Thursday, May 20, 2010


Growing up white
in stark contrast
Feeling my privilege like a tumor on my heart
Coming to know you
Like I never knew you
As if I had watched the lie of my childhood
In the old bioscope
With 3D glasses on
Through the lens of a telescope searching for stars
Through my mother’s lace curtains
From beneath those starched white sheets
Swaddled on the back of black
Like so many white children
Orphans to those women who raised them
Who left the townships
And cleaned our homes
Polishing the silver
Washing the clothes
Eating off enamel plates on the back stoep
In pretty pastel uniforms
Doeks on their heads
*Dom pas in their bra’s
While we sat happy
In our safe white city
And on the news* Die Groot Krokodil
Waved his finger like a tyrant
And everyone knew
That this was just survival
Best get them before they get you
If it wasn’t* Die Swart gevaar
It was the red one
Communists on the periphery
Every black man a *‘skelm’
Waiting to murder you in your warm bed
Waiting to rape your daughters
Waiting to steal from you
My Cuntry
My home
Torn from you
My whiteness like blight
Like an ulcer
This shameful skin
Scrubbed red
Surely bone will not betray me?
And still you find a way to hold me
In your broken arms
In your vast cradle
When others say you are not of this place
Go back to where you come from
*‘wit ou’
You have no volk
You have no clan
You have no right

*Dumb pass – the identity document carried by black people during apartheid
*Die Groot Krokodil – The great Crocodile – Nickname for South African Apartheid president PW Botha
*Die Swart Gevaar – The Black Threat
*skelm – Afrikaans slang word for Villain, criminal.
*wit ou – white person (Afrikaans slang)


On the day I was born
Umkhonto we Sizwe
Blew up New Canada railway line in Soweto
‘The year of the Spear’
I was dumb before a single word had passed my lips
I was unconscious
A cup for your complication
A womb for your legacy

1 comment:

  1. Why is it the female poets who make me cry? Absolutely love this one :D

    Love and Cookies