To mark IWD, we're publishing this poem from a new collection by Sheree Mack called skinshame, to be published shortly by Culture Matters.‘We’ll show you you’re a woman’ was the title of a report compiled by Human Rights Watch into the violence and discrimination experienced by black lesbians and transgender men in South Africa.
‘We'll Show You You're a Woman’
in memory of Eudy Simelane
The minute you see likeness is when you realise that no matter what you're going through in your life, you are not alone
- Zanele Muholi
a) On the outskirts of Johannesburg, she is finally cured.
b) The Namaqualand daisy is in flashy orange bloom.
c) They say Satan has a hold on her. She is a demon.
d) I am afraid to be myself.
e) In a park, on a moonless night,
they each take their turn to correct her.
f) The township always smells of Omo washing powder,
even when we have no water.
g) My mother says I must take a boyfriend.
She invites the Pastor into our home to convert me.
h) No way a finger or tongue can satisfy you, he says.
You need one of these to sort you out, he says
as he pulls down his pants.
i) They find her naked body in a creek,
stabbed 28 times, including the soles of her feet.
j) No one is saying anything. No one has been caught.
k) I sense the guys in my neighbourhood are planning something. They cannot accept me choosing a woman. My day will come.
Dr. Sheree Mack is a writer and artist, with expertise in Black British Women's Poetry. She's currently working on a creative non-fiction novel as well as a poetry collection about Rewilding.