Kay Dee Mashile

Kay Dee Mashile, the books editor of The Journalist, shares a poem.

Red Africa

Blood red

Dry and red
Barren and bare
Africa is as red as Mars
Dry as the lips of her hungry
I guess she must also be hungry
What other reason can she possibly have to eat her own children?
Children that she bled to bare
Children that she dared to raise against all odds?

Blood red

Barren land
Yet children are stillborn
Escaping still births only to be killed prematurely
The same belly that carried them alive
Has become the grave that houses their dead bodies
Blood covered, dressed in bullet wounds
Africa’s children lying dead on independent roads
What a shame… A legacy of bloodshed that seems to be a recurring nightmare

Blood red!

Bones like thorns poking and piercing the heart of anyone who dares to come close enough to care
Death sentences are no longer left to the judicial system
But are rather the last prayers of young people who dare to take a stand against injustice
You dare not live to make a difference or all you leave may be a painful memory of bloodshed

Blood and bones
Children watching their parents drenched in blood
Mothers cradling the cold bodies of their children
Oh the sharp knives of short lives
Futures so full of potential, they burst into red seas filled with blood
Red blood!
Still red. Ever flowing. Fresh blood poured out each day
Is this the ultimate sacrifice for freedom?

Mother Africa
Turned into a hot Mars that preys over her young
The babies whose prayers and cries she has mastered the art of ignoring
A place of interest
Where outsiders live more comfortably that the natives
Bodies displayed on streets like struggle museums
Dry and barren land
With not enough water to wash away the thick stench of blood


Blood dripping off of the claws of the monsters that have worn Africa like a glove
Ironically, not to protect but to exploit her
Surgically altering her brain to self-destruction
As the Tsonga people say
Inyimpi ya xin’wana manana
Ubuntu bethu bucuthiwe
Re batho ba senang botho
So don’t you dare try to help
Don’t touch them
Don’t even attempt to save her young
Lest you become the scapegoat on whose head their blood will be avenged
So just watch, take pictures and decorate social media with their dead bodies
Colour the streets of social media red
Red like the streets of our once safe villages


Screaming for justice… For mercy… For a chance.
Chris Hani has now become a noun
A name dressed in “gang violence” and suicide
A name that sounds like gunshots and loud screams
Accidents that “unexpectedly”, yet conveniently, murder young Africans
Men and women who dare to speak the truths that have been marked taboo

Blood Red!

Yet their blood cries
Louder than the silence of eye witnesses who dare not speak a word
Yet they die anyway, lest the fear wears out and they speak
Death sentences marked in red ink
Bloody red ink
Doomed to death

Their blood marks Africa

The land of their ancestors
Their blood echoes
Their blood screams
Blood red
Hope for the redemption of Africa
Hope to repossess Africa from the claws of the animals that use her as a pawn
The claws that snatch her young through her own fingers
The claws that Chris Hani’d her sons and daughters

Hear the cries of your children
Cradle them
Protect them
Comfort them
Tell them that everything will be okay and mean it
Become the home they long for…

CPR them back to life
Protect your bloodline

Red Africa!

How long will the Blood of Africans stain your streets oh Africa!

Blood everywhere
My blood boils with rage
It’s enough!

As the African story goes, we’ve come a long way
But we’ve still got so far to go
The least we can do is not kill one another along the way

Red Africa… Red blood.