‘What I see in Egoli’, Anonymous

What I see in Egoli
are tall buildings
smart cars
well dressed people
a whole scene
that has no place for me
no place for my wife
no place for my children.

Lord Jesus, where are you?
Are you in those smart white offices
those smart white houses
those smart white churches?

They think you are.
They talk about you the whole time
Just as if you were right there with them.
They are so sure
that you are guiding them,
that they are doing your will.
I like to think
that you are actually here with us
that you are one of the left out ones.

If that is how it is
if you are really here
with us, for us,
I think I could bear it
because I’d know
this wasn’t the end,
that you still come
to get prisoners out of gaol
and blind people out of darkness,
to get hungry people into the place
where they can feed their little ones
instead of helplessly hopelessly
listening to them cry.

But my son does not call you Lord,
Jesus,
let alone call on you,
Lord Jesus,
He uses your name as a swearword.
Jesus! he says,
Bloody white man’s Jesus!

I fear for him,
for us,
for those whites.

O Jesus, Jesus,
come soon,
clear up the barriers
open it all up, because if you don’t
something awful is going to happen.
Do you hear me,
one of those ‘homeland’ blacks
on the outside looking in?
RSVP
soon.

– Anonymous, cited in Margaret Nash, Black Uprooting from ‘White’ South Africa: The Fourth and Final Stage of Apartheid (Johannesburg: South African Council of Churches, 1980), 84–5.

One thought on “‘What I see in Egoli’, Anonymous

  1. But as we see with Jesus and the Samaritan women, the issue is not race, but salvation for black and white.. “for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation..” (Rev. 5:9)

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