#PoeticLicence: Positive change and healing my scared body

Author, award-winning poet and journalist Rabbie Serumula. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

Author, award-winning poet and journalist Rabbie Serumula. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

Published Dec 2, 2023


By Rabbie Serumula

I have been breathing pain and bleeding life on this platform for a good amount of years, and I am grateful for the impact and positive change and healing my scared body of work inspires and elicits from those who read it. It does the same for me.

I used to think my destiny was to become a teacher when I left The Saturday Star in November 2018, how I miss it.

But I have since learned time, and realise that I am more of a practitioner in the kind of scars only time can heal, and my practice shelves medicine cabinets of words.

Everyone of us bears emotional scabs, open wounds, or both. To those who read this, like you, I too keep getting better.

Outside of my very toxic relationship with tobacco, I keep getting better at breathing, and my tolerance of pain keeps increasing.

I have made my social media accounts public, and it made me realise there is enough healing for all of us. It is another kind of LOVE.

This is a tale of how I unknowingly traded unlimited bicycle rides for a cup of sugar.

I am not sure if this is a prequel or sequel to the edition I wrote on October 8 2023 titled; "People are forced to depend on the kindness of others just to meet their basic needs".

In that edition, as an idle boy growing up in Soweto in the 90's, left home alone, I went to borrow sugar from the neighbours.

There were only women in that house across the street, a mother and daughter, when I knocked on their door with an empty cup, hoping they would fill it with some sweetness. And they did.

But there also lived males in that house too. A father and a son.

And this week, my fragile heart was warmed by one of them, the son who was much older than me, when he reminded me that I used to lend my bicycle and he would be gone for ages. "One thing I made certain, was that it will be returned as borrowed, intact with no stories," he said.

Mind you, when Bhut' Madoda (that's who I remember him as, his Facebook name is different), shared this with me, I had no recollection of the story, nor him. And I apologised for that and told him that parts of my life are a blank slate of darkness where memories used to reside.

"To this day," he continued to humble me, "never would I ever experience any frustrations nor harsh words come out of your mouth, you're truly a king and I always said that you're going far."

It was his closing line that glistened my eyes with tears, things I never shed for my father when he passed. I needed to be strong as the head of my family, newly crowned by death.

"You're a good boy and I am sure Ntate Serumula is proud of you, young man".

Saturday Star