user preferences

Dear Mama: Anarchist poetry against the anti-foreigner pogroms in Grahamstown, South Africa

category southern africa | migration / racism | opinion / analysis author Monday November 09, 2015 15:42author by Leroy Maisiri - Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Frontauthor email zacf at riseup dot net Report this post to the editors

The poem below was written by Zimbabwean Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front comrade Leroy Maisiri, against the backdrop of the a wave of riots against African and Asian ‘foreigners’ that started to sweep Grahamstown, South Africa, from Wednesday 21 October 2015. By Saturday, around 300 shops, mostly small businesses, owned by people from countries like Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Somalia, had been targeted, many burnedand looted. Perhaps 500 people have been displaced, many are in hiding. While university and college student protests across town faced down the state in the fight against high fees in a heroic struggle, mobs provoked by rumours of murders and mutilations by ‘foreigners,’spurred on by malicious forces including local taxi drivers, attacked the ‘foreigners.’ Heroic efforts by the local Unemployed Peoples Movement (UPM) and some other township residents were not enough to halt the carnage. Working class, see this divide-and-rule for what it is! You have nothing to gain from this. As the UPM says, “We are all the victims of colonialism and capitalism. We all need to stand together for justice. If unemployed young men chase a man from Pakistan out of Grahamstown they will still be unemployed and poor the next day. The students have shown us what unity can do.” The students have shown us the way forward.

xeno.jpg

#PoetryMonday
#inSolidaritywithTheGrahamstownDisplaced.

Dear Mama

36 whatsapp messages, 16 missed calls later and mama still wants to know how I am. I try and tell her:
I am okay, I am alive, I am indoors, I won’t go outside again. I am okay, I am alive, I am indoors, I won’t go outside again.

42 whatsapp messages later, 23 missed calls and mama still wants to know how I am.

In the midst of loudness have you ever experienced days without sound, in the midst of feet stomping, drum beating, spear handling, have you ever felt the weight of silence.

As the mobs approached, with the snitch of hatred, intention to kill, to end a life based on difference, I have to imagine that type of fear is paralyzing.

I am okay, I am alive, I am indoors, I won’t go outside again. I am okay, I am alive, I am indoors, I won’t go outside again.

To fall in love, marry have children, watch them grow in a foreign land long enough to watch them, get to watch you being beaten to death. To have your 8 year old first born son get pinned down as the crowds does whatsoever they please with his mother.

I am okay, I am alive, I am indoors, I won’t go outside again. I am okay, I am alive, I am indoors, I won’t go outside again.

I have always thought there is nothing more industrious than a “foreigner”. The ability to begin again against all odds in another land.

To never look back at what was, with no understanding of what will be, but to be brave enough to assert themselves in new communities.

The story of a foreigner brings backs remnants of Abraham’s story, Moses story, Josephs story. Even Jesus as an infant had to flee into Egypt and become a foreigner. You would think by now the story of the foreigner is one to uplift and uphold.

62 whatsapp messages, 30 missed calls, mama desperately needs to know how I am, the quivering fear in her voice, her insistence for me to distance myself, to abandon heroism. To “Just stay put”, “It is well, but stay put”.

Mama wants to know how I am

I am okay, I am alive, I am indoors, I won’t go outside again. I am okay, I am alive, I am indoors, I won’t go outside again.

Mama wants to know how I feel.

Dear Mama for the first time today, I woke up a makwerekwere [a despised ‘foreigner’]

Related Link: http://zabalaza.net/2015/11/09/dear-mama-anarchist-poet...rica/
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Employees at the Zarfati Garage in Mishur Adumim vote to strike on July 22, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Ma’an workers union)

Southern Africa | Migration / racism | en

Wed 18 Jan, 17:03

browse text browse image

zacfront_symbol.jpg imageTerre'Blanche is dead; long live the workers! 03:57 Wed 28 Apr by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 0 comments

We in the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front will shed no tears for the killing of the racist Eugene Terre'Blanche. Why should revolutionary workers lament the death of a thug who lived in nostalgia for the days when his emulation of Hitler and (empty) threats of war shook the whole country, and who never ceased to exploit and terrorise the black workers on a farm that should rightly be managed by those who work it to meet the needs of all and not be the property of any one single person?

1_2.jpg imageDon't fight your neighbours for their houses - Fight the government for houses for all! 17:10 Wed 28 May by Joe Soap 0 comments

Over 5000 people from South Africa and Zimbabwe to the Congo and Ethiopia marched through Johannesburg on Saturday, 24th May in protest against xenophobic violence, which ravaged South Africa during the previous two weeks leaving more than 50 dead and an estimated 35 000 immigrants displaced from their homes.

1_1.jpg imageAgainst Chauvinism, Against Nationalism! 16:29 Fri 23 May by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 1 comments

[ Nederlands] [ Ελληνικά] As the media, the politicians and the "experts" rack their brains in search of the cause of the "criminality" and "xenophobia" that has killed 42 people in 10 days and driven 15 000 from their homes, organisations of the working class have come closer to the truth than any of these wise men and women. The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front supports and replies to the Abahlali baseMjondolo Statement on the Xenophobic Attacks in Johannesburg

imageOne Year after the 2015 Grahamstown Riots against Foreign Traders Dec 15 by Lucien van der Walt 0 comments

A year ago, starting 20 October 2015, around 75 small shops were looted, some burned down, in the eastern townships and downtown area of the small Eastern Cape university town of Grahamstown/ iRhini, South Africa. The attacks targeted Asian and African immigrants, many of them Muslim, and displaced 500 people. These riots were largely ignored by the media.

The text below is a slightly revised revision of a briefing I was asked to write at the time for the local Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM). The UPM played a heroic role in opposing the attacks and assisting the displaced. The text’s general points remain relevant to the working class’s fight against prejudice and racism. And the riots of 2015 should not be forgotten.grahamstown-riots

imageAttacks on Foreigners: Only the Ruling Class Benefits Feb 01 by Siyabulela Hulu-Hulu 0 comments

Attacks on African and Asian foreigners flared up in South Africa twice in 2015, first in April, mainly in KwaZulu, then in October in Grahamstown, the Eastern Cape. Many attacks were on small (spaza) shops run by foreigners. Maybe 500 were displaced in October. The looting and smashing of property in spaza shops, and the immensity of these criminal activities country wide, has had an incredible and negative impact on our democracy, on our lives, on our livelihoods, and reflects badly on the nation's morality.

imageFor how long can South African elites keep misleading the people? Aug 26 by Philip Nyalungu 0 comments

Those in power don’t want to confront the status quo of hatred against immigrants, or South Africa’s imperialist role in the region. They have a narrow set of interests: getting votes, accumulating wealth and power. However, the recent wave of attacks on immigrants and the ruptures of relations with other African countries – especially where South African corporations are operating – have touched the most delicate nerves of the established political powers, who have vowed to advance corporate interests in making profits.

image‘Xenophobia’, service delivery protest and government failure: The case of Thembelihle Jun 02 by Jonathan Payn 0 comments

Like in 2008, the recent wave of anti-immigrant violence and looting of foreign-owned stores that followed King Zwelithini’s statement that foreigners must “pack their bags and leave” quickly spread to cities and townships across the country. Unlike other places in Johannesburg, however, there were no reports of xenophobic violence in Thembelihle and, although the violence spread to numerous parts of Soweto in 2008, this adjacent township was unaffected then too. This article, based on an interview with an activist from the Thembelihle Crisis Committee (TCC), looks at how working class self-organisation and solidarity helped curb or prevent the outbreak of xenophobic attacks and attempts to draw lessons for preventing future attacks.

textThe Poison of Nationalism Sep 10 by Steffi 0 comments

Some of the people attacked in recent xenophobic pogroms in South Africa were born in South Africa or have a South African passport. Aren’t they South Africans? What makes a South African? How many generations must one have lived here to be accepted? What skin colour does one have to have? When thinking about this it quickly becomes clear that who is a South African and who is not is not a scientific decision. It is about what people think and want and this changes over time.

more >>

imageTerre'Blanche is dead; long live the workers! Apr 28 ZACF 0 comments

We in the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front will shed no tears for the killing of the racist Eugene Terre'Blanche. Why should revolutionary workers lament the death of a thug who lived in nostalgia for the days when his emulation of Hitler and (empty) threats of war shook the whole country, and who never ceased to exploit and terrorise the black workers on a farm that should rightly be managed by those who work it to meet the needs of all and not be the property of any one single person?

imageAgainst Chauvinism, Against Nationalism! May 23 ZACF 1 comments

[ Nederlands] [ Ελληνικά] As the media, the politicians and the "experts" rack their brains in search of the cause of the "criminality" and "xenophobia" that has killed 42 people in 10 days and driven 15 000 from their homes, organisations of the working class have come closer to the truth than any of these wise men and women. The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front supports and replies to the Abahlali baseMjondolo Statement on the Xenophobic Attacks in Johannesburg

© 2005-2017 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]