Ocean Red: A micro love story

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Why am I so afraid of the roaring of the waves when I claim to serve a God that can part the seas? (Photo: Christopher Bene/ Supplied)
Why am I so afraid of the roaring of the waves when I claim to serve a God that can part the seas? (Photo: Christopher Bene/ 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 Sihle Mthembu considers a lost love as a part of Arts24's series "More Than One Kind of Love". 


The day we heard the news that our friend had drowned, Nkosi said that he found it strange that water was colourless.

Some days when I think of the ocean, I become red with grief. That night our families came together and my mother made umbhaqanga and a tomato relish.

Every time I eat that, I think of that you. Memories cascading like waterfalls. Everything is slippage. Like the time we got a hiding for going to the river to swim in your honour. That day I lost the milky white marble I'd won from you. Some things take forever to be sunken. I stand with my son at shore and take a deep breath. You would have loved him.

He's just turned five and he has your name. Ntando. Will. If it his will let it be so? Why am I so afraid of the roaring of the waves when I claim to serve a God that can part the seas? I close my eyes, whisper your name like a tiny spell and hope to swim good.


Sihle Mthembu is a writer and filmmaker born in Mooi River in the Natal Midlands. In 2009 Mthembu enrolled into the Durban University of Technology where he graduated with a B-tech in journalism. He has worked as an art critic, a business journalist and a churner of various types on online banter. He is the co-author of Born to Kwaito, published under Blackbird Books.

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