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The Salon

what do we owe each other?

Ruha Benjamin


where are were going?
how long will it take?
what will we find?
are we there yet?
what do we owe each other
along the way?

questions of the bus
propel us on this mortal journey
through time.

my dad passed away
a few months before the bus
so he travelled with me
n posed his own questions along the way.

what is this journey, really?
smart people being smart,
creative people being creative,
activist people being active.
no, really.
what is this journey?

/ˈsākrid /


joburg - swaziland - durban - qunu - ginsberg - cape town
museum africa - house on fire - bat centre - sliding rock -
bikos grave - district six

< bantu steven bikos resting place >

there it hit me
how dirt becomes holy
rocks become reverent
intellectuals become pilgrims
when we honor the sacrifice
of this young man
who died for our freedom.

how does something
become sacred after all?

my dad insisted.



everyday places
turned sacred.
the graffiti-covered bridge in ginsberg
images of biko n malcolm n the panthers
transnational solidarity pouring out of paint canisters
the third class train compartment to kalk bay
where preaching patrons don't wait for sunday
where the gospel according to stevie wonder
consecrated our commute
everyday places

it turns out
are not for preserving
but about giving things up

leaving us to figure out
if the sacred is potentially everywhere
brought to life by sacrifice
n if social change requires it...

do we owe each other?