10 April 2013. I was 12 and I had just woken up from a bad dream, it was a Saturday so happily I along with my siblings would be staying in at home. My father had recently installed black and gold iron gates the next step in the fencing off our township home. Putting a fence around one’s home was considered then (as I am sure it still is now in some quarters) as a sign of prosperity and increasing wealth. Even though the brick wall around our home was not yet complete, it re-classified us as one of the more affluent families in the Proper Township.
My dream involved our new black gates; something horrible had happened on our drive way or somewhere near though there was no sign of the incident on the red gravel earth. All I could see in my dream apart from the “eerie” feeling was the ground. Street lamps cast yellow light, highlighting menacing tall thin shadows of young men walking as if parallel to the steel rods which made up our golden black gate.
They were just shadows but I could not shake the bad feeling as I walked into the lounge in search of my mother, where I found her and my father as if frozen in mid-action staring at the television screen as if shocked by electricity.
Noxolo Grootboom our favourite Xhosa news reader was being interviewed a crowd had assembled around her, she must have just woken up, unkept with a doek (scarf) on her head, she was saying something I couldn’t understand. Then the camera followed the crimson trail leading to someone lying face down his head and body barely covered with red blankets. I am guessing the cameraman must have been equally stunned by the fresh blood trail which seemed to still flow from South African Communist Party Leader Chris Hani’s motionless body. He was laying face-own-his paved driveway. A tragic end to what had started off as a perfect Saturday morning, it was a beautiful day. Chris Hani in track suits had gone out to buy the paper, which I assume he would have read with a good cup of coffee on a kitchen table – why is there no movie about his life? Then came the cry that I will never forget ; Tokyo Sexwale’s grief stricken agony reverberated throughout multiple TV screens all around South Africa but ever more loudly in my head! Chris Hani was dead, the nation was in morning and I didn’t even know who he was. I had forgotten all about telling my mother about my bad dream. It had all become too real.