Xenophobia

I met her buying putu concentrating on the rack,

Her baby tied up safely in a blanket on her back

With curly hair and big brown eyes peeked out inquiringly

He stared in wonder all around and then he looked at me

His little face beamed in surprise and chuckled with delight,

An individual standing there with face a brilliant white

His tiny hand extended and he clutched at my blonde hair

He closed his eyes, then opened them, to make sure I was there

His mother turned around and gaily chuckled with her lad,

Her loving look and gentleness but eyes so big and sad,

I asked her what his name was and her story then she told

I story that will stick with me until I’m very old

We came from far to get some food and thought that we belonged,

It seems our jobs made all our neighbours feel that they’d been wronged.

We ran from being burnt alive, a community obsessed,

His name’s “Uyaba” and it means “All that I possess.”

“They chased us from our houses, and killed our neighbours wife,

We ran from pangas and from fire, to have a longer life.

We came and were accepted here, we lived in a small shack,

We have our brother living there but we’re not going back.”

“We thought we had it hard while living in another land,

We thought our lives were better when our comrades made a stand.

But, food was scarce and then the rain stayed in the clouds

We had no sudza for our food, the crying became loud”

“We packed a few belongings and we walked for mile on mile,

We watched as wealthy people drove and passed in proper style,

We drank from drains, ate garbage that we found along the way

We had to do this just to keep our hunger pains at bay.”

“We slipped on past the border guards with terror in our hearts,

We were just the lucky ones to make it to these parts,

We thought we were established there and then all hell broke loose,

They dragged my husband from our hut and hung him from a noose.”

“I was fetching water with the Mama down the way,

She screamed and ran, she held my hand and said “We can not stay.”

“We ran for days and then we stumbled on a place of modest ease,

I had this baby here, so now you know what his name means”

Liz Horwill 2006

photo-1504888060547-83cbe78ccfe0.jpg
This is not the lady I met but the closest depiction of her I could find.