Inspired by the Events of 28th September 2016 –
Police Shooting on RU students.
“Superintendent Officer Mthembu”
by Leroy Maisiri (ZACF)
If our pain was turned into an art museum the most popular exhibit would showcase portraits of the South African Police Service with our bodies on the floor as their footstools. Our silenced screams chock up the airways in our throats, our tracheas burst out and with both hands we grab the artery veins in an attempt to contain the bleeding, trying to redirect this blood, this life back into the cause and yes, bang, bang, bang; you keep shooting and yes bang, bang, bang, we keep running.
But please first allow me to start this poetic prose in Joza extension 7, the peripheral of the township itself almost excommunicated from the centre of Grahamstown. Somewhere unclearly mapped by angry ground stones who share their space with the kind of dust that does not easily settle well on the road, is what looks like an afterthought of an RDP house. In it is Superintendent Officer Mthembu. A child of the working class. Mthembu on his tea breaks always jokes about how he wanted to be a lawyer, most of his stories start with the words “and during the apartheid…” he would recall those memories so well, remembering quite clearly all the fights, the protests, the revolutionary climate that engrossed South Africa. His stories would also always end with “…if only I could afford the fees in ’94, I would have been a qualified lawyer like Madiba”.