(repost from Letterdash)
Walking and taking the train are more than just exercise and a mode of transport for me, they’re spaces of alone-while-not-being-alone time for me, time to mull over the events of the day, time to just think.
Not so much lately, but it used to be a great dream-with-your-eyes-open gap for me – many a world tour, business venture or romance has gone from birth to demise within a 45-minute train journey.
But, on this day, my train of thought started out playfully: I was thinking about some of the duels fought on Letterdash in the past – in particular one opponent who’d dissed MadMom and I (amongst many illustrious others) as being white women and a bit dim. I was thinking that I should have responded with:
“MadMom is WHITE??!!
*Clutching her face with both hands, her mouth a perfect O with horror, head wagging from side to side, Joanne ran shrieking from the room….*
This made me smile, naturally.
But then I had a sobering thought: I saw Steve Biko’s wide smile and remembered how he’d laughed at the Apartheid cops, how he’d made their convoluted reasoning so laughable – and how, when pushed into the dunces’ corner, the wicked simply lash out and kill you.
And then, in my mind I heard the voices of my peers back in the late 70’s talking about it – and it chilled me to realise how dangerous it is to rewrite history before it’s even gotten cold.
Because then no-one knows what anything means, why it’s there or where it came from.
Again I hear the voices of my peers, right at the time when freedom songs are gathering strength in secret – they’re young people like me who hate Apartheid and they’re speaking about Biko: how he’d been killed by the police.
Only, in those days the name for the hated Apartheid police was “boere”.