The tale of black bodies (a poem by Pearl Khumalo)

 

Not by coincidence,
Not by mistake

Black bodies
Overlaboured
Underpaid

Black skins recited dissent
Cried for approval
Their noses, disappointments,
Too round, unsophisticated.

On their beleaguered legs
They carried the weight of their fallen hopes,
While they wore their complacent smiles.

Black faces, dangerous faces,
And therefore guilty before arrest,
Guilty before trial,
Guilty before.

Not by coincidence,
Not by mistake.

Black bodies resided amongst the open sewers,
Amongst reconstruction & development programmes,
Amongst dirt.

Not by coincidence,
Not by mistake.

That black voices had no sound,
No weight,
No merit.

Not by coincidence,
Not by mistake.

That black stories were blotted,
Revised and rewritten.

That black wealth was signed off,
On foreign paper,
In a foreign language.

While black bodies,
Overlaboured
Underpaid.

Not by coincidence,
Not by mistake.

The black elitist’s rift,
Black puppets with consolatory toys,
Blind to the black masses.

That the black puppet danced to the rhythm of the white puppeteer.

Black crocodile tears,
Run from the eyes of the black apathetic.

Consoled by interim hashtags,
And half-hearted posts and papers.

Not by coincidence,
Not by mistake.

That white wealth continued to exclude,
Black bodies in education,
Black bodies at work,
Black bodies in existence.

Black bodies continued to drag their bodies,
Into reiterated dark skins,
Into heavy hopes,
Into another day.

Not by coincidence,
Not by mistake.

– Pearl Khumalo

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