Thursday, September 18, 2014

DearBlackMan the Pilot

#DearBlackMan the first time I ever went to Johannesburg was by train. At the first stop in Johannesburg I suddenly wept. I was overwhelmed by the sudden pain and realization that it was you DearBlackMan who built that railway. It was with your blood and sweat. I wept at the lives that were lost for the sake of gold or to build a civilization that you would not enjoy. I didn't anticipate the pain I felt nor had I deeply considered how most of the world's civilization was built by your hands. 

Maybe this is a lament or it is not. 

On my last flight from CT to EL our pilot happened to be none other but you DearBlackMan. My first black pilot ever. 

You announced your name, it was Phiwe. 

Your Xhosa accent was all over that English language. I loved that. I imagined a flight where Xhosa would used to address passengers. We are in Africa after all. I smiled. I smiled because I have never remembered a pilot's name before. I forget it the second he introduces himself but this was far too special. 

With a wide smile I relaxed because it occurred to me that most likely, for the longest time, it had to be your hands that have been placing all the pieces of an airplane together. If something terrible happened you might naturally know what to do to fix it. 

It's a gamble but that thought settled me further. Though Chris Barnard became famous, it was the dear black man's hands that skillfully and masterfully handled that famous first heart transplant. Of course we had a fantastic flight. It was my favourite and smoothest flight so far. Landings are not my favourite but it landed beautifully. I smiled. I imagined your mother praying for you every time you are on duty. Phiwe, indeed what a gift! 

1 comment:

Patrick Kayongo said...

This is good. Thanks for this.

Blog Archive