Afro Poetry Times

World Poetry Day winning poem (poem)...


MARCH 21 was World Poetry Day and to encourage those who have poetic talent, the IOS invited people to enter our poetry competitio­n.

The winner, Thirusha Naidu, whose poem is printed below, will receive a canvas print of her poem, courtesy of Rudra Production­s.


When you’re not black or white You may be brown, mestiza Mixed race or mixed blood. Mulatto, coloured or Métis. Indian is my favourite, Because most times that’s a lie. Some of these you can take as your own.

Don’t get too attached. These are names that can drag you Through the mud by your good hair,

When some yellow-hair-suited sycophant

Tells you which one is the current ticket.

No questions. No exchanges. No returns

Scalp it at another show at your peril.

If you find yourself in places Where your ancestors walked You’ll want to add “native” to your name.

Who needs to know you belong? And why?

Your grandmothe­r was negro, Indian or coloured. Sometimes all three. Always nothing.

Your mother was black, Asian or native.

Free to choose Anything but white. You might want to calculate your percentage

Of the now popular “Indigenous” With a capital I Whatever gets you ahead in the Race

Stop to ask and you’ll lose your place.

Who needs to know where you came from?

And why?

Be careful where you go Travel is dangerous for brown girls.

A Southern gentleman once asked me,

Do think of yourself as black or white?

Black! I learned that at apartheid school.

Well I think of you as white. Another test, set by a white man, I failed.

In Australia I played mind games With a psychiatri­st. What are you? she prodded. I’m a psychologi­st

Yes, but what are you? I’m South African. Where do you come from originally?

South Africa? Before that? Heaven?

She gave up.

I didn’t win.

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