Pretoria High School for Girls tells African girls to chemically straighten their hair in the interest of tidiness. In August 2016 some girls refused to “conform to western ways” and more than 4,500 signed a petition to end racist practices and stop “pandering to whiteness.” #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh trended on social media. South African students also not allowed to speak their tribal languages, although German and Spanish students can speak their languages.
Nkomazi, South Africa
Can you hear me?
As I break down and cry because
You no longer are with me.
I remember when we used to
Talk until the lights went out
Laying on our backs on my old bed
Where we would brag and talk about
Every neighbourhood issue that had
To do with love, boys and fashion
You had my eyes and I had your hair.
You were always there when I needed a shoulder to cry on
I was never there when you needed
Me the most…that I know
I can’t even hold back my tears for long
Because my heart is now tired of feeling guilty
And my inner voice just argues that you were
Wrong and I was wrong too.
I still look at those little ballerina shoes that
You used to dance around and twirl with
Before your classes each day.
The closet next to mine still has your beautiful
Scent roaming around and I sometimes stare at it
For a while…
Hoping for one thing…one thing that I can’t
Possibly have…that thing is you.
Dear sister as I write
My heart is no longer with me anymore
And I decided to use pen and paper
To reveal to you how much my heart is broken
And I tried using words to say this
But I guess you’ll understand better
When I write it down…
When you left me
You took away the most important gifts of all
And without you my smile no longer
Resided on my entire being.
When you said goodbye without telling me
I felt my shoes became so heavy the gap
Next to me, as I lie on my bed
I can feel you lying still with your eyes closed
I remember how beautiful you were
When you closed your eyes for a night rest…
The only thing that you managed to leave
Behind was a yellow note
With the words “I am sorry sister”
And you left
As if the words were going to tell me
Where you’ve gone
As if they were going to replace your place in my heart.
It’s hard accepting that you are gone
Because my heart just declines the thought
Of not seeing your glowing eyes as they
Shine like that was their only function.
So sister tell me
When are you coming back?
Coming back for me…
Just tell me how many rivers and oceans
Do I have to cross in order to reach you?
How many more times are you going to keep silent?
How many miles do I have to walk
For me to reach your destination
At least sister
Meet me halfway
Maybe try writing back…
And come back…home.