He was there when clouds of dust rose in the sky kicked away from a running pair. Musical were the gunshots that hit with rhythm the chests the drummed ‘til death.
He was there.
He was there when officers looked through him and killed the body he had found life in. He watched it lifelessly join a pile. He must have thought
Black man, why are you hated so much?
Is it the coil of your hair or the span of your nose?
Is it the roundness of your mouth or your coffee-stained skin?
Where he went, despair followed. Where he went, humiliation found comfort. Where he went, never would he return.
Black Consciousness found residence in the students of 1976. He wasn’t new to war, to hatred, to injustice.
He had lived in Steve Biko, in Solomon Mahlangu, in Chris Hani, in Nelson Mandela. He boiled in the blood of Tsietsi Mashinini and Khotso Seatlholo.
His voice came out of the shrill and cry of Mbuyisa Makhubo as she carried Hector’s lifeless body.
He sang Senzeni na - What have we done - as parents buried their children who fought to be taught in a language that was not of the oppressor.
He continued to live in silent wonder among the stifled voices and disheartened minds.
He watched as the youth gyrated and staggered in inebriation, oblivious to the power of the uniform that held on to their bodies.
He watched until he found life again in the youth of 2016. A fight that was to mirror the passion and anger of 1976.
They were “Woke”. Fighting for free education for all. Fighting for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.
Once again, chaos ensued. Rubber bullets sounding, rhythmic as they hit, leaving the hearts to beat brave. I fell in love with him, with Black Consciousness. He was different, he challenged status quo, he was a rebel.
He lived in Bonginkosi Khanyile, Nompedulo Mkatshwa, in Shaeera Kalla and many others who took to the Union Building in protest as clouds of dust rose in the sky kicked away from a running pair.
The fight still continues.
It continues on the streets of Twitter and Facebook behind screens and angry black fingers.
It continues in the classrooms and in the work place and in the churches.
It will not shut up. It is louder as it screams “I am my hair!” beautifully coiled, rich and defiant. It is infectious, spreading wider to the youth that will embrace it like a long-standing fashion. It is style.
I fell in love with Black Consciousness and he now lives in the freedom fighters, the Young Men Movement founders, Girl With a Difference campaign, the Read and Lead foundation.
He now lives in the agents of change, in the black youth that breaks boundaries, that achieve more than anyone could have imagined. They excel and make being black something of magic.
And so I look at the coil of his hair and the span of his nose, the roundness of his mouth and his coffee-stained skin. He is Woke. He is Black Consciousness. And I am in love.
* Ziphorah Masethe is the youngest black female motoring journalist. She is a freelance writer.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.