Opinionista Khensani Masisi 9 October 2016

Stripped of My Dignity and Integrity Hence I Can No Longer Breathe

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

A tyranny

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

Mentally enslaved

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.

Mock me

Shame me

Hate me

Imperialise me, another form of colonialism just a new term to justify

Demoralise me

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

Bad pay

No rights

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




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