Author: Iloti Mutoka
Title: Goodnight, Queen Aretha
I grew up surrounded by strong spirits. Spirits of resilience, of light. Spirits of force, of strength, utter, sheer, unvarnished, iron will.
Spirits of love, spirits of passion, spirits that defied hurting and tragedy to shine, to rise, to love, again.
These spirits, of such pure devotion to those they knew, of utter kindness to those whom they did not.
These women, my aunts, my grandmother. My cousins, my sisters, My Mother. Women of power and of heart. Of laughter that shakes the ground. Of divinity that moves the earth. Of convictions that colour the sky.
These women. These women that will shield me from harm, shield me and save me, who will sacrifice and suffer for me.
In my 33 years I have sang one song as an homage to them. I didn't know its meaning when that was just one three, but I saw them. I saw them gain and give strength. I saw them fall and help each other up. I saw them bleed and I saw them cry and I heard them wail.
I knew nothing about it. I probably know even less now. But I still say. You are natural women, and I want to honour you, and thank you, as my own tribute, to Queen Aretha.