Blue shirts, men deployed with strong arms

In light of the police violence to a call for educational justice seen in South Africa during the protests in 2015. This poem is a prayer and a thought from afar. Re-imagining the experiences of the students. Remembering the history and the context within which the protest was seen. South Africa, a country familiar with police brutality and protests. The youth of 1976 experienced the same kind of resistance. Sharpeville also. This is like a breathing beast. Fighting a system from the inside (internalized oppression) and the structural violence that lingers in University institutions, in the structure of the economy,  the spatial segregation and in the fading hopes of a ‘better life for all.

Class of 2015 you are indeed at the ‘cusp of something great.’

This too will one day seem like a tale, a history.

A breathing beast. Fighting a system inside of me

Blue shirts, tear gas and men deployed with strong arms

Before they ever sent their force on mission

to blow up rubber, grenades and tear gas

they had already tilled the soil of my burnt body, inside out

They had carefully crafted a birthplace in me,

Forming (setting the scene/like digging for a burial) sands for sputum to fall on


Before Their Grenade boots violently barged up and down

Before they ever sent their force on mission

to fire up air explosives, force and fear amass

they had violently hosed my soul, to house dust and despair

They had skillfully haft a home in me,

manuring the floor for podiums of assumed power


The strong arms of this system have strenuously grown up in me,

the system is inside of me, a breathing beast with vile weapons

Spiking its strength like wild thorns, through my very body

Its delusions have seethed into our brittle bones,

creating crackling cringes in our tips and toes,

Bribing our wakefulness, shutting our jaws

resisting the fierce revolution that burns our insides


Their years of crafting, hafting, manuring had left little remaining

a numbed mind, a tied-up tongue, a docile body in a rainbow nation

wrinkled from candle nights, and morning debt

carrying in our veins, tales of strain and shriveling faith

waking up to weights of loans and what’s next?

Yet still with the unshakable hope of “a better life for all”


Before they ever sent their force on mission

To antagonize students through terror and stampede

they did not realize that the strong arms of this system are weaker

weaker than the outcries of a tired generation.

Weaker than the strength of her new found courage.

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