Monday, August 29, 2011

Hope/Every Mother Hobo Is My Mother

Bronwen Vaughan-Evans

Compiled by Njabulo Ngobese

"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others" - Peace Pilgrim, Spiritual Leader

The University of Natal graduate with a Master's degree in Fine Art in 1995, Bronwen Vaughan-Evans is a Durban based artist that has received a merit award in for the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition and has been involved in solo exhibitions that include the One-Zero-One exhibition and the Negotiated Spaces exhibition that was shared with Nontobeko Ntombela at the end of 2006.

Bronwen is currently lecturing part time in the Fine Art Department at the Durban University of Technology.


Every mother Hobo is my mother
Nise Malange

I was born under the bridge of the harbour
I was born with double pneumonia,
Frail, underweight and undernourished
Everyone thought I was not going to live
But my mother said I was a fighter
A tiny ugly little fighter
Whose umbilical cord was cut by a mother hobo
Using the broken beer bottle
My frail body only covered by old smelly
Towels and rugs from all the mother hobos around me
I was surrounded by love and caring
Every cents was kept to buy me formula and bottle
Everyone collected old baby clothes
My skin does not know the softness of baby clothes
I did not know the smell of new clothes.
So this is what I was told
So what did I know
What have I experience
Pain is my name and hunger is my middle name
I fight every day because other girls do not like me
I sniff glue so that I can be brave
I smoke dagga so that I can hallucinate
And feel good about my self
I never beg for money for food
But work for it
Since five men have open my legs
And touch my private parts
Every mother claimed me as hers so that
They can sell me as a sex slave
And get money for gavin (concoction of spirit, pineapple etc)
Six seven I remember every penetration, sweat
And scream of every colour and size
I do not remember when I have my first period
But remember men yelling and screaming because
I was dirty
So do not judge because you do not know where
I come from
Do not ask me where my home is because
I never have one
Do not ask me about my mother
Who gave birth to me because she died?
Few months after I was born
Do not ask me about my father because
Every homeless man in the street
Is my father
I am no longer the tiny ugly duck anymore
But beautiful and a body of a modeller
but suffer from suffer and irritate
my bosses when I have attacks
I am still in the streets of Durban
I come out only at night because
I am now a professional sex slave,
My body is an income for a man
Who claims to be my father
But still sleeps with me
he collects money paid to abuse my body
I get bitten up and horrible things done
To my little body
I am sometimes treated like a queen
When I am to serve dollars and euros
I get pampered and perfumed
I drink red wine and eat prawns
But cannot be in the streets for days
Because of all the money they pay
So do not judge me but pray for me
Because I do not know who will
Push me down the 15th floor
You know under this thick skin
There is still that little ugly fighter
Who is still underweight and undernourished?
Who still fight in the street so that she can lives
Any bridge under the harbour is my sanctuary
Because that is where my umbilical cord lies
That is also, where my mother afterbirth is buried
That where my home is.
That is where my memory begins

Umama onguSkhotheni ungumama wami
IsiZulu translation of poem extract: Nise Malange
Ngizalwe ngaphansi kwebholoho nginenyumoniya
Ngondile,ngimncane ngingondlekile kodwa ngiyisiqhwaga
Inkaba yami yanqunywa ngebhodlela likabhiya elifile
Umzimba wami awubazi ubuntofontofo bezingubo zabantwana
Ngazi ubuhlungu,indlala nokwesaba
Ngibhema iglu ukuze ngithole isibindi
Ngibuye ngibheme nensangu ukuze ngidakwe
Angikaze ngiyicele imali, ngiyayisebenzela
Kusukela ngineminyaka emihlanu ngiyisigqila socansi
Manje amadoda akhokha amadola namayuro aphesheya
Ngiyashaywa,ngidakiswe ngihlukunyezwe ngokocansi
Ngakhoke ungangihluleli ngoba awazi lapho ngiphuma khona.

A Brief Biography of Nise Malange

Nise Malange is the current director of the BAT Centre, and was born in Cape Town. She has been involved in social, political and community work for many years. After the unbanning of all political organisations in 1991, Nise founded the Stories that Can Heal project, an initiative that focused on the victims of political violence, using stories and poetry as means of healing past traumas.

In 1996, when the Truth and Reconciliation hearings were being undertaken, Nise’s project was invited to extend its work to help victims come to terms with the distressful conditions they were facing. She is currently working with young women who have been victims of rape and sexual abuse.

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