My grandmother, Evelyn: A Micro Love Story

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Esinako Ndabeni’s grandmother, Evelyn. (Esinako Ndabeni/ Supplied)
Esinako Ndabeni’s grandmother, Evelyn. (Esinako Ndabeni/ Supplied)

Small love. Big love. Skinny love. Toni Morrison’s “love is or love ain’t, thin love ain’t love at all”. Early in the morning love. Love and honour your parents love. Love at the ends of its tether. “I can’t do this anymore” love.

Here Esinako Ndabeni considers her grandmother’s love. 

my grandmother cuts very quietly with her words. with poise and ease.

and she can come back and make the strongest case for kindness — a beautiful embodiment of irony.

she talks about mental illness as easily as she breaks down the importance of our cultural norms. her secrets roll gradually off her tongue like she hasn’t been holding onto them them all my life.

“akho mgqomo wamntu” she will say as her often unforgiving heart empathises with the worst of ‘em. you see right through her thin, polite smile but you feel rewarded when it is genuine, unbridled.

yesterday, i planted baby spinach seeds in the garden and sent her a video of myself falling as i did something she did with such ease.

Esinako Ndabeni is a writer who is interested in the ways in which popular culture encourages and normalises certain raced, classed and gendered ideas and behaviours. Therefore, with Born to Kwaito, she interrogates how women are imagined in popular culture, the impact that these imaginings have on real lives and how women in kwaito fought back against various forms of discrimination.

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