Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

#PoeticLicence: A man living in a dark shelter will want electricity. But what of the one under a dirty blanket?

By Rabbie Serumula Time of article published Sep 20, 2020

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A Mazda 2 billboard spotting the hatchback in metallic red and 16-inch wheels with a straight spoke design, caught my attention.

“THE BEAUTY OF FREEDOM,” the billboard read.

Where is the beauty in this freedom of which they speak, when my people are eternally crammed like sardines, in backroom shacks, in our omens, in the concentration camps they call townships?

Overcrowded, overflowing, Townships are overexposed to THE UGLY OF FREEDOM while municipality trades land for power. Land for electricity.

We are masters at the alchemy of candle lit, dinner-less tables. Water has always been a trip. Not to the kitchen for us. A trip to the communal taps, or the closest river, or lake or dam.

Electricity has been weighing heavy on our torn pockets, it has trickled past our ankles, down to the soles of our feet.

We are tripping over electricity.

Internet connectivity too is superseding soup kitchens.

We are half human, half human resource. Scapegoats to improve BEE ratings.

Perhaps my disdain for the careless use of the word ‘freedom’ on the billboard, as a double entendre, threw me off.

The word beauty too - it means there is an ugly.

A watched Dr Lwazi Lushaba in an interview and he said we live in a society where white lives seem to represent hope, success and value - the beauty.

“Black lives seem to represent lack in all its forms. Black lives lack value, there is no hope, no dreams. We are a people who have long seized to dream” - the ugly.

This is not about Mazda. Neither is it about racism. It is about the beauty and ugly of freedom.

It is about the subliminal. The psychological warfare we are losing under the facade of a supposed freedom on paper.

True freedom stems from knowing who you are. But even then, you learn of the generation injustices that linger in the atmosphere.

Therefore, knowing who you are also means knowing how oppressed you are.


It is the tails side that breeds fires.

Free State Matjhabeng municipality has agreed to hand over 139 farms as security for its R3.4 billion Eskom debt.

Chief executive of Free Market Foundation, Leon Louw, said expropriating land without compensation is not necessary.

This statement is half true. Government can redistribute land and private property will not need to be expropriated. But from the disgusting side of freedom, concentration camps are still overflowing with Black bodies.

This is a catch-22. Electricity over a dark shelter. A dark shelter over sleeping at front doors of Joburg stores under a dirty blanket.

A man living in a dark shelter will want electricity. But what of the one under a dirty blanket?

The Black Mamba is said to be one of the world's deadliest snakes. They are shy and evasive.

They won't seek out human interaction. But if threatened or confronted, they will strike.

It is the ugly side that breeds fires. They will burn tires,

close roads with rocks, picket in the streets, they will strike.

The knee of injustice has been resting on our necks for far too long, we can't breathe.

When you can't breathe, you can't scream. How else will your voice be heard, dear Black Mamba?

We are already accustomed to no food in our bellies, freedom is only primary when there is no air in our lungs.

To those on the beautiful side of freedom, our war is with the government we elected. Not you!

You are in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the right freedom.

The Saturday Star

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