Poet Laureate Consultant of Mthwakazi
I had shrunk in the noises of a slighting silence,
However, when the King of Mthwakazi appeared,
he pointed at the sun and its rays regally poured on me
like a shower, and I started to feel home and honored;
He also pointed at a cute clock and an array of chiefs.
There was a constellation of stars, like local
footballers, movie directors, socialites, authors,
educators and motivators. There was a galaxy of
award-winning actors, sportspersons and journalists.
I saw icons and great thinkers. What remarkable talents!
There was a throng of human rightists, a bench of
uncaptured judges, a flock of religious folks and culturists.
There was a diaspora of people who worked and lived
in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Australia, US, UK,
New Zealand and several different parts of the world.
There was a regiment of activists, there was a swarm
of feminists and legislators. There was a troop of soldiers
and there, a wave of police officers. There was a huddle
of elderly women and men, and a busload of singers and
dancers. Indeed, there was a lovely troupe of entertainers.
There was a band of musicians that belted out divine music.
The King showed me a host of editors and readers who were
keenly watching the proceedings virtually, waving at us.
On Zoom, I saw the new Mayor of Bulawayo, she was waving
at me with her assemblage of excited, charismatic councilors.
I saw eminent radio and TV personalities, TV script writers
and famous playwrights. The King was moving around with me,
with his entourage of advisors and security personnel, and a legion
of diplomats and officials from neighboring countries. I caught sight
of a nexus of my family members and relatives. I was speechless.
Some women wore headbands, thick knee-length cow-hide skirts
or short skirts made of grass or beaded cotton strings, necklaces,
beaded high heels or cute crotchet sandals or beaded sandals,
yet men wore animal skins and feathers, clusters of a cow's tail
on the upper arm and underneath the knee, rubber batata sandals.
"There's a mass of people from all walks of life, there's a multitude.
This is a momentous occasion. All these people have gathered here
to honor you. Yes, you," emphasized the King who wore ostrich feathers,
a leopard skin, a front apron and a rear apron or ibhetshu. He talked
about the restoration of values and dignity. I was stunned and confused.
The cheerful, revered and good-looking King took me on a tour
along Nkululeko road until we marched into an august building.
"This is our parliament", said the King as I admired the scent
emanating from an entrance draped in a variety of superb trees
and flowers. What a parliamentary chamber, what a monument.
I marveled at its design. The architecture had a traditional touch
to it with a spear-shaped ceiling that shimmered with 30,000
aluminum panels. Its interiors were simple, yet colorful, delightful
and powerful. The circular space adorned with the statues of King
Mzilikazi and King Mambo, signified the history of a new nation.
The King continued,"Piker Press calls you a Prophet of Liberation.
Do you have a pen name? Do you sometimes publish under a different name?"
I responded promptly, "Bhija Jamela. I inherited that name from my grandpa."
He smiled, "Great. We're gathered here to appoint you
as an officer of the royal household. As the Poet Laureate
of Mthwakazi, you'll promote the reading and writing of poetry nationally."
What a vision!