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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section Three: Society

Romeo D. Matshaba

Broken Brothers
There should be more, older brother said, as
He left one day, and I stayed that day.
But brother, we remember differently
As you called me single minded, as you called me feeble minded
North you went, where scornfully you greeted the winter cold
And the Neanderthals who were beast and bold
But brother, we remember differently
As I could not leave my laughter, my culture and follow a dream behind
My people, my Ubuntu… would all be gone, so how could I, allow such in kind?
The desert was not kind as it made us gasp and blind
The sun burnt our crops and made my young to weep.
But brother, we remember differently
You discovered fire; you did not fall… even when they were beast and brute
Understood the cold and tamed the mighty mammoths
You flourished and made a home so far away from home.
But brother, we remember differently
The blazing sun soon called me friend
The daunting desert soon embraced my kind
I prospered, here and there, I was happy… here and there
But brother, we remember differently
You conquered the seas and took to the air
You made machines and nice cuisines
Discovered mathematics and named the stars.
But brother we still remember differently
I did little in your eyes, and little still in these eyes you gave me now
I was happy and I needed less, perhaps this, is why I tell.
My hopes and dreams are engraved in my skin,
I went too close to the sun up high, and came back a lil too dark.
It is the fairytale in me, the novel… the romantic
But, we remember differently
Older brother came back in the fall, with a mighty ship and deadly machines
This made my blood to rush, and my opinions to hush.
You had changed and so had I, You spoke white and I spoke me
So I could not tell you, Mother is dead
Nor remind you my blood is yours
You found a new God, so you looked down on mine
You told me my God is erroneous, my belief was worse
Courtesy of Darwin, you found varied eyes, hair and even skin to match…
That hampered us, not to see that you are my own, and you once left me as sketch.
But brother, why do we remember so differently?
I welcomed you with open hands
Welcomed you like a brother of mine and shared with you all that was fine.
But brother, you have the weakness same as me… you forget same as me
You called me primitive as you took my land
You called me stupid as you shook my hand
You instilled your beliefs, and abolished my beliefs
You took me west and made me slave,
You told them Iwas not saved, and that I lived in a cave
You changed my system, you made you king and saw me ant
But brother, why do we remember so differently?
I know your story differs from mine
I know all will be well in time.
Brother of mine, know I forgive you, for all you had done, and
I do not blame you for all you had done.
But now that I have reminded you, that brother, my blood is yours
What will you do… what will you do?
Romeo D. Matshaba was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a novelist, scriptwriter, short story writer and a poet. He has published with several publications and is also the author of the romantic novel My Memories in Time.


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