We were making our way through the tight, winding streets of Kayamandi – Stellenbosch’s premiere township, a living shrine to the injustice cast upon black South Africans during the regime of apartheid. Tin roof shacks spread as far as you can see, one on top of the other, yet their detail and integrity boast of mankind’s ingenuity in the midst of hardship. I drove slowly, inching forward as the roads were filled with aunties and uncles in their church attire, children making games in the streets, and other various crowds simply going about their Sunday activities – it was a vibrant, sunny afternoon.

Our caravan was filled, five guys in total comprised of two white Americans, a Vietnamese American, a Zimbabwean, and a Kayamandi local. We were all looking at the same place, yet we experienced it from our own drastically different worlds. Life can be weird like that.

We eventually came to a halt, stepped out of the car, and locked the doors. We were lead by our local “guide” Billy through a tight dirt alleyway. We walked past a group of young men busy chopping wood, tending to fires, and prepping meat for cooking. Another left turn up the tight alleyway, shacks merely brushing against each shoulder. Never in my past experiences back home have I been so aware of my privilege, of my whiteness – and no matter how much my face and body language showed comfortability and intrigue, I am severely unsettled. How can my reality and this reality coexist? It is a haunting contrast that I am so often faced with here.

Our journey brought us to the living room of a friendly mama, who was busy wrapping our food for us. We were picking up a fresh smiley. Whether enjoyed with friends at a braai or with mates after a long night of drinking, smiley is a Xhosa favorite. We brought the slow steamed sheep-head back to our place, and as is customary – stripped every piece of meat from the skull; tounge, eyeballs, & all.

A little salt, a little tabasco – bon appétit.

4 Replies to “Smiley”

  1. So glad to hear you are doing well and God is using you in such great ways.. not real sure I could eat this stuff… sounds like a diet to me.. stay well.. see you next month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You write well, Zach, and what you write about is heart stopping. I felt as though I walked down that passageway with you. God is giving you amazing circumstances to walk through! Thanks for sharing with us. Another world away from here … you’ll have culture shock when you pop in for Will’s wedding. God loves His children wherever they lives and desires that all might know Him. Great work with the young fellas … I know you are making a lasting impact on theirs lives – – and they are doing the same on yours. Love you! Gram


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