Epilogue of Venom, by Moemise Motsepe
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Epilogue of Venom

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when the children of our children
hold us to judgement
the currency of our being shall be found in want
invalid and sterile
grim and grey with decay
there on barren grit
Africa looking down at his feet
drained and dried to the core
sapped of all essence and worth
left poisoned and septic
and all by choice in the fact
it must have been written across the skies
long long ago when time began
when rivers were too young to flow
and long before mountains turned into rocks of iron memory
it must have been written across and beyond the seven seas
that when lighting strikes across Africa’s back
when fire devours our crops
and the sun robs our rivers of their sparkle
Africa would seek help from outside her own
shun the wisdom of her people
spit on the majesty of her age
and so here we are
destined infernally across this vast expanse
of a continent whose heart died long before its birth
i refuse to listen to the wailing now
you and i are victims no more
we are alibis equal in guilt
allies in the affliction of self
we delight in the cracking of the whip
we revel in our flogging
as we scald our skins and twist our tongues
and burn our hair and auction our souls
tussling for foreign praise
pleading and praying for synthetic inclusion
to exist in the throes of irony
and function by proxy with definitions of alien root
we have devoured with a beastly hunger
the slime and rot of hamburger cultures
we have swallowed like swines
the viral filth of coca cola religions
as we celebrate plastic freedoms
and to bruise and wound and maim the self
our names come from the seas
those who rise in the hereafter
will spit at the memory of our era
repulsed at the shame of our continent
for its addiction to the ways of lesser continents
those who come when we are gone
the children of our children
will curse our tombs and burn our remains
and expel our souls from the land
we shall have gone when the truth is told
shed the flesh
gone gone the way of the dust
those who come to take our place
the children of our children
will pass a verdict torrid and flaming with venom
the epilogue of wrath and rancour
when masks are peeled off layer by layer
and lies are dug out root by root
when the beautiful ones are born
our shame and loss will pass
satanic treaties will be torn to shreds
put to fire and brought to ashes
and the languages that were born of this land
will once again sprout and flourish
and colour the land with their splendour
when the blue-eyed kingdom of mud is brought to the gravel
we, the golden brown
we, of the soil
must drink alone from the river Nile
and now it written with fire across the universe
now it is written on a heart of stone
our dignity returns today
and today is the birth of the beautiful ones
the children of our children shall be born
when Biko rises at first light

7 March 1995,
Harare, 3.50pm

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