I went to Amahoro & got a lot more than the T-shirt.


A simple act–like folding a cotton shirt–can launch me into another world and another time.

Tonight I put away my Amahoro T-shirt. I held the butter fabric in my hands, felt the weave under my fingers and looked at the logo one more time.

It’s been about a moon and a week already since we had our last meeting. A woman knows these things.

I remember being handed the registration pack on the Tuesday morning I arrived. I looked at the T-shirt and saw everyone in the room wearing them. I had missed the announcement about a group photo (that would have explained the sea of similarity), because I had just flown in from Canada. But I went to my room that morning and made a conscious choice to be part of the group: I put on the T-shirt.

I grew up wearing a school uniform from the first day of Grade 1 (or Sub A as we called it then in South Africa) until the last day of Grade 12. I was a proud student of Paarl Gymnasium, but wearing that uniform day in and day out literally led to a number of Theophostic prayer sessions. I’ll admit that.

That morning, however, I desired so badly to be part of something Larger than my story. I kicked at the spirit of segregation that still wants to come and cling to me like white skin. I waived my right to express my creative self. And I put on the T-shirt.

So, tonight, when I folded the shirt and put it away in my closet, I held it a little longer. I didn’t wear it for very long that day, but putting it on was part of my becoming whole during those few days. It was part of my belonging and identification with Africa, my new African friends and a river inside me that is rising.

I miss Africa tonight and I miss that moment in time at Amahoro.

I’ll admit that too.

Photo credit: Jaimi JJ Kercher

  • Tina

    Love this use of words: “I held the butter fabric in my hands, felt the weave under my fingers…”

  • http://mycontemplations.wordpress.com/ cobus

    after Amahoro last year someone told me that my reaction is just a “camp-high”, and that it’ll pass. But more than a year later, and the reflections that was started from Amahoro is still flowing and flowing. What I got was more than a T-shirt.

  • http://www.cohmaricopa.com/blog Rusty

    I washed mine when I got home and now its to small. I gave it to my wife, and asked her to wear it with pride. Hopefully she will be a part of Amahoro again next year. She to is a part of the family..

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