I’ve had this idea in my mind for months on end. I’ve woken up with it, had meals with it, slept over it, and taken showers with it. It has been bearing significantly on my mind. I have toyed with it in the same manner a cat would antagonise a mouse it has caught. I have deliberated it, searching the depth and breadth of my being, trying to make meaning of it. All this I have done in the hope that I will gain some insight, clarity or at least a leap in the correct direction.
One Sunday afternoon, at the University of Fort Hare (where I am a student), I found myself in deep thought on the subject of freedom. It was then that I decided to engage the subject by means of penning it on paper (the luxury of my own PC I am yet to enjoy).
Walking from my residence on a hot early-Autumn afternoon, intending to finally dispel these thoughts of freedom and its costs on paper, I found myself turning towards the Freedom Square. Freedom Square at the University of Fort Hare is a dedication to past Fort Hare students who have made a significant contribution for the emancipation of Africans. To get to the Freedom Square, from the direction I was coming from, meant my being channeled through Robert Sobukwe Walk. The symbolism of my being channeled through Robert Sobukwe Walk to get to Freedom Square struck me significantly. Was there some irony in it? Take a moment to reflect.
At the Freedom Square there is a fountain whose sound as it pumps the water through its pipes beckons to you in the most beguiling fashion. It is not surprising that I found myself seated under the shade of thatch and evergreens, a few paces from the fountain and feeling relaxed or at ease, so as to let my thoughts flow synchronised with the rhythm of the water flow. Naturally, Zamajobe Sithole’s Ndawo Yami echoed in my head. The orchestra of birds, the rustling of leaves, and the occasional distant sound of human voices made this a truly African symphony.
My thoughts drifted like a feather being tossed by gusts of wind to where the winds dictated. The likes of Robert Sobukwe, Nelson Mandela, Z.K. Matthews, Martin Thembisile Hani (aka Chris), and Robert Mugabe had all been here, possibly pondering the same as me: Freedom was not free, Freedom is not free.