By Dumisani Dube
Adulting is a scam. Being young, innocent and unbothered was so much fun, and so was Christmas. I remember the hype during the festive season starting from the day schools closed for that term and knowing that the next day or so we are going shopping. There was no compromise, we had to go shopping. Whether my mom had the money or not I didn’t care, all I wanted was a full set of new clothes. Clothes I would keep checking in the wardrobe for the next 2 weeks or more. I checked every morning, afternoon and even before I went to bed. I had to check in case they were stolen or they had shrunk or soiled somehow, I had to keep a tag on them.
When the day finally was upon us, I would wake up at dawn, take a shower, of course forget some parts of my body, in a hurry to get me covered in my new and beautiful clothes, waiting for lunch to eat rice. While the smell of fried chicken hovered the kitchen and the chopping of cabbage into tiny slices for coleslaw was an activity for my sisters, my job was to look good. Come sunshine and the music starts to play, all different songs from different sounds and artists. Walking out to the street to showcase my new clothes was more of a mission than putting them on. The crispy new shoes were difficult to walk in, they felt so unreal, at least for me. My mom’s floors were shiny red and one had to be careful not to fall. It was my Christmas, my young Christmas.
Oh yes, it’s some years later and it is upon us again. Retailers have put up their fake Christmas trees, shiny and boring decoration and some have gone to the extent of topping it up with hideous dancing Santas. Its Merry Xmas all round. Who cares!
I am a Christian and I love Jesus and to celebrate his birthday. It’s a cool thing to have your birthday celebrated by billions. My problem is it being imposed on everyone. Look, we have many religions out here and it should be a choice to be festive at Christmas. Again, if this is really a religious holiday to celebrate our saviour, why is it so commercialised. Why do prices hike so much next to unaffordable? Christmas celebrations are not the same anymore. Instead of bringing in joy and happiness as they are supposed to, they bring the opposite.
While celebrating these holidays, do we even start to think that there is someone who will be sad and lonely somewhere. They have names, they have messages for Santa, they are hungry and they don’t have anywhere to go. The tradition of Christmas as I know it may differ by association or family but is to be with loved ones and usually a family affair. Out there is a queer person who was disowned by their family because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Families choose to celebrate someone whom they have never seen, forgetting their own blood just because they are different. I John 4 verse 20 says “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever do not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” Which bible do you all read? Mine tells me the greatest of them all commandments is love.
Kudos to spaces like the Queermas initiative, a safe for LGBTI people. Lehlohonolo got to hear that Christmas can be seen as a time of rejection, exclusion and rejection and curated this space. Bravo Lehlohonolo Mokgoroane, we see you!
All I want for this Christmas is to see love being spread all over. Queer and allies let us come together and make this Christmas different for someone, someone queer who has no family to go to. Love does not cost a thing. Ever since the passing of my mom, Christmas has never been the same. I have been fortunate to have friends that make an effort to make it a happy one for me. I know how it feels to be alone at Christmas. It hurts so bad to see all the activities done in a family set up when you have none, or you have and they just don’t want. Let’s come together and make this Christmas a better one for at least someone you don’t know, queer or not.
Our gift to you this Xmas is this issue dedicated to those who need a hug, need a nudge, have gift wishes but don’t have access. As you read, walk out there and make someone happy. All I want for Christmas is a happy family and a better world. To you all my Queer siblings, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, enjoy the holidays and be safe.