30(2) stilus: Alfred Schaffer

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een opvallend kenmerk van de huid is de kleur. dankzij huidskleuren kan de mens zich in verschillende klimaten handhaven. [1] [werktitel]

collage van fragmenten uit zuid-afrikaanse gedichten in zoeloe, engels, noord-sotho, afrikaans en xhosa (zonder fragmenten uit de andere zes officiële zuid-afrikaanse talen, te weten zuid-sotho, venda, swazi, tsonga, zuid-ndebele en tswana – om logistieke redenen), afgespeeld op een oude bandrecorder, voor 376 zuid-afrikaanse rand op de kop getikt in durham avenue in salt river, kaapstad [ondertitel]

alfred schaffer

 

Male in dark clothing and brown and white golf shoes wandering aimlessly in Montrose looking inently [sic] at the houses
– My gardener waiting for me to arrive home and let him in
🙂

Helena heights n. watch appgroup, 15-4-2019 [motto]

 

stuurwiel, mokoloko, cousins, kind, mkulu, hande, dust, child, zingadlanga [keywords]

 

 

[Suid-Afrika, jou gode kom in allerlei kleure.]

[I saw as a child / a small white boy / sitting in a car / and I never knew why / when my home was so far / and his so near / I had to walk]

[Ek wil geen mooier wêreld hê as hierdie, / ek wil nie blind wees, blind en doof en koud.]

[I am da river Niger, / I am da spirit of black Africa]

[Mabhubhe siduli obhubha siduli / Kwizwe lonke lipela Ncincilili! / Nantshutshiso yenziwayo Siyavuma / Niqwelile nibonanje Siyavuma.]

[’n Kind is so warm, so los en so lig – / na die Soweto-opstand het ’n swart seuntjie / argeloos op ’n motorwrak gespeel.]

[oh rights and race / darkness and light / the ways of peace / is a deafening roar / black and white / is a big big trouble / a big big trouble is a misery]

[djasgeit wit mens se sad en onse sad / is different hulle huil oor die plek / oor dit mooi was / onse mense huil oor hulle / net moet maak soos gesê was]

[blacks pan di radio / blacks pan tee vee / wi sir an wi laad an wi m.b.e. / a figat wi figat ar a it dat?]

[ek is moeg / vir dié wat so hewig tuiskom teen die Afrikanerbors / die ou prostate met die gekroonde tande en die bifocals / die male vanity wat die laaste woord spreek / oor die voorwaardes van by hulle hoort]

[Ka kokota ha Kgowanatshwana, ka tlotlohoha, / Ka swabiswa ke Moafrika re tswetswe mmoho, / A re ke se nna ke kokota foranteng ke le dikobo / Ba dikobo ba pota ka morao, kitjhing]

[ons die voc het besluit die Onestop-storie werk nie uit nie die Kaap verdien baie meer jy is die leier van jou dierbare mensies maar ek is ’n wit man en julle sal nog leer]

[Pina tsa hao ha o theosa dikgohlo, / Ke bokodiyamalla, pakamahlomola, / Pina tsa ho lahlisa Mosotho mmae / Melodi e ratwang ke Makgowa sehloho.]

[When I passed / the bus-stop, his black / as biltong hand / thrust out, / demanding alms.]

[Ek kompenseer deur te skryf / vir die tekorte van my psige, / vir my deurlatendheid, / vir my vatbaarheid vir suggestie / oor die moord op ’n onskuldige swart man.]

[Alexandria, I love you: / I know / when all these worlds became funny to me / I silently waded back to you / and amid the rubble I lay, / simple and black.]

 

#Intermezzo

[Daar is baie redes hoekom ek skryf. Maar die belangrikste rede is sodat ek my storie, wat baie keer te doen het met mense om my en mense in my gemeenskap, op kan teken. As ek dit nie doen nie gaan niemand dit vir my doen nie. En as iemand anders dit sou doen, sal dit nie met dieselfde insig gedoen word nie. Die storie is oral rondom ons. En baie keer gaan dit verby ons omdat mense voel hulle is nie goed genoeg nie. Ek skryf omdat ek weier om te wag vir iemand om dit namens my te doen.]

 

[(bruin soos bruinmense, bruin soos umbriese / pynigende terra-cotta, bruin, ja, / soos die gebakte aarde van digby Siëna –)]

[Africanisation debate is crimson as blood / But I wonder, wandering in the web of categorisation. / Who’s an African? / Them Euro-Africans? / Them Indian-Africans?]

[Wag ek miskien alleen op die perron / of stap ek van my werk snags langs die strate, / dan gee ek vinnig pad, want hulle kom: / die Bruin, die Wit, die Swart Soldate.]

[But / isn’t it funny? / That when they ask about black childhood, / all they are interested in is our pain, / as if the joy-parts were accidental.]

[Namhlanje nobuninzi baba Ntsundu / Behlukana namasiko Abantsundu / B[a]galel’ emzini atshona awabo / Mhla kwakushushu “Ilanga lehlobo.” / Siyavuma!]

[’n swart / man steek sy hand uit dis Kapi pa se trekkerdrywer / my broer kyk hom ’n paar sekondes aan / en oorhandig die graaf]

[black men / hang– / are streamers) / are crackers)]

[ek huil nie oor Apartheid-kak nie ek huil oor julle klo’ goed net hoor van Distrik 6 ek kon nog die St Helena in my oumoeder se hare ruik maar bruin mense is net klopse papbekke en gomgatte om bruin te wees is glad nie so verkakte storie soos daai slamse voorgee nie en dan is dit nog die anner storie van boesman wees die problem is wanner jy jou mense se storie ken en daar’s nie ’n slams of boesman in nie maar jy moet maar ja en amen want al wat jy het is die oorvertel]

[Black poets also stirred my thoughts: / They sang in praise of king’s ambitions / And eulogized our native beer.]

[Pakamani bantsundu beAfrica; / Yilwani ubudenge nomona.]

[Ek skryf agter die stuurwiel, ek weet dis gevaarlik. / Suid-Afrika, waarheen gaan hierdie pad?]

[the faint rumble / of a drum circle / as dreadlocked white youth / seek the earth or some other wealth]

[Ek glo nie dis net wit basterddigters / wat in postkoloniale Afrika / op ’n bitter hopie erfskuld / staan en duimgooi / wat so voel nie.]

[Black Africans continue to collect refuse; / Racism remains inexplicable; / Cricket is still lily white; / The ‘so called’ development is fraud designed to perpetuate the status quo.]

[Botsho bosweu ho kopakane, / Barui le dintja ho se ho kgetha.]

[It was the first time I admitted to myself / I loved the skin of white boys.]

[Die dinkskool wag op ons almal; verwág ons: / ’n stiller soort kaffer-katekisasie: / swart mense met witklei ingesmeer, / wit mense met swart pye aan; / maar skool-toe-gaan-ouderdomme / dié ’t ons nog glad nie bereik nie.]

[White theatres / overflow with the drama: / TO BE OR NOT TO BE. // Black townships / are drained by the drama: / TB OR NOT TB.]

[Die railway controllers is Spoornet; / djy voel dat wit nog altyd baas is.]

[that province in their blood / whites cannot understand]

 

#Intermezzo

[Someone asked me recently, do you only write love poetry? Where is the oppressed woman in your poems, demanded another person. I think part of people’s bewilderment is that they don’t find my work recognisably South African enough. I’m delighted to blur these borders, to be a South African writer who expands people’s expectations of South African writing – not an accusation I find unwelcome. Politics and vulnerable women are present in my writing, but I don’t use them as an alibi for writing. I could point out that I write about rape, war, apartheid’s impact on me and my family, on poverty, on domestic violence yet I don’t believe in having to prove my worth as a poet by parading such credentials to them. Either overtly or unconsciously, I am often asked to do that as a poet, and also as a Muslim woman.]

 

[sal ek op ’n dag forseer word om te besef / swart en wit het niks gemeen nie / nie waardes nie nie medemenslikheid nie / selfs en veral nie geslag nie]

[Umanyano! Basebenzi Abantsundu / Inkokeli mazambat’ izidabane / Zingahlazeki xa zifun’ ukutoba / Awu; Imali yam ndiyitye ibhotile.]

[One day in the nineties / we sat around talking after a conference / in the mountains and a white boy asked us / to make names for the colours of our skin, / a conversation we could only have / far from where we lived / in seperate parts of the city.]

[tussen die gemors van familiewees / is daar ’n selfmoordbriefie / van ’n lig-van-kleurniggie wat wit gedraai het / en toe ’n swart tweeling gekry het]

[Arpeggios of flying fish / broke the surface, / spattering back / like showers of notes / into that black face.]

[maar steeds, fok die panel beater (wit, so by the way) / wat my toe gans te veel kwoteer het / tót die assessor ingeklim het, ha / dank god vir die assessor!]

[Semnka nesigubu sotywala bomlungu / Semnka nale mfundo sayenza igugu / Namhla izwi letu lisezaqwitini / Litsho kancinan’ ezibhakabhakeni.]

[The gospel / is how whiteness breaks into our homes / and brings us to our knees.]

[En wie is ek en hoe ’n man? / Swart of bruin of wit? / Dit is mos net afhanklik van / hoe ver mens van die vuurtjie sit!]

[Children play with dolls & toys / others play in mud and dust, // A boy buys sweets & chips, / another begs at subways]

[my kind is 24. ’n mens het aan sy hande doodgegaan. // ’n swart mens in ’n swart hospitaal. hy moet hiermee saamleef.]

[love to sprout blk and concrete compassion / from the festered cracks on our white faces]

[ek wat al-wat-wit-is is / wat bliksemwit en onlosmaaklik altyd net myself is / wil dat jy dié kontinent joue maak]

 

#Intermezzo

[Whereas Afrikaans theatre-makers are blessed with a number of festivals that are the key producers of theatre in South Africa today, there is not a single theatre festival in Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, etc that promotes, celebrates and projects professional, mainstream theatre in those – or other indigenous African – languages today.]

 

[jou buin liggaam my liggaam?]

[Sasigqibele sibantu / Kodwa hay’ ishwangusha lethu / Lokufika kooyihl’ amadun’ asentshonalanga]

[You told me how black students were asked / to leave the room during the autopsy of white bodies. / And of my writing about this, you said, / That is my story. That is not your story.]

[massiewe spiespunt in die lykwit IJ, / swart soos die nagtelike gedagte]

[And no government gun can make us run from our freedom / A new South Africa I don’t believe them / I see them with a new scheme, a scam / To set up the black man]

[Op straat het ek ’n swart seun teëgekom – Johannes is sy vlugtelingnaam / uit die verre verlede waar die toekoms gesmoor is in vervreemding en verydeling / op soek na die droom.]

[Tjhutjhumakgala, ntho ya makgowa, / Lefokolodi tumisa kgwiti.]

[Black men and white womxn / always write about black womxn / as if we are already dead.]

[Ek het vergeet – nie geweet? – in die dae toe ons jonk was: / Afrikanerskap is nie heilig nie.]

[Say No, Black Woman / Say No / When they give you a back seat / in the liberation wagon / Say No / Yes Black Woman / a Big NO]

 

#Intermezzo

[In both sessions that I attended as a panellist, I endured disapproving stares and shaking heads every time I made mention of the legitimacy of black rage and how it is birthed by white privilege. In that space, I came to understand that literary festivals exist to create a platform for white privilege to anthropologise black thought.]

 

[Onder die swart huid, / van dié wat kreun, vermink / tussen vlam en sink / word blanke bloed deur blankes ingespuit.]

[“… men, you realise, all of them…” / “it had occured to me; but who are the cultural / workers, their credentials proven through the struggle? / And I’m white aren’t I – showing my true colour?”]

[Wit, wit is my hoë / bespotlike kroon / waarmee ek die liggaam bedien.]

[who’s that rowing a black boat / black in the black night? / who’s that hearing the slavebell / and beating the thud of his gut?]

[my mede-digters: / ons luister na mekaar se gekerm of gejubel / die wit mane van ballingskap / die swart slagtersink van oorloë]

[Dikonteraka tsa Makgowa ha se ho phoqa, / Di phoqile ntjheme a itshepile, / A ba a hakwa ke bitso e le la hae.]

[Hero-Cop Killed In The Line Of Duty. / Enne jaa later toe trek daa ’n bus op vol students. / It wassie eeste kee wat ek al ooit / soe baie wit mense innie ghetto gesien’t op een slag.]

[Yet I read the rotten page / of the black man’s heritage / But there is nothing to learn / as it comes from the mind of white men / I swear I will not trouble the hole / in the black avenues of my soul.]

[En as daar nie meer hoop vir Suid-Afrika is nie / is daar ook nie meer hoop vir my kinderdae nie. / Ek kan nie sonder my kinderdae nie.]

[Zulu! Mxosa! Msutu! Tye lase Mb’o! / Bonke bayafana akunandzwe zimb’o / Emhlabeni kunjalonje bakwantonye / Enhalweni kwaye Sizwe bandawonye.]

[Loki grap wit mense laat haar dink / aan sandwich ham biltong laat haar / dink aan haar man in die Transkei / Bokkie polony is ons almal saam gemix]

[They put a black father christmas / on some billboard in Bellville, / and said it was black by popular demand!]

[Ek eet my woede soos swart spookasem / wanneer ek oorlog, armoede en Lotto kyk / op die 7-uur nuus in Afrikaans. / En ek bring dit op aan etenstafel / en in wit wegspoelgedigte soos dié.]

 

#Intermezzo

[Ek skryf poetry oo die liewe annie anne kant vannie kantlyn. As daa niks daa geskrywe innie margins staanie issit ma net oo dai stories nooit geskryf wod ie, of truthfully geskryf wod ie. As daa een ding is wat ek gelee et van opgroei in Bishop Lavis issit dié: daa is niks meer unimportant as die liewens van arm mense nie. As arm mense doodgan los hulle niks agte nie, niks trace dat hulle exist et ie. Vi my is my writing history as told by the losers. My moments van insight het n short half-life, soe ek need om altyd die woorde innie most simple en vinnagste way oppie blaai te kry. Dai is hoekom ek poems skryf en nie novels ie.]

 

[Met U, met U is my geding, wat my geskei het van hul ras]

[Black solidarity does not include making my spine a doormat / So that you can stand or have a backbone. / Black solidarity at the expense of a black womxn’s anything, is a / farce, a rip-off.]

[Ka fumana keiting merabe ho fapana, / Ka fumana terese e le mokoloko, / Botsho bosweu ho kopakane, / Barui le dintja ho se ho kgetha]

[Jou boyfriend isse wit approximation van my.]

[The city was declared white / in the year he and my mother married / and they were removed / to a place you cannot trace from here.]

[Ulo Tixo mkulu ngose Zulwini / Odlula omb’ayimb’ayi basesi lungwini]

[’n vreemde vlam van woorde klim, / ’n verre beweging, bo die kim / van hierdie blanke stil bestaan, / waar ek my grote Godsweg gaan / verlore tussen lug en kim.]

[Lomzi wakona na sawubizana / Lemali inkulu na sayibizana / Naku site sakungena emlungwini / Sasela nendywala zotixo basemzini.]

 

#Intermezzo

[Every day I am re-learning that I am unlearning silence. I am learning to own my stories, to tell them truthfully, in the way that I see them. I am also learning a new courage. I thought that I was a fearless and courageous somebody but the more I write, the more I realize that courage is something that you have to choose, it’s not a given. You have to choose it every day and I had to choose it for this book.]

 

[Sy issie type van meisie / wat net iets sal doen asse hot shot wit man / byrie Burger of Rapport it voo’skryf. // Ôs stap dee Valhalla / en ek sê vi haa die plek is ampe soes Bosnia]

[i remember / the day i saw black / people dressed like whites / walking on the beach at scottburgh /  i went to public school / just as they did]

[Pambi kwenu ngu Mlung’ ubekiwe, / Nizitat’ ezake ezintle, / Nifunde nitatela kuye.]

[Ys is heerlik: die rooi vos word wit, / die eidereend word tot helder wit / en elsbekkies loop op die wit ys / dat die oog alleen geel-wys. Die wit is só / dat ’n man na die linkerkant toe swaai / en altyd in linkerkringe loop. Konyntjies / is wit. Die robbe hooghartig swart.]

[Dumedisa Base, o tlo pheme ditsietsi, / O pheme tsetse la teronkong, tshitshidi, / Hoba e a shapa tshweu ya Kapa, / E shapa ka katse ya Sekgowa.]

[Maa wat gebee is, my pa en sy broe’s / vang mossie een wit laitie innie bos / en hulle kidnap hom.]

[What do you know of the Poor White, / You who live in town, / You who live in luxury / Can only cry them down]

[Inzima le nduli inyukwa ngu Ntu / Inzima yapantse yoyisa nom Krestu / Waxap’ amagwebu wasibhongob’iya / Wati nzwi nendlebe waxel’ unobiya]

[Dat hy Slams en Coloured was, / wasse minor technicality / en ek wiet djy might dink / dat Sietjie miskien ’n self-loathing negro was.]

 

#Intermezzo

[Just like Thando, I’d felt like an anthropological exhibit the year before when I stood on stage in front of an old, white audience and retold the story of how I was affected by witnessing my dad being humiliated in the late 1980s by an Afrikaans-speaking policeman.]

 

[die swart slawe hang in die boom: so is die eiervrug, / ’n wit Arabier staan een-been gestoel: die sampioen bid, / onderweg het ek ’n ketting sien lê maar wie tel die wit miere op?]

[The student wants to know: / Why there are more blacks in shebeens and churches / Than there are in museums or commemoration sites?]

[Madi a matsho a lekgowa la Kapa a mothapo wa hloho, A na a thoba re es’o ngolle, / Le ho ba jwetsa re es’o ba jwetse]

[Womb of black souls / White with stains / Signs that welcome a stranger]

[toe kom daar ’n wit vrou in met drie kinders / een sit in ’n rolstoel gestrem of iets]

[Angadel’ umlungu ngokwake. / Ancom’ umXosa okwake.]

[die wind se onderkant is wit / want waar hy op die koring sit / daar maak hy die hele wêreld wit]

[Wasekhaya, heita, hoezat daar? / Black petty bourgeoisie escape village witches; / Like magents, ba tsamaya ka s’lahla.]

[toe ek klein was / het ek eendag / my ouma vir ’n wit man / hoor baas sê / ja my baas]

[“I understand how it is for you / to be Black / And would like to help / But there’s nothing I can do.” / Under the dark skin / Fumed the human in me.]

[Watshona “Umhlaba” yeha ndlu Emnyama / Kuba sipatshile sipel’ isidima.]

[Yes, we shall break them and make them / Smooth for the wheels of the white-man, / Soft for the barefooted white-man.]

[twee wit mans het verby ons gestap / ek kon die een hoor sê / is dit nou mooi // blêrrie kaffers]

[Ka sefubeng o mosweu, lebala o motsho.]

 

#Intermezzo

[The structure of white supremacist racism remains intact. 12 million black people live in extreme poverty, they simply do not know where their next meal will come from. 79% of our land remains in white private hands. A conservative figure of 27.9% of blacks is unemployed in comparison to only 7% of whites. White families earn an average of R365,134 annually while black families earn a mere R60,613. In other words, whites earn five and a half times more than blacks. 70% of top management positions are held by whites, with only 13% held by blacks.
This reality translates into almost all forms of relations between whites and blacks in South Africa. The whites are patrons in restaurants and blacks are their servants, we live in the townships while whites live comfortably in mostly secured suburbs. The fact of the matter is black people were violently colonised by white people; they forced us into the ghettos and drove us away from economic activities.]

 

[ek is by ’n party vol depressed / wit mense / almal luister Marianne Faithfull / en lees Bitterkomix / ek weet nie wat de fok / ek hier maak nie]

[i am white and brutal / i come to you after death / and leave you completely deserted]

[swart is die pad wat sweet soos ’n slaaf ondervoets]

[The memory of going to the beach every New Year’s Eve, / is one I share with cousins and most people raised Black.]

[USiskspense kaMlungu! / Umlungu thengel’ abantu bakulingele.]

[o clear clever flesh my filter / let us work on her likeness / for she will be herself]

[met my wit vel soos melaatsheid sweer ek trou / om die gedoemdes van hulle ellende te bevry.]

[Beside me, a black / man in glasses, moustache’s / white-as-a-milk- / slick waiting to be tongued, / face falling in, / turns to me his back]

[maar my t-shirts was oversized / omdat dit uit wit mense se dromme / uit gekom het]

[Q’uq’elezaleni mdaka we Afrika / Nomfula “Wosizi” ngenyani siyemka]

 

#Intermezzo

[On Saturday, at the session chaired by Victor Dlamini, Andrea Nattrass of Pan McMillan shouted rudely while I was speaking. Nobody reacted. People simply looked at her and then quickly back at me. I paused. Not even the chair protected me while being abused by Andrea. So I spoke and told her to shut up when I’m talking, which, ironically, shocked every single person in the room – perhaps because a black man cannot tell a rude white woman off, but a white woman can do the reverse on a black man who is simply articulating his views.]

 

[toe ek klein was was ek eenkeer / saam my ma Bellville toe / waar sy wit mense se huis / gaan skoonmaak het]

[A youth, / black, dreadlocked, darts / out of the main door, skips / onto the pavement, is / replete, hissing between his teeth.]

[soos taai olie en ek so wit is / soos ’n laken met bruin en geel vlekke]

[Too many white people out here acting God. / Too many white people here doing the work of God.]

[Botsho ba wona bo hana sesepa, / Sweu ba wona ha se ba ho tswalwa, / Ke ba maiketsetso, thetsamawatla.]

[en my keel is ’n put waaruit jy water skep / water wat soos swart woorde sis]

[like all niggahs / started sinning in church / velvet staccato baptist holler / while brotha x pianod we / way ‘yond river jordan]

[Sy skouers buie bietjie oor / van stap en stap in reën en wind, / sy hande is gebars en swart / maar klein en skraal soos van ’n kind.]

[Who will pack up and go / Khoisan decided no / White man came with a very big blow / Nobody in the Hantam will ever know]

 

#Intermezzo

[I identified quite markedly with some of the more formally experimental, yet still politically suffused poets who emerged in the late 1980s and 1990s – partly because there were so many different styles, voices, opinions. They remain a salutary presence. There was also a greater degree of influence – perhaps it was similarity of intent – between black and white poets, I think, than before or since.]

 

[Diana was ’n wit nôi / Martin was ’n bryn boy]

[William Kamanga served at our table / for thirty years before he retired. / Then each month my mother sent money and news. / Colonial circuits of care and demand, / love to hire and then to lose?]

[somehow het my ouers se marriage / my laat voel / soos ’n wit vrou / in ’n slasher film]

[die wit mense wat nie die taxihandtekens sal ken nie. / rykgatvroue groet mekaar soos hadidas / in hyde park corner: “hâi! hâi girl! hâ yu?”]

[Nantso ke ne African National Congress / Esasiyibonga kwapuke nembambo. / Sebehamba ke beyibuza kwakuti / Besiti kanene kodwa yatshonapi]

[waak veral teen die slymerige swart papaja / van bitterheid, swart kind – / hy wat daarvan eet sterf op bajonette / en in biblioteke, / sterf alleen in die mond]

[Go everywhere beneath the sun, / Join all black souls into one.]

[Kula mahlath’ iinkawu zimangele, / Kuba nizibamba nizis’ emlungwini, / Zibe zingadlanga nto yanlungu.]

[dis mos Pa! storm my hart in my keel op maar toe ek om / die hoek kom is dit ’n bejaarde swart man]

[you bent over your dreams / your black and white chessboard]

[en wit middeljare is ek goed vir die bakkie.]

[I want to get married with a white woman / Because this is a new South Africa / If there’s any white woman who likes me / She must come come forward now / I’m waiting for her / Because this is a new South Africa / One nation, different cultures]

[Die swart gesig druk teen die rooster: / “Baas, Basie, hallo, Basie.”]

[I want someone who is going to look at me / and love me / the way that white people look at / and love / Mandela.]

[UMoni-moni uNkomo zabeLungu]

[O Woord, swart klip waaroor die water stort, / swart aardse klip wat in die banke wortel / en van geen roering weet]

[in the antarctic season of our life / where whiteness is the equation / of eternal terror and obsession, / we question the existence of god.]

[maar ek moet glo dat hy pouses met swart maatjies brood / gaan deel en leer hoe karig wit-alleen klepper]

 

#Intermezzo

[My twiede aanklag is die feit dat jou boek net al die negative stories vetel vannie gemeenskap. Vi dieselle reason lees ek oekie Die Son nie, omdat hulle baie min skryf o die goeie dinge wat gebeu oppie Kaapse vlakte. En dan is da die ding wa jy constantly die karakters (Dolfie, antie April, antie Una, Derra met sy septic naels) innie bundel wil degrade, amal is net die swak slegte mense (behalwe jou broer, ma en Ronelda ofcourse). Ek sê wee, ja, die reality is wat dit is, ma da is ook positive dinge wat gebeur in onse gemeenskappe.]

 

[Emnyama efana nobusuku, / Ndiyamtand’ uMxos’ endinguye]

[I have seen flowers / making love on / fertile grounds of / Mr Mahlobo’s garden / smoke spiralling from / the black sooted chimney / the soot fluffing its peppered dust / making Mr Mahlobo black / making his children black / making his hours black]

[wat as my pa swart was en oud en vol eerbaarheid / uitgelewer aan sy verslete spiere]

[Okumnandi kuvuyis’ u-Mlungu, / Kwa Bantsundu kubi kakulu. / Kumnandi kunconywa ngo Mnyama. / Aba Mhlope baya kudela.]

[die germaan in my bemin / jou al is jy swart soos sy / bemin jou voor die dowwe woud]

[Dumedisa Base, le ha o le Kgowanatshwana, / Dumedisa Base, le ha o fasitse thae, / O bua tjhomi, puo ya lewatleng.]

[Black phantoms fade / into the black bricks / in industrial yards / under the motorways.]

[dan drink jy / die sweet met jou bleek vel op]

[Gumba-gumbas are but smoko in the white suburbs.]

[hulle vere steek in elk geval ’n preek af, die strak / swart- en witgeit daarvan.]

[Basenz’ omaqingapingana, / Bazahlula zingevan’ Izizwe; / U-Zulu, u-Mxosa no Msutu, / Bawutat’ umhlaba wamag’ora; / Kungeko mfela-ndawonye; / Elinde kulaml’ Izulu.]

 

#Intermezzo

 [I used to think that one of the easiest things black people get caught up in is talking about our traumas and pain. You go to a tavern or a shebeen or a place where black people gather to have a good time and you’ll hear folks talking about injustices or the days of apartheid or struggles or whatever. And I always wondered why it is not easy for us to talk about joy, and the things that make us happy, things that bring us pleasure, and I am starting to see that both are equally hard to talk about. It’s also complex to talk about trauma, because it’s easy in certain spaces and not so much in other spaces. One of the hardest spaces to talk about trauma is with the people who have inflicted pain on us, and yes more often than not that space is with family. And the other thing that I am trying to learn, which is right up there with unlearning, is that;  it’s okay to be happy, it’s okay to have joy, its okay to write about joy and to talk about joy, and that joy is a birthright even with all the crap around us. When violence is inflicted on a black body, the world doesn’t flinch because it has been so normalized. I want to document the moments when I experience immense joy and pleasure so I can normalize those in my own life. I am learning that those moments are just as important and valid.  I am learning, that it is okay to have a crush on someone for six months, its okay to desire someone, its okay to flirt, it’s okay to want sex, and all these things we are not allowed to indulge in for too long.]

 

[sê julle nou dat Mandela dood is? / sê julle dat Ons Grote ons verlaat het? / hierdie nasie wat hy so gerig het / van die dag toe wit en swart assegaaie / teen mekaar begin blink het?]

[Today we are free / Come Rolihlahla / With your head white like there’s birdshit on it / Old mielie plant with experience / Whose long tongue attracts nations]

[sien hoe breek my wit lyf kragtig soos musiek die water]

[Three old, broad-hipped black women / sit straight-legged on the lawn / outside the Science Festival / stringing coloured beads as though / they were re-threading the universe.]

[Wavela umlungu kuneko zimanga / Weza nge Bhaibhile ngoko sati manga.]

[‘Yesterday people died in a car accident.’ / I was touched, I asked… / ‘Black or White?’ / ‘Black.’ / ‘All?’ / ‘Both cars.’ / ‘Why not white?’ / ‘White is lucky, / Dogs don’t die.’ / Like me this bitterblack was moved, / While somewhere else – / ‘Blacks are maniacs, / Mad black beasts!’ / A white raged.]

[in die snykoud Vrystaat skitterlig is dit asof / iets sugtends van ons uitgaan van ons / Afrikaner gewete ons taalheid ons witheid]

[whites shall not be drowned / nor will they be tanned / or banned / only humanised]

 

#Intermezzo

[My stories kom van die huis af, van my mense af, van my plek af. Ek kom uit ’n tradisie van orale vertelling. Die familiestories is van die een generasie na die volgende oorgedra. En ek is die gelukkige een met ’n aanleg vir woorde en ’n talent vir skryf. Ek maak dan daardie stories in gedigte vas. Daarom is dit ook vir my belangrik dat my gedigte toeganklik moet wees vir my mense … vir gewone mense. As my suster ’n gedig van my geniet, dan weet ek dat dit werk … So judge ek of ’n gedig reg is of nie.]

 

[die “swart gevaar” is raar hier / want ons laat paaie vurk / en vermy mekaar]

[Spectrally pale / with the dead, / un-European bleach / of our bastard race’s sport, / she liked me for the similar / wanes of my skin]

[as daar ’n witmenskind / kom en hy wil speel dan hoor ons nie wat hy praat nie]

[This time I now roam the streets of Stockholm / alone with my memories, / meeting and passing black people / who do not acknowledge each other with a nod / or stolen glance, as they often do in some other parts / of the world as recognition of historical times / when their skins chained them to Africa like an umbilical cord.]

[Gquba kube mdaka, mDaka weAfrika / NjengoMoses ephuma eJiphethe]

[in die era post-apartheid en post-photoshop maak ek swart-en-wit fotostate / heel bewus dat ons almal volgens Plascon tinte van Raw Oats is / iets wat ons almal eenmaal geweet het / en toe eenvoudig vergeet het]

[I feel on defence, / I feel ready for a fight, / Guarded against a fight I do not yet see / But quickly foresee / When the old white lady in her pyjamas turns my back with her Afrikaans / And says, You are on private property…]

[Lemali inkulu na sayibizana? / Lomzi wabo na? Sawubizana? / Uwile! Ngabo “Umb’inqo” wabamnyama / Taru! “X’aka” Elimnyama kwabamnyama.]

[I wished to educate her in the humblest of manners / But Alas! What of my job and my skin… Steady boy! / By virtue of my black skin I must keep mum, / Who am I to teach an ignorant white messis! / No listen boy: You’re a man! She was a girlie; / White as she was she is entitled to the truth.]

[Matjama verstaan ook nie / witkindertaal nie]

 

#Intermezzo

[I don’t NOT write poems about apartheid, or the continuing struggles of a divided country. Those realities are present in my writing when I consciously address those topics and, importantly, they are also there in the substratum when I write about the landscape or about love. I simply don’t believe that’s the overt focus on struggle is the only legitimate topic for South Africans to address.
In any case, I refuse to write functionally. If I write about war and domestic violence, that writing has to succeed as poetry. Otherwise, I can write essays, which I do. I’m not the first person to stretch beyond expectations.
First things first, people say. Don’t be diverted by love, beauty, pleasure, people say. Write about this, and write like that. If as writers we listened to those demands, we’d never reinvent ourselves and create in art the new realities that we are living.]

 

[Ek is die man wat klippe kyk / die klip is rou en ek is swart]

[But today, today, I cannot love my country. / It staggers in the dark, lurches in a ditch. / A curdled mob drives people into pens, / brands them like cattle, / only holds a stranger’s hand / to press it into fire, / strings firecrackers through a child, / burns stores and shacks, burns.]

[en loop in die warm wesend- / heid van julle knorrige gewetes loop liedswermend soos / ek eens geloop het as julle kind, julle wit batende kind]

[ask any black man / he’ll tell you / without looking it up in a dictionary / how’s to be picked up / booted in the back / fly in – head first / knocking yourself against the sparewheel / and to be driven around town / buckshee]

[Zipi? Inkosi zezizwe Ezintsundu]

[The first time I see a black woman on TV is in an advert for dishwashing liquid in which a white woman praises her domestic servant for choosing a new detergent, Betsy, you’re so clever. To which a black woman responds shyly, Oh, madam. Even as a child, I can see this is not about cleaning dishes, but some other kind of labour.]

[daardie Wit Oog kyk daardie Wit Oog]

[White people are white people, / They must learn to listen. / Black people are black people, / They must learn to talk.]

[Waarie vye was, was meestal bos en sand / maa daa was wit mense se hyse ha naby / met vrugteboeme innie jaat.]

[the door is white, white like another day]

[ek het gemik vir ’n hele gedig maar ek het steeds net ’n blank vel en, wel, / 15 fotostate van jou gesig]

[we was born blk in a time & planet / where blk signified absences & voids / where blk was the disco/dant melody]

[Elo nxeba e Afrika libuhlungu / Elafika ne Bhaibhile yabelungu / Namhlanje asizazi nenqu zetu / No Tixo wetu wasishiya mu tu]

[die swerk en swang van geteikende wit?]

[I am meat.]

 

  1. envoi

Een donkere huid houdt de straling van de zon beter tegen. In de slijmlaag worden donkere kleurstofmoleculen gemaakt en ingebouwd in de cellen van de hoornlaag. Deze kleurstof, melanine, ligt in korreltjes in de levende slijmhuidcel. Vandaar komt ze in de hoornlaag terecht. [2]

 

Voetnote

[1] https://www.encyclo.nl/lokaal/10664&page=3

[2] https://www.encyclo.nl/lokaal/10664&page=3

 

[redakteursnota: ’n korter, vorige weergawe van hierdie werk het in 2017 in nY#34 verskyn.]