A Collection of Original Poetry by Students of Ladysmith High School

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Contrast ~ Omhle Duma

I knew I was never your favourite student; knew at five years old that you would never treat me the same as the kids with the long hair and pearly white skin.
I knew.
I know I was never your first choice, always the last resort.
The ‘if I must’ option, the ‘just to add colour to this’ option; even though you liked your walls white you added some of my colour.
You never liked the big black spot in the middle of your clean white wall, never enjoyed much the sight of my small hand on your knee;
I knew.
But my Daddy taught me that, you Omhle, you are beauty in its finest form.
You are a tree that never withers, an earth shattering thunder, a crash of dangerous but oh so beautiful lightning.
He told me that I was skyscraper in a city where the only things the people are surrounded by are two storey buildings.
My daddy told me I was great, I unlike the rest, was born to shake the course of this world.
I was never meant to let the earth rotate peacefully on its axis, instead I challenged it to rotate forty degrees upside-down and see if it would look forty degrees my way to see the angle I looked most beautiful in.

But you, you wanted me to be quite, to stay in a box so that the only time you would take me out is when guests came over;
Hold me like some porcelain doll and say: “My, isn’t this piece of chunky brown child, this ebony skin, this curly hair and brown eyes- isn’t it so precious?”
And everybody would nod and play with my hair like I was some sort of consolation prize that had “Handle with care” written in the soles of my feet.
I was never taught to be careful.
Always taught extremity; always black, always white never here nor there.
But you, you white colour on the outside and red rage on the inside never was much attracted to us brown skin folk.
And the thing is, even if my hair had been straight you would still not have acknowledged me.
You would still speak at me and not to me, speak at a distance as if, if my words landed on you, you would be drenched in my mud.

Have you never been told that the earth is where it all began?
That brown is the colour of earth that rich soil is brown, the darker it is the more good things will come out of it?
I guess this is why you never really liked me; you never appreciated the beauty of my rich soil, left my good parts, my fertile parts always longing for a taste of your water.
I guess you loved to see me beg.
But now, now I realise I would have taken dirty brown water all over again because your clear water wasn’t all that anyway;
Instead the brown water had character, had identity, had personality and your clear water looked just like everyone else.

©  Omhle Duma

Grade 12

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