Natalia Molebatsi, poet and writer, has recently released her debut collection of poems, Sardo Dance, published through Ge’ko. In 2008, she edited the poetry anthology We Are… published by Penguin South Africa. She is currently completing her second collection Dog Souljah, and other poems. She is also working on a publication (poetry and prose) titled Gentle summers at her feet. Natalia Molebatsi has graced stages in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Holland, Senegal, Italy and Nigeria. Her poetry has been featured in stage theatre pieces such as Black Woman and Child at the Market theatre (2005) as well as Dagos (2008), a play on xenophobia and racism against Italian migrants in Australia during the 1950s. Among other inspirations, Natalia has shared energies and stages with acclaimed local and international poets and writers such as Gcina Mhophe, Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer, National Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile, Lesego Rampolokeng, Phillippa Yaa de Velliers, Paul Polanski (USA), John Sinclair (USA), Dorothea Smartt (UK), as well as Chilean poet and activist Carmen Yañe.
I’m raising you to wake up
and take a ride to any universe
be the beauty of soul sound and energy
create my child like you the created
earn the language of moulding
seeds into fruitful beings.
I’m raising you so you too can raise me
infant of my skin
reveal chapters the two of us
are yet to learn
and believe me child
some of the rules i
have run into can save your soul.
So listen up child,
so clothe yourself with ancient souls
who knew before we did that you,
will be born into this crazy but jazzy
scene called living.
Rise and let the world know you are here
to claim no sense
nor sin but only the waking and dream
dripping sun of each dawn.
Never wait for time’s breath to blow
into your lungs rather bloom
from the dust we rose from like mystics
to grow your own wings
and be sure to ask for strength between
so they don’t split into pieces cause
child, I’m raising you to be whole.
Listen close child cause you’re a sister,
and I’m a sister
remove your walk from exhausting.
Arms of men-talities who can’t
take a strong sister and
white supremacies who want to think
we’re strong enough only
for taking their instructions
and child, I’m stung but the swelling truth
that not every woman is a sister.
So, listen up gal
listen up, bloom of my belly
infant of my skin never step into boxes
these aren’t enough to hold our stories alive
rise to the knowledge that our people
and theirs are tapestries
sown long and wide enough to hold you up
till you can uphold yourself
never forbid your truth in spaces that
strangle your realities
rise child your vision is our voice
walk to the knowledge that you are
everything that is musical....
I’m raising you to wake up