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#PoeticLicence: The fight was always good, but now South Africans want their quality of life improved

Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

Author and poet Rabbie Serumula. File image.

Published Jun 12, 2022


Johannesburg - The fight was always good.

It is the post-traumatic stress disorder that was not accounted for. The accounts of how trauma can leave a chemical mark on a person’s genes, and how it can be passed down to future generations.

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South Africa's wounds aren't healing. We plaster them with rage and we pat them with self resentment before we crash to the ground in agony.

Inferiority complex got us wilding on a prolonged and violent rampage in public places, attacking and mugging people at random. A purge of sorts.

We are not children anymore, we no longer fear death that way, we bounce with it in our stride.

We have passed down defeated genes when lawlessness has become a survival trait.

We are always triggered. So eager to pull the trigger.

Half-truths cause more damage than lies in a democracy based on overinflated freedoms with no land.

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We, the children of water that flows under the bridge - our homes.

We, the children of veld fires that burn our lovers.

We are cousins of abandoned volcanoes that yearn for lava.

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We are soft-bodied and light-emitting but we are allowing too much darkness to pierce into us. Eskom isn't helping.

We, the children of smoke,

But don't get me wrong, I am not blaming the legacy of trauma for poor service delivery; for the skyscraper level cost of living, anthill size standards of dying. Or for unemployment and the general downward spiral of the economy.

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I am blaming greedy politicians and their corruption. Those who for years grew fat off the money meant for South Africans.

It is a curiosity of the soul that either taints it or lets it beam.

There are two ways you can be a victim of your circumstances; you either wallow in your darkness, or you gleam.

Leading lives of dignity is a myth when it always rains cats and dogs under this heavy cloud cast by poverty, unemployment and under-development.

The cost of food, water and electricity makes the most average of people commit the most horrendous acts.

Bread-and-butter issues are better dealt with by those who know which side their bread is buttered on. We don't even have bread but we know that better basic services are the right side of that bread. But that bread is exchanged for tenders, further exacerbating our PTSD.

I read this week that Ukraine wants to legalise marijuana as the country “understands the effects of war on mental health.” Ukraine’s health minister said his government is backing a bill that would legalise dagga for medicinal use.

It reminded me of the effects of colonialism on mental health that we need that weed for.

We, the children of smoke and mirrors, once believed that the cultural values of the coloniser are inherently superior to ours, but not anymore. The fight was always good, but there is a new one and what the South African people want above all else is to see their quality of life improved.