Tribute to Bernard Mukeba


I learned that you would never again return to the Josefa House where you were staying, on March 21, 2023, the day of spring, the day when the living comes back to visit us to let us know, by this recurrence, by its frequent incursions into our lives, that it is eternal.

Here, Bernard, it is the hour of nature's bursting forth, and in spite of its unequalled beauty, it is only the timid manifestation of its full, whole and perennial existence, in an impalpable elsewhere ... and you, you preferred this eternity to these intermittent bits of life, borrowed from our small perishable bodies.

Bernard, you were a loving father like I dreamed of having ... Attentive to the needs of Moses, your 9 year old son. Very early on, you detected that he liked the piano and enrolled him in a music academy. You were gentle, delicate and calm with your child and in him the seed of a loving and patient fatherhood is now germinating.

Sometimes, to get rid of the "bickering" related to the logistics of the common areas of the Josefa House, you would offer hugs...

You were a handsome man in the prime of life, Bernard, and you left after having met a woman who supported you in your legal proceedings.

Proceedings that would have allowed you to finally exercise your right as a father, your right of connection to your child, to cherish Moses...

Don't worry, Bernard, your presence, even if it is too short-lived in his eyes, will have nourished him intensely and your son will be, without a doubt, a man of integrity, sensitivity and justice.

Bernard, your room is empty...a few weeks ago, I slipped an envelope, inadvertently opened, under your door...This trip that you were supposed to undertake to Montreal, after the collective dinner of February 20, at the Josefa house where we ate together, finally led you to Johannesburg, your native land, and became longer than expected. The postcard we expected from you will never arrive.

During that meal, you thanked the head of Josefa House several times for taking you in while you were going through a divorce.

No one left to protect. Nothing to gain or lose now. Nothing to hope for. Everything is there.

Your radiant smile and the luminous, benevolent and beneficial life in which you are now bathed, accompany us.

There is no one left to fight. Nothing to wait for or to project. Nothing to look for. Everything is there.

No one to love any more, Bernard, for you are love, you are in the buds and flowers, in the precious stones that fascinated you, in the white clouds, in the rain that waters, in the wind that blows and carries away the seeds...

Remember, Bernard, we sang together (with Melodie and Lodewijck) the gospel song of freedom: "Oh Freedom". That evening you were wearing a T-shirt with Nelson Mandela's face printed on it.

A thought to your dear mother who raised you and your brother alone, over there in South Africa.

Peace to you, Ukuthula, Bernard Mukeba Kalenga.