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by Roché Kester / 23.08.2013

Roché Kester hails from Cape Town and considers herself a writer, performer and director. She implemented these passions in the acclaimed feminist production Reclaiming the P…word, where she has graced the stages of the Baxter theatre and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. As a poet, Roche placed second in the Africa day poetry competition in 2009. More recently Roché placed in the top six in the Lover +Another national poetry competition. Roché believes in the transformative power of words and sees her expression as a means to ignite love and growth and unity.


Why are we so scared of black?
Is it the moving the looming, the fear it might attack
our minds, our souls, our skin.
Etching into our being,
leaving the mark of despair?

Fair? Fair?
All we aspire to,
When the colour of this continent is black.
A black thread connecting form Cape to Cairo,
But still, denotations and connotations grow
And old beliefs are not let go
of black as a savage force seeking to control.

Black the soul, the colour of coal and oil
Which gives rise to economic size,
But yet we toil and deny that black supplies
Our roots.
A mould of a people of early times,
of unity, simplicity, when all that existed was black.

Black, black. I am black
I wear my black, I swear my black,
I track my black skin and see in it
Greats’ retold, past spirits unfold
in the wide leaping black.

I embrace my black and let it envelope me like shadows attached
loud, proud, ‘cause black don’t crack,
dark is lovely,
black is beautiful,
mysterious, yet definitive not abstract.

But the name of black has been blackened by a black people,
who have driven back the name of black.
Where Africans seek to be South Africans.
Black is coloured lighter, and coloured is coloured whiter,
all out of spite for black.

Where, every definition of black has become abject.
Black hole, black sheep, black magic,
So tragic, that we are so scared of black.
Black looming, black moving.
A sordid past we re inact when we deny out heritage of black.

*For more on Roché Kester and other Pan-African poets please visit Badilisha Poetry website, produced by the Africa Centre.

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