It’s Sunday. I’m in church. The Queen has died. I’m not in church because the Queen has died. This is my church. There’s a sermon. The Reverend says that Queen Elizabeth II couldn’t have been both a stoic and a woman of God (she’s been called both)—stoics don’t pray. Maybe she was simply stoic. An adjective. We rise to sing the national anthem. God Save the King. I’m ready. I can’t do it. Voices swell, emotion permeates every miniscule pore of the moment. Not me. Although, perhaps this is not entirely true. I feel something. But not what the minute calls for. The congregation remains standing. More singing. I Vow to Thee, My Country. For England, I can do it. I open my mouth… nope, not happening. Where are the Springboks? I chuckle (silently). Seriously though. I can’t. This song is for my country. For South Africa. (Even if rugby stole the tune.)The World in Union. I know, I know. Laughable. I’ve lived here for fifteen years. Why can’t I just flippen sing; it’s only words. Words words words. I am here for a reason. I chose. London. Something rises up. Up and up. I have to close my mouth so that I don’t vomit it out. This thing. It resides deep in my core. I need it. Because if I lose it, I’m neither here, nor there. Betrayal—I think I’ve used up all my lives. And so, I purse my lips. Choking down my rebellion. I am the dust… This Queen. She was not my Queen. I thank her for having me in her home. Maybe one day, I will sing. But it is not today.
Author & Storyteller: Andrea Zanin
Andrea is a writer, wife, mother and dreamer; also the author of this website. She moved to London in 2006 to earn £s, travel, see bands and buy 24-up Dr Martens—which she did, and then ended up staying. Andrea lives in North London with her husband (also a Saffa) and five children. She loves this grand old city but misses her home and wishes her children could say “lekker” (like a South African) and knew what a “khoki” is.