Dreaming of my Home town
When people ask me, “when was the last time I was at home”, I always say when I left, that is 18 August, 2010.
I miss the people from Nhlangano town a lot. The people make the streets and the town alive. When I was at home I use to think that the bus rank was noisy and I never spent a lot of time there. I would hear buses, kombis, cars honking and the assistance bus conductors shouting their lungs out trying to attract as many customers as possible. The bus conductors would be competing with the kombis to get as many customers as possible. During cold days, the smell of maize (corn) makes one salivate as the street vendors walk around selling maize. If one is broke that day, he/she would say a small prayer, hoping that a relative or a friend will show up and buy the maize for him/her.
The market place has everything that a person needs. One can even find live chickens, cheap organic foods which include fruits, fresh vegetable and seasonal wild fruits. Even though there is competition among the sellers, they understand economics better than the big businesses. They agree on one price thus maximizing profits for everyone. The market place makes people cheer up because the sellers are always happy. Also, I miss negotiating with the Indians for anything. They would price their goods very high and one needs a good tongue to get a ridiculers low price. One day I was buying shoes and after being nice to the shop owner he gave me a 50% discount on shoes. Where else would one get such a deal?
The streets become alive as the sun rises. Parents are rushing to work, school kids are late for school, streets vendors are setting up their markets trying to make bank from those who missed breakfast. The school kids decorate the streets with their multiply coloured uniforms. Some of the school kids will be adding the final piece of the uniform while dashing for school. Some people are just on the streets for the sake of being on the streets. During the day, one hears exuberant cries of the young blood playing on the streets. Everyone one meets gives a genuine smile with a greeting, “sawubona” or “eita”. This is the time one would hear his/her favourite song as some of the kombies would be blasting their music boasting about their powerful sound system. The people become part of the streets during the day.