50.50

"They have killed Sizakele”

A poem by Jessica Horn. Part of a series of poems by African feminist writers for 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

Jessica Horn
10 December 2012

  • For Sizakele Sigasa, AIDS and lesbian activist, murdered with 
  • Salome Massoa, 7 July 2007, Soweto 
  •  
  • Where is she 
  • in this land of crushed stone? 
  • Where is she  
  • as morning dresses the day 
  • in the dirtied lace of tired gospels 
  •  
  • Where is she 
  • our sister Sizakele 
  • in this brittle dawn? 
  •  
  • White powdered faces 
  • ululate against an unremarkable sky 
  • as bullets tip the minute hand 
  •   ...one, two, three... 
  • collarbones crumble 
  •   ...four, five, six... 
  •  
  • Here where sun chases starlight 
  • here in heartbreak’s wilderness  
  • here she is 
  • embroidering morning dew 
  • beading our memories 
  • in the red and rainbows of militancy 
  •  
  • Here in this theatre of slaughter 
  • she is clearing a round of clay earth 
  • intoning a litany 
  • calling for a witness 
  •  
  • You say: it is not our tradition 
  • She says: is this your tradition 
  • to rip the pulse from my chest 
  • to deny a mother the dignity of dying first? 
  •  
  • You say: in the name of the father and the son 
  • She says: in the name of my sisters 
  • slain in meaningless massacres 
  • for loving their own skin 
  •  
  • A people do not survive 
  • monsoons of oppression 
  • only to savage their own kin. 
  •  

Read other articles in the series, 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence 2012.

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