“Found in Translation”

Lovely poetry

Cosmic Heroism

I come from a country

with eleven official languages,

where the first speech

was painted on cave walls

with the red ochre of our soil

and the charcoal of our fires.

A country of the Old People,

of Shaka, Cetswayo and Dingaan,

Smuts, Verwoed, Botha

Rolihlahla, Tambo and Sisulu.

The land of Saartjie Baartman

and spitfire sunsets.

I come from a country where

names were used to divide,

to oppress,

carrying a history of

separate development

that echoes in guttural growls

and clicks no colonial mouth

could ever find its way around.

I know the power of names

because I understand so few

in a country where many take

one name for the modern

One name for the traditional,

far removed from me.

I know the power of names

because I do not know so many,

cut off by barricades placed

in the townships of our past.

But I also…

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