A poem by Khensani Masisi.
I stand out in the midst of your power and supremacy degraded by your battering and hatred for me because I am.
But what are you?
Dwelling in self-hate concealed by your self-righteousness.
Your supreme nature encroaches my existence, stops me from inhaling my air that you have so wrongfully taken.
But you know nothing more but to take and strip me of my dignity.
Stripped of my integrity and being, my very existence is said to be non-existent without your being.
False lies perpetuated in classrooms and lecture rooms, to make me feel insignificant and worthless.
Told that my story begins and ends with your supreme nature told that being dark skinned is
An umbilical cord waiting to be cut and destroyed
Destroyed are the physical ropes and chains you tied my forefathers with.
Still strapped and chained like a slave, like a dog chained to Magogo’s gate.
Mentally enslaved is what it’s called
Taught to hate my kind
Taught to hate myself
Taught that there is no beauty in darkness, portrayed as evil in the midst of white purity
Symbols of oppression ever lasting …
Engraved in institutions
Symbols of the wretched past creating deja vu moment in the present tense dropping statutes like their bombs just to remove a piece of you.
BLACK as you call me however defined as
Once again stripped of my beauty
my truest nature
The truancy of the circumstance shall fall to your feet just as you made my parents and grandparents kneel and beg.
Beg you for nothing shall be my stance look what you did to my people in Stellenbosch in post-apartheid, a myth you’ve tried to entrench deep within my subconscious.
Your pathetic apartheid system is yet to fall.
Just like your white supremacist nature.
“I ask God why he made me black” my dear master that shall not be the norm.
My dear mother posted as a naked body a fascination that whiteness has with marvellous and luscious curves that my mother had worn with an esteem so high only the strongest form of oppression and degradation could destroy.
You’ve put her statue with pride in claims of celebration in the UCT library
Indeed all you have done is perpetuate what colonial masters have done to her.
Imperialise me, another form of colonialism just a new term to justify
And set me up to fail by implementing an Afrikaans policy at tertiary level just to keep me locked in chains.
You heard my cries
You saw my self-hate
You saw how powerless I am
You saw my pain
I shout but you don’t hear, you say my anger should die whilst your supremacy still reigns
It rains in my heart, there’s a storm that will not calm until I have justice.
That is why in UKZN we burnt your structures that are supposed to help me.
That’s why at UJ you called the police on my friends
That’s why at UCT you removed a symbol but will dismantle the structures that perpetuate your nature and keep me chained in misery.
That’s why at Wits you suspended/expelled me with no just cause.
This is why I CANNOT BREATHE, in the words of Fanon
Oh! How wretched have you made this Earth?
Truly I can no longer suppress myself
I can no longer pretend
And accept your oppressive nature.
You ask why do I conform to you even when I am against your supremacist violence by speaking my language…
Well I tell you this, I shall no longer spit your foreign lingo and swirl your accent like saliva around my mouth just to sound supposedly adequate to you to meet your requirements.
“Don’t call me black, stripping me of my autonomy to create my own identity”
The identity you tried so hard to bury, disregard and hide but thankfully it’s been uncovered, not so easily tarnished is the history you refuse to embed in the cramped lecture rooms and classrooms.
Mentally enslaved, does my capacity for knowledge and mental emancipation frighten you.
The silent cries that I cried end here the generational curse of a black man crying for his dignity and freedom dies with your white supremacy.
My eyes run dry because I see that I shall not dwell in self-pity and misery because that is your indulgence.
The mental slavery Earnie preaches of is a replica of what needs to die call me me.
Don’t call me black knowing that it only reflects exactly what you think of me.
Entrenched deep within my subconscious is fear of speaking out to your tyranny.
Men called boys by boys
So much for democracy and constitutional rights when you still howl the words
Once again my mother’s body shamed in a university’s library
Once again my mother shamed, her dignity stripped from her
Reduced to nothing but cheap labour.
Once again my mother is reduced to nothing but slavery
Works in an institution of learning but she can’t take her children there
Once again my mother and father reduced to nothing but labour.
Stripped of my dignity
My integrity gone and nowhere to be seen
I CAN NO LONGER BREATHE.