THE GRINDING MACHINE – A poem by Ntsako Mbhokota, on the challenges that face the youth in township:
It’s another beautiful day in Africa, the sun has just risen and already there is a reason for an ordinary south African male to grab your bag and shoot you in the face.
The burden of being a man weighs on his shoulders like a ton of bricks when he walks, he speaks softly and calm, though like someone who is stuck behind bars, there is a longing for freedom in his voice.
Every new day poses a new challenge – can’t get an ID, can’t get a job but need to get moving.
The situation of the coming and going of a new day brings nothing but trouble.
Like a cat in the dark he prowls around in the night waiting for you.
Walk in his shoes for day…
They are very uncomfortable, baking in the afternoon sun trying to figure out ways to make money.
He ends up getting a visit from deep dark thoughts. As the night sets in he decides to no longer sit and wait for his freedom day. The hunt begins.
Conditioned to live and think like an animal, how do I rise?
Another day comes and grinds my spirit into pieces my hopes burn out like coal, bits of my consciousness ooze out and evaporate into the sky, now there is not even a trace of it.
What’s left is only the ashes of my dreams, dust comes and blows it away. I have nothing.
Barking like a chained dog, free only his mind and you’ve freed him.
For he shall live and not see the day as a grinding machine that is out to get him , what is the point if….
Today he’s seen yet another day but seized not another opportunity?
Ntsako Mbhokota is a Johannesburg based freelance journalist and author of ‘The World on Shades’.