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Whites Only, Net Blankes

Date Written: October 5, 2017
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I wish that I’d said no that day 
Because even at six years old I knew it was 
Wrong.
Anna’s slim black fingers slipping out of my palm

Her smile, achingly content 
Hiding the pain of what her skin colour meant 
The instructed division in clear bold barks: Whites Only, Net Blankes
The other side: ‘Non’ 
Right there in that moment, all innocence 
Gone.

My little voice crackling “Maar hoekom meneer?” 
One look and one finger, all hearts filled with fear 
“Gaan daarin, my skat, ek loop mos nou hier”
“Maar Anna! Ek wil nie! Ons bly saam deur die vuur!”

Her beautiful smile, agonizingly tense 
My silent surrender, her only defense 
Ascending together but also apart 
Our nation, our people
Our shattered hearts. 

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