A HISTORY OF MY PEOPLE

A Dedication for Mothers and Fathers

by Ruwenne M.

We inhabited the dry land that was drowned by the monsoons
We prayed to the God of Wealth and the God of Education
We lived in with our own practices that worked for our people
We reveled in the jewels and colors from the land
They docked and told us our King should be replaced with a crown
They raped the land of its wealth and the women of their virtue
They relished in our jewels and took our colors to paint their land

They lent us the wooden vessels filled with promises
They promised to break our society free from its caste
They convinced us we’d get our own Gold

I see my mother whispering to people to meet in Soweto
I see my grandmother beg my father to “Make it home”
I see my grandfather command him to “Be safe”
I see my father being shot amongst his beaten brothers
I see my aunts organizing tea for the rebellion
I see my uncles bite their lips till they bleed
I see a family plead for education for their children,
So that one day they will not be afraid

     There are children being educated,
          with one hand tied behind their back.
               There are families who have collected enough “Gold” to escape?
                    There is a future if you “Just work hard enough.”
                         I see myself standing with my brothers and sisters,
                              Being asked to explain where we ‘really come from.’
                                   Do I dare explain it is not from a place,
                                        but from a collection of oppressions?

                                             In my calculated silence, I am riddled with questions
                                                  “If you’re from Africa why are you not black?”
                                                       “Tell your parents it’s your life not theirs”
                                                            “But where are you really from?”
                                                                 “You shouldn’t sit in the sun.”
                                                                      “I’m eating Indian tonight!”
                                                                           “Drie Hookie Cookie”
                                                                                “Curry Muncher”
                                                                                     “Coolie”


Picture1.png

Source: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/sekoto.jpg