Lucky star

lucky star

One of the earliest moments I can recall where music had any real resonance in my life was when I first heard Mango Groove’s “Special Star.” Even now I can recall with absolute clarity the sharp, shrill crescendo of the penny whistle heralding the jubilant celebration of that moment of freedom we had all been waiting for so long.

When the stars no longer shine

When the sun falls from the sky

I will be forever yours

You will be forever mine

There’s a special star that shines

Every evening in your eyes

There’s a special star that shines

Each time I hear that lullaby

There’s a special star that shines

Every evening in your eyes

Special star, special star…

How we celebrated this newly emancipated security state which had been locked down and out of the free world for forty four years, and had locked us down and out for three hundred more before. The stars had truly ceased to shine and the sun fallen from the sky in those dark times. And, yet, as we rose and reclined each day and night, we found a special star, somewhere.

We found it in the lullabies of yearning written by our fathers deep in the dark pits of lands unknown to us, and our unseen mothers who heroically succeeded to make hope out of  nothing, even if just to go on. We sought that special star in the eyes of our kind keepers as we glanced, expectantly, at the largesse left behind on those abandoned banqueting tables thinking: please, miesies, if only you knew how hard it is at home. We even fixed it, for twenty seven long years, in the eyes of a man whose face most of us had never seen and more, still, spoke of in hushed and hurried whispers as we had so diligently been taught to.

How we danced to this song which marked this, the tomorrow we had been told freedom would be coming on. How we laughed as we jived to that jazzy township beat on this day to remember in the shebeens we went to to forget. We had hope, now, and were ready to set the sun back up in the sky and watch the stars began to shine once more.

Mas’akhane, makhi, it’s in our hands now was the new official greeting with which we promised each other new mornings without imikhukhu and the back-rooms we had been packed into, at least five at a time, like the pilchards in red tomato sauce in that last can of Lucky Star umama had bulked up with onions and eggs for our supper just the night before. It signified an end to the bitter resentment from which we drew our strength when it came our turn to clean the shared long-drops abomakhelwane had incautiously soiled when they gave it its daily libations of last night’s household effluent.

But how could we hold onto that bitter resentment with that Special Star we carried in our hearts and our mouths? So we embraced one another. We embraced in tears and truth. More tears than truth, because we so desperately needed to be free of that dark yesterday.

We were reminded of the value of hard work, not that we needed it because our bodies knew it well, unvalued as it was. So we rose each day under the stars to make it to the buses, trains and taxis that would ferry us to the sites of our value and returned under them, still, to recline. The star was in our grasp, now. We but had to reach just a little bit further. Further and farther, and further still, but still in our grasp because we saw it each morning and each night. We did it together because that way we could do more. At least, that’s what we were told.


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1 comment on “Lucky star”

  1. Thabiso Reply

    Lucky star,in zulu wisdom the lucky star is the fastest star in the sky and its seen once,and should not be seen by many,and I feel that south africa got a curse because we lived with a star for so long,it never moved fast and thus we are not moving but still hyponitised by the dream, and it is slowly becoming a nightmare because other countries are awake and we are asleep,our stuff is getting stolen,we have Obama coming to sell us more dreams.the crucial question is how do we wake up from the nightmares of sexism,homophobia,poverty and hiv /aids? Thank you for this,I hope to engage more in the future as we reverse the curse of the lucky star…Thabiso @fistvoices

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