By Koketso Molete, South Africa:
“Ubaba ufuna azomthuma, thuma mina, we baba thuma mina, kulezizizwe zonke,thuma mina, we baba thuma mina, thuma mina ndiyothumeka,thuma mina, we baba thuma mina,thuma mina, we baba, thuma mina, kulama gumbi amane, thuma mina, we baba thuma mina…”
I just got back from what felt like forty days and forty nights of protesting. Undressed by the eyes of men who were supposedly meant to protect me – my thighs are now decorated with “rubber bullet hickies”. Layering my eyes are tears of emotional hurt, physical hurt and well…the sting of teargas.
I really had no intentions of crying, but what is one to do when the devil setting you ablaze is your own sister who boldly says, “Dear protestors please stop protesting because the institution will not be able to function if you don’t pay your dues”. Half way through reading this post my brain goes icy silent and with just one blink, my cheeks are soaked in tears. I really had no intentions of crying, I was willing to take all the fire from the sun, fire from the bullets, fire from the words spewed by management, whiteness and the media – tears free. But the amour I had put on all day to protect myself finally melted when the fork churning the fire was now held by my sister.
What black body still believes we have to pay more over and above what we’ve paid already? Maybe she is saying this because she is not there in the morning when black children have to pray that God grants them the peace to be able to spend the entire day going in and out of buildings whose walls are made of stacked up bodies of their ancestors. Maybe she is saying this because she’s not at that desk begging her spirit “xola moya wami” as she flips through books whose pages are made of trees that hoisted her grandfather. Or maybe she is saying this because it makes sense for her to pay for the ink that will print a language that her mother’s milk did not carve on her tongue. Maybe, to my sister it makes sense how a ”whole human being” could be shipped for free but books can’t.
Or maybe, just maybe, my sister is a mirror image of me 10 months ago just about to leave high-school. She, like me, is excited to get into university because the coloniser’s syllabus has convinced her that this is the land of milk and honey.
God, with the last pint of energy I have, may you please grant me the wisdom to teach my people that the price has been paid for them; that they need not pay anymore for the buildings that stand erect because of their ancestor’s hard work, that they should worry not – the blood of their ancestors that was spilt will nourish their gardens, if needs be the spirit of the slaves who were thrown in the ocean will propel the books their way. Above all else, God, help me to teach your children to rise against the gravity of oppression.
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