Harmattan and Feliz Navidad

BY: ABLAH

Oh there’s so much to talk about today, I don’t even know where to commence my spinning.

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When Harmattan (Arabata) has reared its dry dusty white head, then you know Christmas is near.

Amazing how the rains that usher in the dry season always come down with massive torrential strength. As soon as the clouds gathered on Saturday afternoon, I just knew the seasons were communicating with each other and exchanging their handing-over notes.

It’s almost as if I heard the rains tell the Arabata, “chale, I’m going to visit them with my wrath till they know that I don’t appear for appearing sake in December”. Then the Harmattan would cheer the rains on and say, “Bro, show them your krakye powers. It’s about time they realised that their Christmas festivities wouldn’t be complete without me desiccating their skin and vegetation, raining dust upon their homes and everywhere the air fills, and visiting a few noses and chests with catarrh and coughing. I shall equally make the throats and mouths of humans dry. Be looking out for reports about my adventure”.


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“I shall cause many, especially men, to bath once a day, or skip bathing altogether, and make them long for human warmth to enhance procreation. I shall let many, especially women, adore me for my ability to let their washings dry fast; I shall let all wet areas around their homes like their bathrooms, kitchens and toilets dry up from my licking of moisture”.

Aagh, the Arabata has arrived in style. May we all keep ourselves properly hydrated. It has “meant” us; let us also combat it with all the artillery we can lay hands on: Shea butter, bathing (at least twice a day, hahahahaaaaa), frequent dusting, and all the weaponry we have to make its stay unpleasant. I hope we see it vanish as soon as the New Year pops up.

Oh, and there’s this discovery too that I want to tell you about. It’s worrying me so much – the Bishop who runs his church from a drinking spot in Orange Farm, Johannesburg. It’s called the Gobola Church. When my friend Whatsapped the clip to me, my mouth was agape. How? What is the world coming to? With a Bible in his left hand and his glass of alcohol in his right, this man who wore a tall and firm mitre (hat of a bishop), initiated new members into the fold.

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Agh, and the zeal with which they sang and danced around in the drinking bar! Some even testified of how much they felt so good being in the church; how they felt accepted; how they enjoyed their freedom of worship. Oh, God is merciful, very merciful. I don’t want to imagine how they’ll drink themselves to stupor during Christmas service on the morn of 25th December, as they celebrate the birth of our Lord. Hmm.

Let me end by telling you about how much I have come to cherish the Puerto Rican singer and songwriter called José Feliciano. In 1970, he actually originated the song we “damage” in so many ways: Feliz Navidad. I choose to dedicate today’s write-up to José Feliciano because he has given us one of the favourite Christmas songs on the lips of every school child and adult.

Maybe I should let you in a bit on who this great composer is. His actual name was José Montserrate Feliciano Garcia, and was born on 19th September, 1945. It was when he became “guy-guy” that he shortened the name to simply José Feliciano. Hahaha.

He became blind at birth as a result of congenital glaucoma and was exposed to music when he was three years old. His family relocated from his birth country to the USA when he was five.

Twenty-one years later, he met an art student by name Susan Omillian and dated her for eleven years. In 1982, they got married and were blessed with three children – Melissa, Jonathan and Michael.

José Feliciano, wherever you are, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart. I dedicate today’s story to you.

Feliz Navidad has seriously been sang damagingly in many ways. I had a good laugh when a group of school children who had come to a neighbour’s apartment to buy ice cream sang the famous carol. With the help of my phone, I recorded the song which they sang one after the other, as had been requested by my neighbour.

A girl, about twelve years old went like, ‘Filix nabi die, filix nabi die, filix nabi die, asprinyanya Filix didai.’ Another boy, about the same age rendered it thus: ‘Feli navida, feli navida, feli navida, enwiwiase feli nida.’ The boy who got us laughing most was the one who sang the song so confidently, one would believe he really had gotten the lyrics right: ‘Feiriiz nagita, feiriiz nagita, feiriiz nagita, espiranya feiriiz zita.’ As for the awana wish you a Merry Christmas, all the pupils could chorus it as well as it were.

I began to wonder how many others, both young and old, could be damaging José Feliciano’s song. Well, I decided to save the situation by bringing us the correct words to the lovely carol: Feliz Navidad, prosperro aňo y felicidad, meaning Merry Christmas, a Prosperous Year and Happiness.

Well, I want to believe that now you can sing the beautifully soothing pop carol with confidence because you know the lyrics. Make no mistakes. It’s Feliz Navidad, prosperro aňo y felicidad.

Have a blessed weekend. More from my desk next week.

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