The Violence of Silence

the violence of silence
as we watch people who have come to our city
struggle to maintain their dignity and we do nothing

the violence of silence
that echoes
as we fail to recognise our neighbours on the street
as we make them invisible

the violence of silence
as we lock our doors to silence those who need shelter, food, healthcare, housing and
even children in need of schools and birth certificates

the violence of the states silence
on why constitutional rights are not delivered
on why exactly the land is not being shared
amongst those who work it
on how all are equal before the law
on the location of our houses, security and comfort
on the closing of the doors of learning and culture

the violence of silence
of being told to be silent, stand one behind the other
of being made to stand in queues like grade ones
when you are an adult, responsible, respected
applying at home affairs for safe haven

the violence of silence
the silence of home affairs
where no one says 'lets install chairs
people stand in queues for four hours or more every day'
where a staffer can shout from his chair to say
take two steps back and stand there
where politeness is extinct
and the vulnerable are made to feel small

the violence of silence
when finally you reach the front of the queue
the silence of the portfolio committee
who has not decided on your application
so after 19 years you are told to come back again in 6 months

the violence of the silence
the silence of onlookers
while babies are torn from their mothers arms

the violence of silence
the silence of civil society
as we witness police brutality

the violence of silence
the silence of parliament, president, cabinet ministers and party leaders
who speak of illegal people
who lap up the gravy
while denying dignity
to those who seek refuge

the violence when we break the silence
to persecute our African family
seeking safe haven
the violence of our afrophobic voices

the violence of silence
the silence of the forked tongue
not loving our neighbours, our family from the African diaspora

time to end the violence of silence
time to love your neighbours and family
time to speak out, stand up and act
time to stand alongside our African family
time to reach out and be open
time to break the silence and stop the violence!