Photography: Olad Aden
Your sister is going to Europe.
Your grandmother wants to know if they speak English there.
‘Will they hear you ask for help?’
When she says ‘English’,
she is the third language.
Her ‘they’ takes its breath,
and no sooner is an airplane broken in half, in mid-flight.
Who will guide it now?
A ‘dey’ was put in its place
“Do dey speak English der?”
You hurt her when you mutter back.
You pour Europe into her ears,
But she is proud that it is you causing her pain.
Her face says,
“Come see my daughters speak!
Come see how she makes me deaf!
Come and see how black girls can disappear.”
We will need a translator to say goodbye.
But she is going to Europe!
It must be a grand place
because I don’t know anyone there.”
About Vuyelwa Maluleke
Writer, actress, writer, poet, storyteller. Her chapbook, Things We Lost In The Fire was published by African Poetry Book Fund. She has performed on many stages including TEDx Soweto, Berlin as part of DExZA. She is the 2015 Word N Sound Queen of the Mic. She has a BA in Dramatic Arts from Wits University.
Visit our website every day in May for our #APoemADay series to celebrate Africa Month.