Thursday, September 13, 2012

Marikana 45

45 men dead.
Twelf-thousand, 500 Rand.
Numbers that mean life or death
Yet no numbers give nor lead to life.
45 men dead.
What is the cost
Of a father?

What is the cost
Of a father
Who returns home
What is the cost
Of a father’s hug?
What is the cost
Of a father’s voice
Over the phone
Telling you
He is coming home?
Bringing you dresses,
School uniform?
What is the cost
Of saying Tata,
uTata wam?

What does it cost
The man who demands
Twelf- thousand, 500 rand?
When his pocket
Is full with twelf-thousand, 500 rand?
How will he feel
When he closes his eyes at night?
What does his face look like?
Does he pretend
That he never knew his neighbour?
Does he demand
Twelf-thousand, 500 rand
With a clear conscience?
Or does he need twelve-thousand, 500 rand
To bury himself from the sight of 45 men dead?
To shut himself from the
Sound of gun shots that killed someone’s son,
Someone’s husband,
Someone’s father,
Someone’s uncle,
A neighbour’s son,

Does he still hear
His own name
Without guilt?
Does he still know whose son he is?
Does he know his children?
Can he look at their faces now?
Did he shoot or did he watch his neighbour fall?
Did he too die as he watched his friend fall?
Was the bullet his?

Will he dig where that man once dug?
Will he turn to a sangoma
To kill his conscience and die a slow death?
Will he look to the sky,
Beat his chest?
Will he beg for mercy?
Will he beg for mercy?
Will he beg for mercy?
For the greed of men,
For the lust of power,
For brutal inequalities?

Will he weep and beg for mercy?
For his friend’s children
For himself
For the men in blue
For the men playing with power
For the men of the mines
For the men who thought
They were in charge?
For the 45 men?

© siki dlanga

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