Home is not a person
It’s a place.
And her name, at least for me, is Soshanguve
Rotting beneath the seams
She stinks of urine and after birth.
The quagmire festers
Collects beautiful scents
And leaves behind a fetid smell.
No one lives there
Only skeletons who’s bones are skewed by poverty
She breathes but her chest cavity is an urn of ashes
Her abdomen is ripe with wounds
She has been crawling on her belly
Because walking is impossible
If you’ve sold your legs for supper.
Here, people live inside coffins
Shackled inside their shacks
Prisoners of circumstance.
So how can we call this our home
When death clings on our tongue
And our bodies are titanic of suffering
Yet we phoenixes
We unfurl our wings but gravity
Conspires to keep us down.
The stench of burning flesh fills the air.
That’s what you get when you build matchboxes and call them home
(People will burn)
We never stop dying.
Soshanguve is not a township
It’s a graveyard
The clouds glide
Chiseling raindrops from the sky.
A rainbow appears
The stars are filled with innocent giggles
From young children who’s smile is a first aid kit.
Grandmothers with scrolls folded on their skins
Some people call them wrinkles
But Soshanguve knows that Libraries are human beings who have seen the edge of the universe.
The dust never settles
Instead it rises beneath our skin
We are made of it(dust)
But when our bodies kiss the rain
We turn into mud.
We live here
Inside and outside Soshanguve
We are angels who missed curfews
So we exchanged our halos for a crown of thorns
Don’t expect us to rise on the third day
Because we’ve never carried crosses
Instead our bodies are wounded by all these tombstones
Erected on our spinal cords.
The children play outside
The township provides warmth for its people.
Home is a person
And her name is Soshanguve
Linda Masilela is a spoken word artist.