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South Africa, a Poem and a Moment to Look Back

Amandla…Ngawethu. This is a poem for South Africa.

This is a vocal articulation of tones that ring sounds and

speak clicks for the rainbow nations eleven languages.

This is for Amaqabane, Comrades, and Abuntu.

This poem is for the 27 minute boat ride to Robben Island jail,

where Mandela spent 27 years before becoming

the president of a country that once shackled his ideas,

like locks on the lucrative minds of a child with unlimited potential

this poem is Nelson Mandela’s empty jail cell that

blatantly echoes the insurmountable potential of humanity,

when hate sets like suns going down at the point where two oceans meet.

This poem is for cape’s point, table mountain, and lions head,

for the feeling you get when standing on a mountain and

holding the heartbeat of a city in the palm of your hand.

This is for when it gets dark in rural South Africa,

and the stars bring just enough light to make

Venda villages forget about not having electricity,

or running water, or a toilet that has the technology

to flush all the struggle down pipes that represent first worlds.

This is for when is gets dark,

in cape town, and the music on long street

booms the noises of an American led cultural imperialism.

This poem cannot be written without denouncing colonization and imperialism,

without acknowledging when history turned humanity on his side and raped him,

until protest made rationality remember that it was humanities land to begin with,

when facing the past is as painful and as subtle

as an unseen splinter, burrowed under the surface layer of one’s skin.

When remnants of apartheid spread like disease

that parallels HIV victims counting t-cells in townships,

but only dieing from poverty.

This poem is for South Africans who protest for equality.

For Zaki, Joey, Deron, and Zikode…For Xholani, Nati, and Asanda.

For all those fighting so that the voices of the poor

are heard in the hallways of parliament in Cape Town

and inside Courtrooms on Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg.

This poem is for the truth and reconciliation,

how commissions build communities that were once at odds.

When oppressors face a jury of those who were once oppressed,

and activist defeat all the odds to make opportunity obtainable

and playing fields even, even when resources were unevenly distributed,

this is for those who overcame,

for power being more than just an unattained chant for the disenfranchised.

This poem is to make sure the broken pieces in peoples lives are put back together again.

When simply sharing ones story gives legitimacy to a plethora of experiences,

where experience Is more legitimate than any PHD an elite university can offer

This poem is for those who are Xhosa and Zulu and Colored and Afrikaans

For the future dedicating itself to making lives grow stonger.

This poem is for South Africa. Amandla…Ngawethu. Power…it is ours.


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