Truth

So for now I’ve chosen to forget
How I cringe every time the memories blind me
How the shame envelopes me
Even though I didn’t ask for it
Even though you were the one who violated me
So now I’m here left with the invisible scars
Reminders of that moment
Those seconds you dared to corner me
Paralysed me with just a touch
Unwanted
Not asked for
I stare at the blank pages
Ears dulled by the din of the full room
I dither
Unable to find the words
That will convince them
What I say is true

stranger, gone

Sometimes I like walking with my eyes fixed on the ground. My bored feet start to kick over rocks uncovering uselessly precious treasure. It is then that i stop to wonder if it is all worth it.

The other day while looking for directions to his place, I found myself in front of an unfamiliar building. Something about its pretentious facade reminded me of something I’ve seen before. Somewhere I’d been before.

I carry on heading, with purpose, to this place where I hope he will be.

It probably helps that the slight breeze of spring had replaced the heaviness of the wintry wetness. Goodness knows, the flimsy dress and sandals don’t provide much cover.

We finally meet. Strangers whose souls had probably met in another realm. I know because  eyes recognise mine from across the street. The bodies milling around us, separating us from the moment.

Something happens. A hint of lightning rumbling. Distracts him for a second. A delivery truck passes by. Hiding him from my view only for seconds. When it finally passes. He’s not there.

Gone. The word leaves my lips. How do I? How do I? These words keep playing over and over in my head. Because I know what I saw.

My anthem

Perhaps this is my anthem
My soul’s call
The place where your strings stitch my heart whole
Remember that time we said we’d wait
For the right moment
Where your stars and my moon align
An intersection

Perhaps this is my mind’s way
Of getting rid of problematic dreams
That refuse to leave me during the day
Nightmares holding my sanity ransom
Even when your sun has overpowered
The shade threatening to take over

Maybe stars never align
Maybe moons forget
Maybe the clouds need to be reminded
That even the sun needs a break now and then

Grandma

I don’t know her name
I’m told she was bold and crude
I cannot recount the history of her time
Yet I’m told the marks on my forehead are hers

In 1939, he died
I’m told his grave is in this vicinity
I danced a homecoming dance around where I hope his bones may be
Summoning him to recognise me

She’s rumoured to have moved around
House to house with her goats and sheep
A woman alone with her young children
I’m told she was bold and crude
Tough living made her black skin impenetrable

Men came and went
Her bold spirit remained
A stained cloth she sometimes used to wipe the soot off her weary brow
Resilience isn’t a thing
We talk about
It’s a place we occupy
Whether we choose to or not

I may not know her name
To know she was bold and crude
Is enough for now

Hostage

The relentless demons of a beautiful imagination hold me hostage long enough to witness the next day’s rising Sun.
I whisper goodbye to the passing night as I try to slurp sleep slowly to avoid losing it again.
The loud banging inside my chest begs to spew the layering bile as far as i can reach.
Your nearness makes it too easy to detest you.
To allow the taste of your sins pepper my palette

I don’t own your transgressions
Your selfishness can never be mine
I don’t have to feel shame because of who you’ve chosen to be
Don’t think of me
I won’t remember you

baby fat

They tell me ‘he’s beautiful’,

‘He has dreamy skin’

and ‘a perfect smile’.

Some even say, ‘I could just eat him up’.

I nod and smile.

The sweat around the folds of my belly

streaming,

uncomfortably in the spot where my son sits on my hip.

A constant reminder of the ravages of pregnancy

And what happens

when the baby fat simply refuses to budge.

I smile

even though my soul longs

for the body it used to inhabit…

i am afraid

I’m afraid regret will make me more bitter than I already am
I wear it like a second skin
Close enough for its stench to be a constant reminder
Of why I hate
You
Of why I hate
This
What we’ve become
Familiar strangers
Circling in suffering
I am afraid regret causes me to murder you a thousand times each day
I allow it to fill my chest until I can’t breathe
Heavily it rests, waiting for me to release
The hate of me
I harbour

Mr Meantime

I offered you refuge.
Your exit from the inside.
Bursts of freedom
now and then.
I was a reminder that even
shackles have spaces to manouvre.
Late nights spent
gazing at moons,
wishing upon stars for a time we had no idea would ever come.
We talked our way into many dawns.
Unable to go home,
arrested by the possibility of the electricity between us.
I needed you as much as you relied on me.

21 March – not just another holiday

In its 2014 Human Rights Watch Report, the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) reports that ‘South Africa continues to struggle with the legacy of apartheid and the challenges relating to addressing increasing demands from its citizens for the realisation of economic and social rights as well as respect for fundamental civil and political freedoms.’

Human Rights Day is not just another holiday. Many lives were lost, literally, while fighting inhumane laws and the right to freedom. What makes this day remarkable is that through combined effort, South Africans were able to put pressure on the apartheid government as a voice that could no longer be suppressed.

On 30 March 1960, the government of the day declared a State of emergency and more than 18 000 people were detained amidst demonstrations, protest marches, marches, strikes and riots raging across South Africa. The state of emergency came just a week after the Sharpeville massacre on 21 March 1960.

On that day, about 7 000 protesters from Sharpeville gathered around a police station in demonstration against pass laws. At some point, the police opened fire and 69 people were killed, including 8 women and 10 children, and 180 injured, including 31 women and 19 children. Many were shot in the back as they turned to flee.

UNESCO marks 21 March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in memory of the massacre.

Fast forward to 1998, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that the police actions on 21 March 1960 constituted “gross human rights violations in that excessive force was unnecessarily used to stop a gathering of unarmed people”.

Human rights are the basic rights everyone has, simply because they are human. This list of human rights is contained in the Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the South African Constitution, the highest law in the country.

On 16 August 2012, members of the South African Police Service, opened fire on a group of strikers. 34 people were killed, and at least 78 were wounded.The incident was the single most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since the Sharpeville massacre during the apartheid era.

Reuters described the incident as causing South Africa to question “its post-apartheid soul”.

Greg Marinovich,South African photojournalist, film maker, photo editor, and member of the Bang-Bang Club, examined the scene and found that the majority of victims were shot 300 meters from police lines where the main “charge” took place.[16] He claims that some of the victims “appear to have been shot at close range or crushed by police vehicles.” Some victims were shot in a “koppie” where they were cornered and could have been arrested. Due to local geography they must have been shot at close range. Few bullets were found in the surrounding area, suggesting they did not die in a hail of bullets. Marinovich concludes that “It is becoming clear to this reporter that heavily armed police hunted down and killed the miners in cold blood.”

President Jacob Zuma, who had been attending a regional summit in Mozambique at the time of the  shooting, expressed “shock and dismay” at the violence and called on the unions to work with the government to “arrest the situation before it spirals out of control”. The following, Jacob Zuma travelled to the location of the shootings and ordered a commission of inquiry to be formed, saying: “Today is not an occasion for blame, finger-pointing or recrimination.” Zuma also declared a week of national mourning for the strikers who were killed.

On 21 August 2012, Defense Minister Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula became the first South African government official to apologise for the shooting and asked for forgiveness from angry miners who held up plastic packets of bullet casings to her. “We agree, as you see us standing in front of you here, that blood was shed at this place. We agree that it was not something to our liking and, as a representative of the government, I apologise…I am begging, I beg and I apologise, may you find forgiveness in your hearts.”

The Inquiry into the Marikana shooting is still ongoing.

– See more at: http://www.activateleadership.co.za/blog/21-march—not-just-another-holiday#sthash.71HCwneT.dpuf