He was not young, no longer. All days seemed like the same. Waking up early, looking after his scarcely crowded garden that grew up in front of his old hovel. A very simple meal in the breaking dawn every single morning and so. He was ready for a walk of almost 3 hours from the east side in Glen Ridge, Soweto till 2nd Avenue, Johannesburg South in Gauteng, where he used to work as a gardener since 1979 when Marais Viljoen assumed his chair as president together with Prime Minister Botha.
He is a South African gardener, but not always had been so. He had a law degree, in fact, he had not been working as a Lawyer for about 32 years. Although his country needed his services. His solitary way of life has never changed since his Sara passed away. It was on 1966 when Charles Robberts Swart was head of state and Miriam Makeba was singing Khawuleza on a Swedish TV show. He remembered quite well that terrible night while listening to Miriam on the radio sing: “Jonga jonga jonga yo khawuleza mama, iyeyiye mama” His wife was bleeding to death in his arms. In her chest, there was a hole made by a gun shot.
Their young eyes had seen the birth of one of the most perverse segregation systems that human race had known literally as “apart-hood” or apartheid. It was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the National Party governments, the ruling party from 1948 to 1994. Under apartheid, the rights, associations, and movements of the majority black inhabitants and other ethnic groups were curtailed and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained.
They were protesting peacefully that night, but in those days, peace was something that an energetic young soul looking for freedom did not found at all. The police fired into the crowd, a lot of people got hurt among them was Sara. In that fatidical night, his days as a South African political activist were officially gone. All delight that he had had in life went away, hand by hand with Sara. This was the life of Thabo Nicholay Zumna.
Until one day he had a dream. That kind of dream that makes you do not to want to wake up. In his dream, he was laying on the ground surrounded by trees and flower, all kind of flower and another that he did not know. He was amazed. A soft warm breeze was blowing through the garden sweeping up the leaves from the ground and he could see the herbage bending down softly. The morning sun had risen among the thick white clouds, the sunrays were bathing the garden with its heat; it seemed like he had woke up in paradise. It looked like the biblical Garden of Eden was right here, right now.
And then, there she was, splendid as ever. His Sara. She was standing between flowers. Her dark curly hair arranged in a hair braid, her white broad smile and her baffling shiny hazel eyes staring at his. She wore a white one shoulder dress whose length went till her knees, her naked feet was trampling on the dark red African soil. They kept quiet for a while. Then, she broke the silence.
- Hi, Thabo!
- Sara, my love, how I missed you!
I missed you too. Responded Sara
Although Thabo was happy he felt uncomfortable by the almost real dream that he was dreaming. Then he asked:
- Dear, Is it a dream?
- Yes, but you are not going to wake up again.
The next day a neighbor found the corpse. The late Thabo Nicholay Zumna laying on the bed with an old black and white photo of a young couple in front of a Methodist Church in District Six Cape Town. They were smiling sitting on an old bench. Now in that place, there are a commemorative plaque: “The first monument in South Africa to the victims of apartheid”. It was put up, torn down by the police, and put up again.” And the Text on the plaque read: “ALL WHO PASS BY. Remember with shame the many thousands of people who lived for generations in District Six and other parts of this city, and were forced by law to leave their homes because of the color of their skins. FATHER, FORGIVE US …”