Tsietsi


And so the chorus goes:
"Cheers to the free-ken
weak and
we hope you never show your face 
Again... yea yea
I'll tweet to that.
Coz outchea
Ons kry groot Ahhhs
Vir ons Afrikaans....yea yea"

No one can believe
how outstanding my English is
They were never ready for 
my tight genes
my fine twang
Now we have money trees in our
Schoolyards
With leaves that sweat 
of excellence
Like the beads on the foreheads of
my forefathers that
just kept sweating
from the running. 

On the trophy stand
lies an en-grave-d stone
that my great uncle threw
in SoWhereTo.
Now we're on the up
And rising to the top 
of our class.

My name is Tsietsi
But my friends call me Tsikles
I owe my being to the rolling pavements 
of Jabavu
The silent streams of blood
Flowing under the belly of the earth 
of bodies
That you might still hear screaming in the dead
of dawn
Before Mageza's horn sounds the
alarm for my distant cousins to rise
Before Mkhozi's magwinya finish 
and all we'll be left with for lunch
is white liver and 2 sli
Before the school gates close 
And leave us outchea
with the Nyaope boys 
who walk around like Zombies 
with brains like watermelon 
- probably from all the TVs they've been smoking.

I'm growing anxious just reading this essay
Ma'am
I feel like I should 
do more than just shake my head
when I see Mark and Jonathan
giggle at Prudence as she 
stumbles on a Shakespeare sonnet...
I wish I could reach out to her 
as Ashleigh and Re-a-bet-sweee
almost knock over her white liver
and magwinya lunchbox
while running to the tuckshop.

Do they have any idea how
early she had to rise
to get to Mkhozi's magwinya haven, 
so that the Rea Vaya wouldn't leave her
so that she could get to town
before the queue gets too long
to get to her school in the Northern suburbs?
Do they realise how hard her mother
works those toilets to send her to this school? 
Sometimes I wish I could throw this
En-grave-d stone
at anyone who frowns at her
When she sometimes pierces
through her trials and laughs from the depths of her
heart like HE HE.
I want all those who give her funny 
looks and call her names like 'ghetto' 
and 'loud' to realise that break-time 
is quite literally her break time.
Where she gets to be a kid again, 
before her journey back to SoWhereTo,
Where she has to hurry home to 
pick up her brother from nursery school,
clean the house and prepare supper
before doing her she studies for that
English literature paper, 
praying that there won't be 
loadshedding tonight.

I want them to feel what it's
Like when she sits through 
The announcement of 
Her mates' extra-mural school colours
That she'll never get
coz Mageza's Siyaya doesn't
go from Rivonia to SoWhereTo
after dark -
Especially if she doesn't want the
Zombies standing by the danger
to start slurring things like
"slender never gets tired" 
"Mabhebheza" or "Nazi izinto zami" 
at her as she walks home from the station.

Her mother will breathe a sigh of relief 
as she walks in the door in her school
uniform -
she still gets haunted by the image
of her brother walking out the same door
many years ago...
He never made it back from school that day
and all they got was a stone and a note
saying:
"Tsietsi is gone."

Comments

T said…
My sister. We shall talk feelin all kindza thingz.

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