Vonani Bila


kowtowing chiefs

our toadying famished chiefs
never stop yelling:
build us mansions
buy us mercedez
take our children to schools of lavishness
fill the fridge with beer
& the kings & chiefs hide in leopard hides

our kowtowing chiefs are starving
they join the ruling party
shout viva comrade madiba
yet yesteryear, like wolves, they lurked in the dark
guided by botha & the apartheid dogs
to strangulate the necks of freedom fighters

our kowtowing chiefs are horribly hungry
yesteryear they were governors of bantustan dumping ground republics
fervently protecting the pyrrhic purity of tribal tradition & culture
but today, even in community meetings
they madly preach equality, egalitarianism & non-racialism
they tell us who to vote for without shame
& their fat faces appear on the ballot paper
& next, you hear them snoring & coughing in parliament
still, no one questions these african chiefs

our kowtowing, mischievous chiefs are really starving
can't allow bread & butter to pass away from their mouths
they live in under the shades of table mountains
& ecstatically take an excursion to robben island
but their subjects can't bear the load of rural poverty anymore
& prisons are crammed with hungry people
the real thugs preach the word of god
to clear conscience & guilt
neither did they testify sins of apartheid before tutu
our chiefs
(not sekhukhune, hintsa, makhado, nghungunyani
or tiro, biko, hani nor phama)
our chiefs in crowns & gowns
are a gluttonous waste
nothing else.

The Road to Xigodini

It's like a sliding snake
it has a lump
and leaks as if it has a hole
it is washed away
and no oil stays on her body.

The road to Xigodini
is a neglected wife

moody and miserable.


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