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Yasser Booley

Khadija Heeger

Country: South Africa


South African poet Khadija Heeger was born in Hanover Park on the Cape Flats. She has a keen interest in history and the interpretation of history through art.

Her interests range from video production, to performance, to writing, as tools to facilitate healing and consciousness on many and varied levels round the imposition of limitations, those we impose on ourselves and those imposed on us from external sources. She believes in the power of words, to ground and root us in time and place, words that allow us to travel beyond ourselves and towards ourselves, words that resonate with earth so that we remember who we are. She is an original member of And the Word was Woman ensemble of women writers, performing at several high profile events like the annual Cape Town Festival, Mother City Book Festival and Parliament.

For the 2008 Spier Poetry Exchange, she was commissioned to create a new work in collaboration with visionary director Jaqueline Dommisse of Hearts & Eyes Theatre Collective and two musicians of the increasingly popular indigenous music and heritage group Khoi' Khonnexion. Unsurprisingly Stone Words became a highlight of the festival and received standing ovations for each of its performances.

Related Podcasts & Events:

Citizen Minus

Suffering has a black skin
How am I to be now that I am made of glass
And my words have no sound except for those uttered in a past
Sometimes I’m black when politics parodies truth and quantity is king, sometimes I am black
Sometimes only in the vaguest sense do I have history, a memory, a cultural reality
Easier to keep me in the dark, easier to talk about the Indian ocean slave trade as if it were one of the stepsisters
Easier to say that I almost suffered, am almost one thing not quite another
Somewhere between here and there between 1994 and the present I was lost on the periphery of a South African story because if memory serves the historical themes it seems my people were never participants in the resistance
Never marched , never fought, never died
Coloured anomaly, forcibly removed, survivors of slave ancestry
The sum total of my past coined thus and by degree I’m the not so bad off progeny
We won’t omit you completely, we’ll just play with the lighting so it won’t look so frightening
Pieces of a story just enough said so you’ll go quietly to bed
Citizen not quite black
Ek is mos ve’koep deu’ my manskap
‘n gove’ment wat alwee’ praat van equality and freedom
ma’ hie’sie ding die vinge wys ve’by daa’ waa’ ek bly issie soe bad offie, makkie saak hoeveel gengsters en drug addicts da’ issie it kommie vannie strugglelie
and is by definition not defined as an apartheid crime
citizen wassie da’ nie Maggie kla’ nie vrek van pille roek met ‘n apartheid spoek
and now 15 years later left with a democratic hangover and a negotiated new South Africa, I find that ‘not an apartheid crime’ ruining the length and breadth of most coloured youth
filling the gap between yesterday with a smell not unlike that of the underdog
unity in diversity becomes a travesty if we omit just one you see
but history it seems is a commodity something dressed for a particular emphasis sold to the appropriate buyer
“but it’s not that simple” they tell me, “ there are complexities if you please, don’t over simplify!”
is it complex to lie, makeover, storyboard, edit so you don’t see the ones slipping through the cracks till suffering has one colour and prosperity another and I become the pain you see through now that I am made of glass
and the skeleton of my ancestors can be seen in the faces of the young
we carve a dubious future at best
but I like a ghost will not rest until equal means what it is and recognition is fair and suffering has not colour
till I have no more gooseflesh in these modern day prisons of freedom for all where we create more underdogs for the next struggle
hoeko’ gat o’s da’ in ‘n blind doek vas gevang
gemang deu’ ‘n fucked up sense of identity
hoeve’ aluta, hoeve’ continua
ek is mos ve’koep deu’ my manskap
‘n government was alwee’ praat van equality and freedom
maa’ hiesie ding die vinger  wys verby daa’ waa’ ek bly issi soe bad offie maakie saak hoeveel gengsters en drug addicts daa’ issie it kommie vannie strugglie and is by definition not defined as an apartheid crime
citizen wassie daa’ nie, Maggie kla nie, vrek van pille roek met ‘n apartheid spoek

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