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By Jamela Hoveni

I am a story.
A mysterious parcel passed in secret, in the dark while fires burned by night.
A gentle voice ushered me in, a whisper, an owl crying in the distance.

I am a story.
I have travelled far…
Weaving my way through the generations, endearing myself to all.
I am the invincible cord that binds.

I am immortal.
African kings and queens have come and gone, nations rise and fall and still I remain the only monument standing.
A wealth of knowledge and wisdom.
A treasure chest of our heritage.

I am history.
I speak of a time of plentiful harvest and many riches.

Of Gold, Silver and Ivory trade.
I  also speak of conquests by our warriors and defeat at the hands of our colonisers.
I speak of land dispossessions and slavery.

I am truth.
The voice of my people.
I relate stories of pain and suffering and also of joy and triumph.
Tales of Soshangane, Muzila na Mawewe.
The ancestors who bore the warriors and women of the Limpopo.
The beautiful sons and daughters of the soil.

I am a story of the Limpopo.
It’s rolling hills and majestic mountains.

It’s grasslands and forests.
It’s many rivers: Selati, Letaba, Oliphants and Letsitele.
It’s beauty and scenic landscapes.

In Thohoyandou, Magoebaskloof, Hoedspruit,  Phalaborwa and Tzaneen.

I am an enchanting tale that entertains and delights.
So many people over the years have enjoyed me, especially the babies at their mothers’ breast.
The wise appreciate my wisdom.
The foolish ignore my lessons at their own peril.
I stand as a reminder of where we have come from and where we still have to go.

I am a story.
The grand narrative of my people.
All people: indigenous or settler;
Vatsonga, VhaVenda and BaPedi.
Man, woman or child.
Having travelled far I now see that we are all the same.
At some point in time we have conquered and enslaved.
Fought bloody civil wars in the name of love or nation.
Suffered some form of loss and bemoaned the futility of war.
I am a story.
I am one who speaks of our collective humanity.

The only lasting monument.