Home-makers – Dr Deena Padayachee

August 5, 2014 8:49 pm

They were home-makers, never home-wreckers,

The Ladies of my childhood.
They nurtured everything:
Children, flowers, gardens, homes,
Even errant husbands.

Ah, the Ladies!
Their benign wisdom ensured that everything blossomed,
They wasted nothing, they valued everybody.
Sari-clad Goddesses,
They understood our weaknesses,
They helped us overcome our silliness.
They loved us, no matter what.
They accepted us, wanted us, needed us,
Never undermined us, no matter what.

They sustained us, while everywhere,
Along with the respect,
We knew legal rejection, rudeness and racism.
Their elegance matched the dignity of their homes,
Homes which knew the impermanence inflicted upon them
By the Group Areas Act.

They never denied you sustenance,
Biryani, vedda, pavasso and roti,
We knew their love, their loyalty, their reliability,
their caring and their victuals.
They helped their families survive every torment, every hell.

They stood,
Resolute like the Drakensberg,
An anchor of hope against the evil, racist decrees
And terrible, legal, racist earthquakes which
shattered so many communities.

Ah our Ladies!
They did not desert us when we were being destroyed,
They did not flee with their children,
They stood, unbroken with us,
We helped each other survive.

Ah, our Ladies!
They were our Pride, our Honour and our Joy.
They knew, were proud of their heritage.
They were like stone to temptation.
Petite, they held the honour of their people
In the palms of their small, delicate hands,
And they filled us with great pride.

The racists could dishonour, humiliate, castrate, incarcerate,
Our fathers, our leaders, us.
They could steal our land,
They could make our little enterprises,
Us, illegal.

They could violate, burn, our lives,
But they could never steal the honour
Of our ladies.
They could never stop us loving,
Respecting each other.

Ah, our Ladies!
They would turn up their noses at being called ‘home executives’.
They executed nothing.
They were home-makers after all.

They might work away from the home to keep the home alive,
but they were home-makers still.
They loved, respected their people,
Their country, their cultures, their languages,
Their religions.

Ah, our Ladies!
Their smiles, their grace, their knowledge,
Their dignity, their respect, their hospitality,
Their values, their ethics, their very feminity
Nurtured us as we challenged the ‘ethics’ of a ‘civilised’ foe.
They were the blood in our hearts, the strength in our muscles,
The fibre in our spirits, the essence of our souls,
They were the very centre of our beings,

They were,
Are,
Ladies.
In a time of intimidation, intolerance, irrationality,
gangsterism, devastation, racism and barbarism,
They are still,
LADIES.

10 December 2008.

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