published by NuBlaccSoul — stories fom Africa to the World

NuBlaccSoul — Stories from Africa to The World

Home to me means being able to take care of myself at all times. To be in a space that allows me to do that freely. It means opting to have noodles for dinner because I don’t feel like cooking, or when I’m struggling to leave my bed and not having to worry about the next person. Home means warmth, comfort and security.

If I can’t express myself the way that I would like to, I know I’m not home. If I’m scared to have a second serving of ice cream right after my first one because I’m worried that someone is going to complain, I know I’m not home. If I’m wearing a full set of pyjamas and not just pyjama pants and an XL t-shirt, I know I’m not home — meaning, I’m not really comfortable, I’m not being my usual self because I’m in the presence of other people who (I assume) expect me to carry myself a certain way.

I feel most at home, in my room at res’ — so, in other words, in my own space.

It has always been my safe place, here I am at my happiest — when I’m by myself.

Makhosi | Intle Ntsinde

The place called home, where I was born, where my parents live, has never felt like home to me. I’m miserable 99% of the time when I’m there. I cannot take care of myself and my feelings because I’m not allowed to. I have to think about the next person, always, even when I don’t feel like it. I have to get up early, clean, cook and I only go to bed after everyone else has slept, even in the depths of my depressive episodes.

I am a “nurturer” at heart, but the minute you take away my freedom and choice to pick and choose when I can take on that role, you have lost me.

Younger Intle Ntsinde | ezintsizini zethu iliso liyabona

No, my definition of home has always been my parent’s house, a roof over my head, meals and a warm bed or mattress. But when I got the opportunity to leave my parent’s house, in high school, I realized that I actually felt more at home in the flat that I was renting with my mom. Even our relationship was different when we were there compared to when we went “home”, to the rest of our family. In our flat, my mom allowed me to be. I couldn’t wait to go back there whenever we went home. A close friend of mine passed on when I was in grade 10 and I cried all day. My mom was a teacher at the high school that I went to, and she asked the principal to allow me to go home just because I was upset, and he agreed. I had never experienced anything like that with my mother before because at “home”, whatever my dad says goes and he would’ve never allowed that because I wasn’t physically sick. He would have just told me to stop crying and go to class. It’s in that flat where my definition of home changed, and it’s been the same for the past 8 years now. I look out for all the things that make me feel at home and if one of them is missing, I know I cannot live there.

Younger Intle Ntsinde with mother & brother

The colour that I most associate with home is grey, dusty pink and white. My bedding is dusty pink, white and grey and my room decor is dusty pink, grey and white. Whenever I’m out and I see these colours, they never fail to remind me of my home.

The pieces of home I always carry with me are me and amabhayi wam (Sangoma cloths). My parents haven’t accepted that NgiyiSangoma and they expect me take of my beads namaBhayi wami when I’m home because they don’t agree with the part I’ve chosen to undergo. I always carry amabhayi with me because they remind me that I am not alone. Ever. They remind me that I am an initiated Sangoma and it is in my home where I can fully and freely practice UbuNgoma bami and commune with my ancestors. Lamabhayi remind me that even when I’m wearing really tight pants, when I get home, I’ll get to take them off and wrap amabhayi wami around my waist and be comfy.

I carry myself with me always and I chose this answer because there’s genuinely no one that knows me better than myself. It’s myself that does the work of calming me down when social anxiety kicks me in the but when I’m out taking a walk or getting essentials. It’s myself that reminds me who the fuck I am whenever I’m feeling a little insecure. It’s myself that reminds to not beat myself up and myself that tells my story to myself when I’m gaslighting myself. It is also myself that calls me out when I’m wrong. I carry with me my ancestors, they are a part of me, my blood and DNA and they literally walk and sit with me always. I feel them, I see and know them.

I would tell my 10-year-old self that things get better. Every single dream and vision about my life and my family’s life becomes our reality. Things also become really sour so I’d tell my 10-year-old to hang in there it gets better. At 10, my mom was doing her final year in varsity. She started working 6 months after my 10th birthday and changed our lives for good. I’ll never, ever forget that. She gave birth to my little sister shortly before her grad and when she went to interviews, as young as I was, I took care of my baby sister. She had trained me pretty well and she didn’t leave the baby with me out of desperation alone, she knew I’d be able to take care of her. I didn’t mind the fact that I wasn’t able to go play with other kids. I knew what that job would mean for us and my mother. I watched my father abuse her for years and her getting a degree and a job… please! You can imagine!

Intle Ntsinde with father

To my 16-year-old self I’d say, you’re going make it to 18 and 21 and 24 and you’re going figure things out eventually. You’re going to want to live at some point and you’ll get to have some fun. Loads of fun. Live. You’re beautiful and there’s nothing wrong with you. I would tell my 30-year-old self that the only reason why I’m still holding on is because I desperately want to meet them. It’s hard at the moment but I cannot shake the feeling that at 30, I’ll be happier. And so, I keep trying, every single day because I want to meet me at 30. I’m proud of the person I am right now, and I can only imagine that 30 will be a greater version of myself. I’m looking forward to seeing the kind of healer, sibling, child, friend, employee and partner I will be at 30. Oh, my goodness, I can’t wait. — END

Here, waiting for home, written by Intle Ntsinde for #NBS| (1187 words)

Author biography:

Intle Ntsinde has been a storyteller, essayist and a final year Media, Communication and Culture Studies student at the Nelson Mandela University, in Gqeberha, eMpuma Koloni, for a little while now.

They love to tell and hear stories and has been held together by said stories all their life. Intle is also an initiated Sangoma (traditional healer) that believes in the healing powers of stories and storytelling. They got into storytelling in an attempt to find “fun” and affordable mental health treatment and subsequently found themselves.”

Writer/Poet | This is ancestral, past-life reading; this is meditation & prayer; this is future telling. Always becoming. The undying soul in a decaying case.