The hills had come alive with the sound of music from a formidable band. The birds were singing their lullabies in diminuendo. The beautiful symphony was coming from crickets anticipating a night free of predators. The grasshopper followed suit not with hop-hop but with a melodious hip-hop. The last on the list were frogs. They sang poorly as if they did not have a choral conductor. And this was the time Thandeku left for the village shop. Her mother had sent her to buy sugar. It was around 7.00PM. As she made the last turn before approaching their gate, someone called her name. She did not bother to turn and check who it could be as she thought to her, ‘perhaps it is my mind playing tricks on me.’ As she made the third and the forth steps she heard the call again. This time she turned to check who it was. She did not see anyone. She became nervous as her face turned as pale as a ghost and her hair stood on end. She could feel the charge of adrenalin rush in her veins. It was either a fight or a flight. She mustered courage and persisted in walking. Her home was only ten minutes away, and she was not the one to scare. Her father did not baptize her Ariele in vain.
As she continued she heard the voice again and at this time the caller added, ‘go straight and mind no distractions Thandeku’.
She took off in haste and ran as fast as she could possibly do before suddenly knocking on their door. Her father and mother had been waiting for her. She was the only child and thus the joy of her parents. As the door was being pushed to open so that she could enter, she woke up!
This was an out of the ordinary dream. The first thing she did was to switch on the light; just to confirm it was indeed a dream and not the reality of life. The shock on her face was palpable as she tried to come to terms with the fact that it was just a dream.
Her nervousness reached the highest crescendo as she wondered what would have happened if it was not a dream. She had removed the big clock her aunt had gifted her during her birthday from the bedroom wall. She walked into the living room and quickly checked the clock to confirm if it was indeed 7 PM. To her shock and dismay, she found out it was 2 AM. She had been asleep for 3 hours, having slept at 11 PM. She sat on her bed as she tried to figure out what the dreams meant. The night was dead silent and the village seemed to be in an induced comatose. It will come back to life when the sun appears from the East.
For the rest of the night, Thandeku could not sleep an inch. She turned from left to right like clothes in Sir Kruger’s dry cleaner. Kruger was the only man with the dry cleaner in the whole Eastern province.
Finally, sleep came knocking at 5.30AM. She could not sleep at such time. The night was almost waving a bye-bye. She thus woke up again and knelt to pray.
She was supposed to be in the market as early as 8 AM so that she could purchase grocery for their newly established shop. She prayed that God would reveal to her what the dream meant, for it had made her heart continuously skip like wild goats of Drakensberg Mountains.
Later she made breakfast. She then prepared herself and set off to the market.
She was driving an Old Morris; the car that her dad bought six years ago when she was just a teenager. She had just graduated from college with a degree in commerce and she was infatuated with a German Beetle. One day she would have to own it.
Thandeku had been brought up in a close-knit family. It was a place of love and peace. Her parents were staunch adherence to a local church and Thandeku was practising to play the piano. She loved Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. And she hoped to one day play it before their church.
Though her parents were such strong in faith, they still held to some form of mysticism that was passed on to Thandeku. Superstition was rife in this part of the world.
This was also a time when crime in the town of Good Hope was at an all-time high. No one could trust even the local security personnel to offer protection. The unemployment was high and the youths who had fought and defeated the racist regime were now idle. This presented a big challenge to the local leaders as they tried to ensure that calmness and peace are restored.
As Thandeku drove on, she heard over the radio that the market she was driving towards was on fire. The youths who wanted to send a message to the political elites who had ignored their plight set the market on fire. They wanted jobs and nothing else. Thandeku had been a born-again Christian for ten years. She believed that God was working out something good for their country even though, in the meantime, things appeared gloomy and not bloomy.
This was the year 1940, in the small country of Asiafrierica. The country was trying to find its way and the patience of the people who had been battered by racism was at its lowest. The promise of a paradise by the freedom fighters was not forthcoming. Hopes had either been gnashed at or dashed.
The news flashed through the radio, ‘Trade Fair Market has been torched by youths and the police are battling the strife.’
Thandeku thought of making an about-turn, but just as she was contemplating, the voice in the dream came again, ‘Go straight and mind no distractions’.
She told herself, ‘let me go on and witness the scorched market for myself’. And with that, she floored the Old Morris’ gas pedal. She could smell smoke and fire as she approached the market. And within the vicinity, she could see a cloud of smoke and a ball of fire dance in the air to the music that could be probably a dirge. She told herself, ‘I should go back’.
It appeared that things were not fine. She intuitively stopped at a gas station and filled the tank. Then as she was making a turn to go back to their sleepy village, the voice in the dream came back again, ‘Go straight and mind no distractions Thandeku’. She wondered what could be happening to her. Was she still fine? Back in the college, she had a medical student friend who told her about mental conditions and diseases. She questioned her mental soundness. Her roommate back in the college was a student of philosophy and used to tell her, “Thandeku, whenever you doubt your existences just know that non-existent being don’t ‘doubt’.” She would add, “Just pinch yourself awfully hard”.
Thandeku pinched herself to confirm that what she was experiencing wasn’t a continuation of yesternight dream.She wanted to cocksure that it wasn’t hallucination either. She paused for a minute at the side of the road. That minute looked like a year. She then drove on and passed the burning market. The security men were all over the place, with big guns hanging from their shoulders. Unrelenting in her driving, she suddenly came across a roadblock; it was now 9:30 AM. About twenty men in military attire were manning the roadblock. Something was amiss! They checked the car before allowing her to continue. They also checked her identification card. As she drove off, one of the officers told her, “you are a lucky young lady. Just drive on.”
She did not understand why this soldier said this. But she kept driving, without knowing where she was going. Thirty kilometres down the road there was another military checkpoint. It was manned by a dozen officers, clad in combat gear. There was a truck beside the road. Three Soviet-made machine guns had been mounted on it. Three soldiers with their faces covered manned the truck. As they were perusing through her purse, a jet cruised over and this was followed by a deafening bang. It shook the whole area as everyone was left in shock and awe save for the soldiers. As she turned to look back, the soldier checking her car said, “That is your hometown. It has been levelled”. Thandeku was not allowed to move for at least ten minutes and in that time five more bangs had been heard. She would then ask the soldier, ‘”what is going on?” He replied, “There is a civil war, and your town Good Hope has just been levelled by these jet fighters.” Thandeku was upset. “Why? What about my parents?”
The officer looked at her as if to mumble some words but did not say anything. He just motioned Thandeku to continue. It was now around 10.30AM and the sun was still gathering her strength to deliver its own strikes. As she thought to drive back and go check on her parents, the voice in the dream came back again, ‘Go straight and mind no distractions.’
She went straight on driving furiously for two more hours. By then she had been stopped at two more checkpoints and told to drive on. She arrived at the border of her country and the neighbouring country; Malagar.
She went past the beacons before being stopped by Malagar’s security officers. The border was jammed with refugees and it was not a good sight. “What happened to a peaceful life I had been enjoying just a day ago?” She wondered. The refugees were escorted by a contingent of security officers. They went to a church facility a hundred kilometres from the border. When they arrived there, Thandeku would immediately send out a message to the officials of the camp concerning her parents.
After one week, she was informed that her parents survived and are living fifty kilometres from their camp. An arrangement was made for a reunion.
One night, about three months down the line, Thandeku had another dream in which she saw herself and her parents speaking to the refugees about hope.
She woke up the following day and shared the dream with her parents. They then went to the camp manager; a burly gentleman with a firm handshake. He allowed them to speak to the refugees every morning and evening. Thandeku started the first day, “There is hope for a good future; for us and our children and the children of our children. There is hope in God that our expectations shall not be cut off……..” she would go on and on as the audience swelled and keenly listened.
One month passed since she started doing this. A second and a third month passed and soon it was one year.
By then the whole camp followed Thandeku keenly. They had listened to her every day. They decided to take their lives back to normal. They decided to weave a new pattern for their lives. They stopped pitying themselves and started small-scale businesses. Some of them sought for sponsors and went back to school. Their lives changed with time and the refugee tag could not hang anymore. That is how Thandeku formed a movement of ‘Dreams of Hopeful People’.
Thandeku has been living in a foreign land for the past Thirty years. Her movement ‘Dreams of Hopeful People’ has grown and is now found in one hundred countries of the world. They help agonizing people find hope and their lives back.
She still pinches herself as she narrates her stories to her children just to make sure she is not hallucinating. All her three daughters are engaged in this venture too. She has avoided destructions.
We do not have adequate information about her tiny motherland country. But one thing we know, that Thandeku’s movement has swept across the globe.
One afternoon Thandeku was visited by school children and this is what she told them, “Listen to the wind, pay attention to the storms, and learn from dreams. Sit and listen my children! For God will surely speak. In which manner does He speak? I don’t know.”
The story of Thandeku continues.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.