Children, don’t be intimidated
Written from a maternal instinct, this lament presents a mother in a rural kitchen preparing porridge for her children.
Isihlahla soxakuxaku asisanunkuli,
Ibhokola emasimini alisabonakali,
lnkomo ziyacuba azihlambuluki,
Umkhathi usuhlala ulithusi -
Ekhona iyenela ilambazi!
Sizaqhubeka sivuma izono,
Singayithola sitshay' uGa Ntshompo.
Sizathandaza simemeze uThixo,
Singakhononi ngemifushwa lemisobho.
Saz' uNkulunkulu ebusa ngothando,
Sizalindela umnyaka ozayo.
Siyamazi akajabhisi osithobayo,
Sizakuzwa ngabafowenu abathumezayo,
Siqine ngokukholwa kunjalo.
Sizathengisa eyokucina inkomo,
Sethembele kuKhristu osiphayo -
Sondelani ke bantwana, lingadli elipholileyo.
(Ithathelwe kuzibalo ezikuHabakhukhi 3:17, 2 Imilandu 7:14 loUJohane 10:10)
As if talking to herself, she lists environmental issues including how wild fruit trees have failed to bud, the sky yields no rain and, with the heat, the sky feels like brass.
She mourns the death of their family livestock.
She breaks from her thoughts by assuring her children that despite lack, there is enough cereal powder for their porridge.
To give her children hope, she theologizes and encourages them to hope in the Lord.
Moving with the final stirring of the porridge before plating it, she deploys couplets, depicting how the family will respond by faith in one sentence, and specific action to be taken in the next. Practical actions include repentance, engaging in conservation agriculture (Ga Ntshompo), hoping for remittances and not complaining.
She assures them of God’s love and urges them to eat the porridge while it is still warm.
The impact of the shifting climate in the Global South is a paradox. It presents both loss and a serendipitous opportunity for families to deepen their faith and resilience.
Loosely translated, the title is “Children, don’t be intimidated.” This is an apocalyptic call for brazen faith in times multi-layered challenges and of disorientation.
—Sibonokuhle Ncube (PhD), a member of Brethren in Christ Church Zimbabwe, is currently walking her peacebuilding journey through studies in theology, peace and sustainability at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana, USA. She is a member of the MWC Creation Care Task Force.
Christians across the world are walking in spirit toward care for creation. This #SeasonofCreation celebration takes place 1 September to 4 October 2020.