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The Salon

On Exhaustion over a Lack of Understanding

 
Ameera Conrad

(UCT, 4th Year B.A. Theatre and Performance)

I am tired
God Almighty, I am tired
of being told that we need to move on, that we need to forget,
that we need to put the past behind us, that Apartheid is over.

They don't understand.
We never will.
Our bodies are monuments of centuries of torture, trauma
terror
these exist in us
we live it every day.
We built this country
slaves
whips at our backs -
The Man holding the whip did not build -
we built.

Apartheid is not over.
No magic TRC wand can bippity-boppity-boo! it away. Our glass carriage is still a pumpkin,
rotting,
pulled by rats.
A polite revolution over tea and crumpets, good Sir, ‘twas the order of the day.

When could we mourn?
When could we cry?
When could we scream
for our loved ones lost
our chances trampled on?

Please Mastah Baas Meneer, Asseblief,
Gee my ‘n kans om te huil
vir my ma
en my pa
en my susters
en broers
gee my ‘n kans om te huil.

Let me stand up for myself
and for those who stood before me. Let me march for myself
and for those who marched before me. Let me call out AMANDLA
and raise my fist
and let me cry
after hundreds of years
let me cry.

The Fall

 
Ameera Conrad

(UCT, 4th Year B.A. Theatre and Performance)

From half a world away
I wait for wifi to watch
tyrants toppled by the hands of those tired
of shouting into the abyss.
People
poured libations on the monuments of men
(yes, men)
who drowned our ancestors with dictionary definitions
of who they were.
Who they could be.
Who we are.
Who we can be.
But now those bearers have found
their pots
are empty.
We
have taken these vessels
and thrown them up
to shatter ceilings
of crystal
created
to keep us from noticing that it was being lowered
onto
us.
We have seen the vast blackness of night above us.
And it is beautiful.
Though we have still more to endure
we have started to climb out from the holes
we were buried in hundreds of years ago.
We have cut our feet out of their ball-and-chains
and are finally pulling ourselves up.
Up
towards the beauty of blackness.
Up
towards the broken fragments of the past.
Up
towards a vast and expansive future