TELL NO LIE(A poem for Cabral) by Mbongeni Khumalo

Mbongeni Khumalo | April 17th, 2023 | poetry | No Comments

Poet Bio

We the people of colour
Are the true coloureds
The wretched of the earth’s
Future human race
Black by self-definition
‘Cos race is a political construct
It all started
At the Manchester Conference
Assimilation a point of reference
But now
Every pig is Guinea-Bissau
A lab rat
For genetic experimentation
Where
Foreskins of colour defy classification
Franco to Lusophone
Anglicised on June 16 by preference
Mother-tongue instruction
The con/sequence
But the language of culture defines
Pigmentation
Return to the Source
And reclaim ancestral sorcery
‘Cos one man’s science is
Another woman’s fiction
All concepts subject to intellectual fashions
Perpetual tutelage
A foreign prescription
Now to be pan-African
Is to be led by the lumpen
Academic disability
Is the continent’s sole affliction
But still
I refuse to be defined
By race
I am the country’s human face

ENDNOTE: One afternoon coming from school, I came across a piece of paper. A torn page from a revolutionary journal. I picked it up and read it. It had a quote from Amilcar Cabral, about the need to return to the source and reclaim our traditions desecrated by colonial rule and exploitation.

That was 1993. My final year at school. Being a student activist and a matriculant meant I was a student leader as well. Thinking of that ‘trivial’ incident now, I’m convinced it was no coincidence. Being a known bookworm and poetry enthusiast, someone must have placed it on my path, knowing I would not have missed it.

The exact location is Corner Modjaji & Mokoerekoere Street. Opposite Musi High, next to the then-newly-built AME church.

Of course, I’ve always known my father was notable in Zulu society. A man of royal descent in pre-colonial times. But I took it all for granted.

Mbongeni Khumalo

Poet Bio

Mbongeni Khumalo: Author of the poetry collection Apocrypha.

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