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

 

ii

 

On the day I was born

Umkhonto we Sizwe

Blew up New Canada railway line in Soweto

1979

‘The year of the Spear’

I was dumb before a single word had passed my lips

I was unconscious

Infinite

A cup for your complication

A womb for your legacy

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