*Family [noun]

/1. a group consisting of parents and their children/

/2. a group of people related by blood or marriage/

/3. the children of a person or couple/

/4. all the descendants of a common ancestor:…/

 the house has been in the family for years

Never is the time so congenial to proclaim through burps of your most praised fancied drink that ‘blood is thicker than water’ like now as the fires of the braai masters salute the heavens for a year that has been (full stop). Phew, to spin a long sentence is like throwing yourself into a deep pit that you your self has dug and hope that you’re crawling out of it will reveal the true sense of your status quo. Such is a branch we spring from – the family – it binds us like a wrestler seduced by an obsession to become triumphant through rage with an inkling to snap every bone in our body into an agony of symphony. But the family ideal lacks the malevolent snap of the wrestling wrestler. And like an elusive insect which has found its way into your ear, suddenly ceasing you from comfort – family worms itself into your life; even if due to your material development you keep them at bay like a smell that does not agree with you; strangely enough you are pulled towards it. It is a giant finger that beckons its stray younglings to return to it; if not through loss of a departed soul then through gain, through imbibing a feeling of togetherness for the jitterbug of it.

In any family there are characters which seem to be replicated across all families lines related and unrelated. Let us start at the fountain head of your genealogy. There in the bundle of an intricate plot you call your life there is the last remaining relic of the family – this could be a 1Magogo or Mokgalabe whose tales of yore spun regardless who is listening instil an understanding of the backdrop upon which the family has been founded and the nonsense with which that formation had had to put up with for you to exist. They are examples of the beginnings of our bloodlines connected to the sages of yesteryear. We draw a circle around their words even if they are cushioned with spices of laughable mirth myth. What do we know we of soft bones, ha.

Moving along, skipping some of the uninteresting characters there is a controlling feline who usually is in good terms with everybody in the family but inspires rage at the best of times because he or she lacks hand break and doesn’t mind their words when they spit speech. But somehow they manage to maintain alliances with everybody even though in their absence members of the cast curse at them. But let us give credit to the workings of the genes because upon this engaging character lies the strength to get things done in the family.

The hot juice loving singing jolly member who arrives in a pluck at all gatherings and leaves long after all has left, staggering like a drunken master enters the scene. With the lid off when the alcoholic juices caress their system they tend to overstep boundaries and reveal hidden details of the family engineering. Their absence at 2mhlangano wa umdeni spell boredom abstractly minced with relief.

There is, within the nestlé of your founders, a quite spirit, A mellow subtle character, we might even stretch our powers of invention to call him or her, the wise one. Ye, the wise one, who never utter any word whereas it is deemed necessary by time and study of all the facts that afflict the family either as a collective or as individual constituents. Power of reason oozes out of their spout like a well brewed tea to inspire sprouting of harmony and contentment. Sheepishly we anoint them the voice of reason of the family. They are the grace opposite of hot juice loving singing jolly member of the family.

Without being ceased by melancholy we will jump to the next paragraph.

This one is unreliable. If there is a family gathering he may pitch late or never pitch at all. He or she never calls you to check how things are going with you. But, like you have accepted that you can never drain away the blood that binds you to your family out of your body – it has become like second nature that when you receive a please call me sms or ‘hey I have limited airtime, call me back’, without a ‘please’ rounding off their sentence during a rare phone call from them – you know they are in money penny trouble and suddenly eureka you exist in their world!

Lastly, there is that kid that excels at school. A brighter future casts its powerful rays upon their forehead of determination. They are the pride of the family. And if your family plot was to be illustrated we could imagine an overturned pyramid with this kid at the acute corner, balancing its weight, while all else are atop of him. The jotmaster advises that you guys should take it easy on the kid for they are the repository of all the genius juice that runs in the family – so young – yet so pressurised. Loosen up the belted belt! Will yah? The least you could all do is to keep the kid at school.

This is the soap opera of reality. Although we have not really pulled all the nerve endings of your family together because they are various, we’ve only focused on the highlights and gave you space to fill the gaps of the plot as it swells. We hope that you will appreciate all and all who inhabits the family construct with you. But most specifically that your emersion into the wonders of your family will illuminate the explosive fact that beyond this centre you call family relationships are establishments, lobbyism and cronyism that continuously grow relations into the family. And that the stranger on the street belongs to a family too – like you, with its own strangeness.

May the festive spirit be kind to you and your family. Long live the family, long live.

*see page 321, Oxford Paperback Dictionary Thesaurus & Wordpower Guide p925.


  1. Grandmother      and Grandfather
  2. Family      meeting


19 December

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2012