#APoemADay: ‘Click’ – Itai Hakim

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Click
11 official languages
What’s so official about the borrowed name from East and West African tribe?
Bantu and Nguni subscribe to migratory patterns like
hen greater grandfather used to work in colonial mine.
And like him
I will dig for the golden days of my history and bring it back to life

After having done some research,
I found that I am related to a man whose bones now reside.
I’m two generations removed from my native language’s rhyme.

My identity resembles that of an African tapestry combined.
The proper pronunciation of my name should be “Itai”.
Hebrew in origin,
perhaps then I am a descendant of the Israelites.
But that’s insignificant when your appearance is seen as a crime.

When I appear
I visually assault the eyes.
I am the cultural hunchback.
Burdened by being umnyamane.
Burdened by having kroes hare.
Big lip and big nose.
I am betrayed by my circumstances
of trying to leave the dictator in the civil war.

So that evening
That evening we walked to the border gates
Emptied out our reserve banks
and handed over our big fives.
Joburg city cannot claim to be a jungle for shit
Because I walked through the Kruger
and I’m still alive.

But wait,
I might make tonight’s news headlines.
I might have been beaten and lynched using a burning tyre.
3rd degree documents the burning of the dream deferred
And not so far from here,
it occurred.

I was apprehended by three cops and they asked me
Can we please see your documents?
No!
Can I please see your documents?
Do you know the country of your original birth?
How the fuck can you claim that this is your piece of earth?

I’m a little worried that our tongues have forgotten how to speak using ancient muscles.
Siringa itsotsi taal nabomagriza,
majita, I see trouble.

Count the number of clicks in your language
And I will count the number of clicks in mine
So we can form tribal cliques
And continue to divide the common bloodline.

My younger brother steps on modernity’s landmines.
Will his limbs not be blown off?
Culturally amputated students
enter Model C schools
on linguistic wheelchairs
But, nobody cares for the linguistically disabled.
Coz as long as you can speak with an accent,
get a job
and put food on the table
Then there is only one language.
That is English.

I realise that our parents have mistakenly,
in their attempts to get us beyond the legacy of apartheid,
they’ve accidentally poured acid down our throats.
Now we can no longer click.

11 official languages
What’s so official about the borrowed name from East and West African tribe?
Bantu and Nguni subscribe to migratory patterns like
When greater grandfather used to work in colonial mines

And like him
I will dig for the golden days of my history and bring it back to life
11 official languages
Click

About Itai Kaim
Itai is a Johannesburg based musician, poet, who describes himself as an artistic medium. He is one half of music and poetry duo Children of the Wind. He is a former member of 8 Bars Short, has collaborated and performed with The Brother Moves On, and is currently working on his debut EP titled Ntodeni.

Visit our website every day in May for our #APoemADay series to celebrate Africa Month.

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