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Bongani Mavundla was born in Odendaalsrus, a small mining town in the Free State. He believes that the rebirth of Afrika lies in the organization and unity of the Global Afrikan Family. He is a writer, an aspirant academic and researcher. His scholarship interest is in the field of political sociology: governance and democracy, social movements, regionalism, natural resource governance and the politics of higher education in Afrika. He is currently completing his Masters in Sociology at the University of Free State.

Bongani Mavundla – Poetry Feature

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Away from the entanglements of the violence we once thought was confined to the townships I traverse

Into the artificial homelands

Where enigmatic mountains remain unnamed yet fenced in the name of early European settlers

Where blacks unconsciously live through changing times walking as obelisks of unchanging histories of :dispossession, super-exploitation,

racial “shared-monopolies”,

civilisational childhood,

Black women subservience,

Cumbersome traditions that expect more than they can give in difficult and troubling times

And sayings of very little of the dark sides of our pasts and choices especially those of the first black “anything”.

I traverse these farmlands that bear the graveyards of my forebearers, a place they inconveniently called home fleeing their unknown pasts that we today misguidedly yearn for to know ourselves due to the insecurties of our present. Escaping the vicissitudes of urban life with the naivety of that here I can find a pristine opportunity to start my life again, but what I left behind I find here in new shapes and forms and those I find here hope to start their lives afresh where I have escaped.

On their lived-realities the hand of the present sits, so fragile yet so burdensome. Despite all difficulties they refuse to claim helplessness as their state and understand that the present is the only opportunity they have to strive and that the future is but lived practices of struggle with an unequally created world by those who seized the moment when it presented itself. “We won’t be farm-workers forever my child, the white man will give us some land soon” they tell me as we sip rooibos tea sitting in the winter sun. Land has become the code-word for the search for dignity for many black South Africans after 23 years of experimenting with desegregated education, workplaces, residential areas and constitutional democracy.

The same questions I asked in the belly of the townships and the many tribulations I sought to escape I find everywhere I find my people

insecurity forces us to look for answers in questioning our identities, but it is not ourselves that we should seek, for we are always with ourselves. But we need to fashion tools that allow us to struggle with the world because the future is malleable.




For the future is open…

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