Africa has bore her children in labored and excruciating pains that run through her veins to connect all ethnicities and cultures through the voluptuous valleys and majestic mountains of her continent. Her daughters are raised as warriors and her sons groomed as kings. She boasts the beauty of the melanin hues of their skin and the textured crowns they carry on their heads, inherited from her soil and jungles of her earth. Their blood carries minerals and precious stones like salt to nourish the rivers and seas that feed into the souls of her young.

Thabelo ignores the deafening sounds of the hooters from the cars that surround him at all angles. He has deliberately walked without a trace of fear nor a wince of hesitation to the centre of the busiest road in town, causing cars to stop at a holt whilst others swerved to avoid crashing into each other. All this commotion to avoid hitting him. Could he be drunk, or mad maybe or just plain stupid? What has got into him? Only Thabelo knows. He stands in the middle of a busy street in deep town, surrounded by tall buildings hovering over him like dead branches of a giant tree and concrete streets meandering in and out around and behind as just like the confusion that has muddled the wires in his brain. Some people walk past as if unaware of the “crazy” man in the middle of the street and some stare with shock, some amazement and some in anticipation ready to capture through their devices the action for the day, something to share with family, friends and strangers on social media. Yet he stands there not oblivious to the chaos, but choosing to block it out of his’ minds eye. He stands there stuck, still and waiting like a tree rooted deep. Waiting for a thud to jerk him back into sanity, yet with a deep fractured longing to end it all.

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Thabelo closes his eyes for a moment and allows his imagination to take him back home to Limpopo. a deep sense of longing and loss collide into each other within. But with his eyes shut, all he sees is a dirt road, and a young boy wearing a neatly ironed yet worn school uniform. The boy is walking to school full of hope and trust in the possibilities for his future. A very smart kid, a top achiever in his whole school. The intelligence that afforded him an international bursary to study abroad and come back to head one of the top law firms in his home country. But the young boy on the dirt road, at that time has a sense of contentment and he is so sure of the future. Life is not easy for his family but the love and support that surrounded him had him grounded. there is an invisible cord that connects him to the very earth he walks on. A smile creeps onto Thabelo’s face as he remembers playing soccer in the dirt of the school fields, returning after a long fulfilled day to a home cooked meal and a warm bath in the steel basin behind the family hut. Life so simple, yet so rewarding.

The persistent car hooters bring him back into the current moment with a jolt that brings back those voices in his head that just don’t want to give him peace.  For the first time since he walked into the busy road, Thabelo makes eye contact with one of the passer-by’s ad all he can see is an empty stare. A stare that dares him to make a jump right in front of the next moving car and end it all. Through his eyes, everyone seems detached to the umbilical cord of Africa and she weeps. Thabelo longs to be released into Africa’s spirit, to return to her loins and back in her arms.  One by one the voices in his head chant “just end it” “you’ve failed ” “loser” “it’s too much” “it will be quick” “no one will miss you” “see you are a joke” “just end it”….

Depression is real, it doesn’t matter how accomplished you are in life. The bottomless pit is the same for everyone, it it just deep, dark and antagonizing in the same vein…I dedicate this to everyone that suffers depression and faces it as a daily battle. I don’t have a remedy but I ask that you who read this insert take some time to pray for someone whom you may know is going through depression.

Africa weeps and wallows, her beautiful creation falls away like leaves plucked off a tree before the flowers could bloom. Her precious children, swallowed by a dark invisible and intangible beast.

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