him.
Buhle’s appearance and the appearance of both of her mothers at the front door or my Gogo’s house wherein sat my now, husband, my beautiful mother and her mother, bearing witness and observing all of the qualities that I have come to trust in myself. This was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. This will be a day that I will treasure forever.