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2012 Wits Poetry Festival

Jennifer nxolo musangi


Tsegofatso, moderator and Neo Musangi reading her poetry at the Lucky Bean, Mellville at the Wits Poetry Festival.


The Child that Died

by Neo Musangi

The child that died
In the shanty-towns of the cordoned heart
No longer lifts her fist against her mother
For they no longer shout Africa! Shouting the breath
Of freedom and the veld

The child that died
In the streets of her slain pride
Cannot lift her fist against her father
In the march of generations
That no longer shout Africa! Shouting the breath
Of righteousness and blood

For the child is dead
In Nyanga, Mokopane, Soweto, Soeding
A child dies again and again
The child stays alive
To her pain and agony

The child that died
Lies in her mother’s house cold
With a bullet through her chest
A braai fork through her neck
Lifeless in her mother’s lap

The child that died
Forbids us from calling her name
For how shall we mention her name
In the midst of her mother’s screams
And the government’s silence?

The child that died
No longer peers through the windows of houses
and into the hearts of mothers
For they strike her over, over and over again
In her death they have been killing her

This child who just longed to play in the sun at Nyanga
The little girl who just wanted to love girls in Limpopo
The boy who, in Kuruman, just desired to be with boys
The child dead before a giant journeys over the whole world
That child is nowhere

And we die with this child
We are dead to this child
How shall we call your name child of our mother?
And speak of love amidst hate crimes?
The child is dead
To herself
To us
Carrying no hate

Source: Adapted from The Child that Died at Nyanga by Ingrid Jonker














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