29.Jul.2017 About Us | Contact Us | Terms & Conditions
>

Want to know the stories driving our day? Why not join us on Facebook and Twitter

The New Black Magazine's Page

Search Articles

Home











A Poem For Sarah Baartman

 

Friday, October 5, 2007.

 

By Diana Ferrus

 

I’ve come to take you home –
home, remember the veld?
the lush green grass beneath the big oak trees
the air is cool there and the sun does not burn.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white
and the water in the stream chuckle sing-songs
as it hobbles along over little stones.

 

I have come to wretch you away –
away from the poking eyes
of the man-made monster
who lives in the dark
with his clutches of imperialism
who dissects your body bit by bit
who likens your soul to that of Satan
and declares himself the ultimate god!

 

I have come to soothe your heavy heart
I offer my bosom to your weary soul
I will cover your face with the palms of my hands
I will run my lips over lines in your neck
I will feast my eyes on the beauty of you
and I will sing for you
for I have come to bring you peace.

 

I have come to take you home
where the ancient mountains shout your name.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white –
I have come to take you home
where I will sing for you
for you have brought me peace.

 

Diana Ferrus, is a critically-acclaimed South African poet of Khoisan descent. She wrote “A poem for Sarah Baartman” while studying at the University of Utrecht, Holland, in 1998.

 

She told Marang Setshwaelo: “One evening I was looking at the stars and I thought to myself, ‘They’re so far away. But if I were home, I’d be able to touch every one of them.’ My heart just went out to Sarah, and I thought, ‘Oh, god, she died of heartbreak, she longed for her country. What did she feel?’ That’s why the first line of the poem was ‘I’ve come to take you home.”

 

This poem persuaded a leading French politician to campaign for the return of Sarah Baartman's remains to her native South Africa.

 

Sarah Baartman was finally brought home from France to rest in South Africa in January 2002, after more than 200 years of humiliation and abuse.

 

With thanks Sokari Ekine at www.blacklooks.org.

 

Please e-mail comments to comments@thenewblackmagazine.com

 

 

  Send to a friend  |   View/Hide Comments (0)   |     Print

2017 All Rights Reserved: The New Black Magazine | Terms & Conditions
Back to Home Page nb: People and Politics Books & Literature nb: Arts & Media nb: Business & Careers Education