First of all, you need to leave your house thinking that the next time you’ll be passing through that door, it will be with a baby. You had done the last bit of shopping, and told the help to wash them. Hope is very important, because that is what finishes you in the end when the doctor tells you that what you created is what is killing your slowly.
I am told my late grandmother held me up to the sky and spat on my forehead at birth; she said my death would never come from the hand of man, and that I was too blessed to be cursed. In the hierarchy of birth, considering all my father’s children, I was tenth in the pecking order. So I started this race of life at 10th place.
When she had come to grips, I remember Mama Steph finding Achamin and I standing on the hallway. I remember her telling Achamin, “When we were in the car, I told you that my boy was leaving, and you refused to believe me. Do you believe me now?” Achamin could not find the tongue to respond. I remember thinking how unfair that question was – but then again, what part of losing a 4-year-old son is fair? Life always seems unfair to those who have never met death.
The day he arrived at the centre, there were no saxophones to play. Observing his crestfallen face, the music teacher quickly suggested that Mandla try his hand at the trumpet he had in his car. Mandla remembers thinking – a trumpet? What am I going to do with a trumpet? It only has three buttons! But these buttons were his only options, because if he didn’t take up the trumpet, he would have to wait for another six months for a saxophone to be available. Above all, the love was for music, regardless of where it was coming from. And so, he took the trumpet from the boot, wiped it down, and begun his musical journey.