A strong yellow-ray of light overexposes the side of the frame she’s sitting on the frame. On the opposite side, my mom’s presence is marked by her blue hair rollers, looking off the camera. It’s been only three years since I was born. In the middle, Suhair sits with a white piece of cloth on her lap, her hands are gently complemented by the touch of her friend Amira. While Khadija sits silently on the ground in her short-sleeve white dress. It is the only photograph I have of my grandmother and her two daughters, my mother and auntie Suhir together.
"Perhaps I was looking for something that refuses to be photographed. I was only chasing shadows, perhaps." - Santu Mofokeng, 1956-2020.
I was sleeping one morning in 2013. It was the second day of Eid, my mother knocked loudly on my door screaming that our house is on the brink of collapse. I woke up in shock and ran outside to saw neighbors whose homes had already been destroyed. They stood on the fence of our plot which was on higher ground, but the water was relentless and eventually reached the borders of our home. We left at the very last minute, my mother, sister, auntie, and I. Our house was destroyed and ever since I have felt the void. Home - once a fixed space in time - has now become a deep sense of longing and search for fulfillment. That cataclysmic event propelled my search for safety and belonging, but with time the question became: when was I ever really home? All of us coming and going, with no destination but a dream of an entrenched sense of self. The hunt for an anchored identity in a world that remains in a constant state of flux.
Three weeks ago, I was sitting at the table in the living room, it was a cloudy day but the sun kept saying hello and then shy away. It is strange how we keep leaping from one place to another. I was looking at the work for a while now, suddenly and my shirt was already wet when I realized I was weeping.
"Homecoming" is my therapy, my refuge. A safe space for me to explore ‘home’ as a philosophical, spiritual, emotional, and physical construct. To find meaning beyond the linear and the formulaic, and delve into the beyond. 'I embrace the apocalypse. I can easily blame my mother and father for my obsession with meaning and purpose.'Santu Mofokeng 1956 – 2020.