Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa LGBTIQ, African Feminism, Feminism, Queer Politics, Sexual Rights & Citizenship, South Africa

Poem for Zoliswa

On December 19th, those guilty of Zoliswa’s murder will be sentenced.

This is a poem for Zoliswa by Elsbeth Engelbrecht ©

Dear Zoliswa;
The undecided meaning of your life were impenetrable
on the day your mother turned into a melting grief
After so many years
Her heart must have been surprised by an uninvited confirmation
That there is no hanging stench in the street where you died
Yet, you were there
it is not an out of the way solitary place
It really exists
She still lives there at the end of the street

And what does it all mean?
This ritual cleansing of your last words to an unimaginative accusation;
“Are you a lesbian?”

In the midst of the senseless silence
of you no longer being here
of her having to remove your clothes from hangers
of her needing to look away from a growing guilt and
the sharp weight of an abrupt empty bed of an only child that she couldn’t keep safe
of blood spilled too fast too much for your heart to stay strong
of the twenty men who killed you as if they had God on their side
the neighbours who looked and didn’t shatter with the sound of your broken bones
of her wanting to see right through the swaying bodies
as if they were not human
as if they were glass
of her not knowing why anyone would ask that question, always the same redundant words
“how do you feel about what happened to Zoliswa?”

Out of all of this
the possibilities of a movement

The end of your disbelieving screams
are now an incomprehensible hope –
You can never be completely erased
not the shattering unevenness of your name
when it was first tied to so much unspeakable hate
nor the drunken violence of your death can silence us
We are black
We are lesbians
We are here
We have become fearless in your name

© Elsbeth Engelbrecht (no matter what happens on 19th December 2011)