7 “Borders and edges of territory and language, home and body, land and water have always offered some of the most attractive hideouts for women writers who have long understood that the secret might be simply to let the other in or to sift through whatever flotsam washes up.”(Jo Shapcott, Confounding Geography, in Contemporary Women’s Poetry, 45)
9 I. Jonker, Escape (Ontvlugting, 1956) From this Valkenburg have I run awayAnd in my thoughts return to Gordon’s Bay:I play with tadpoles swimming freeCarve swastikas in a red krantz-treeI am the dog that slinks from beach to beachBarks dumb-alone against the evening breezeI am the gull that swoops in famished flightsTo serve up meals of long-dead nightsThe god who shaped you from the wind and dewTo find fulfillment of my pain in you:Washed out my body lies in weed and grassIn all the places where we once did pass.
11 Krog, Paternoster (Paternoster, 1995) I stand on a massive rock in the sea at Paternosterthe sea beats strips of light-green foaminto the airfearlessI stare down every bloody damn wavein the gut as it breaksthe rock quakes under my solesmy upper leg muscles bulgemy pelvis casts out its acquired resigned tiltLike hell! I am rock I am stone I am dunedistinct my tits hiss a copper kettle soundmy hands clasp Moord Bay and Bek Baymy arms tear ecstatically past my head:I amgod hears mea free fucking woman
12 District Six (Capetown) in the old days and a bilingual apartheid board
15 R. Kamfer, retelling 2 (oorvertel 2) (2011) a woman lived here Mad Maria she walked with a long rope with her house-keysround the neck one night she died with the keys round the neckthe wind broke her neckyou Capetonians mos say die son sien alleshere it's the people who see everythingI'm not crying about apartheid I'm crying because you youngsters only hearabout District 6 I could still smell the St Helena in my granny's hairbut brown people are nothing but minstrels slack-jawed sleazebags being brownisn't the shit-shod story the slamse make it out to beand then there's the other story of being bushmen the problem iswhen you know your family's story and there's no mention of slams and bushmenbut you have to say yes yes agreed because stories are all you havethe ocean haunts you even when you trek to the desert's edgethe ocean is a bitch and she wears red shoes
19 D. Ferrus, A poem for Sara Baartman (1998) I've come to take you home --home, remember the veld?the lush green grass beneath the big oak treesthe air is cool there and the sun does not burn.I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,the proteas stand in yellow and whiteand the water in the stream chuckle sing-songsas it hobbles along over little stones.I have come to wretch you away -away from the poking eyesof the man-made monsterwho lives in the darkwith his clutches of imperialismwho dissects your body bit by bitwho likens your soul to that of Satanand declares himself the ultimate god!(…)I have come to take you homewhere the ancient mountains shout your name.
20 I. Jonker, Daisies in Namaqualand (Madeliefjes in Namakwaland, 1963) (…)Behind the closed foreheadwhere perhaps a twig still tumblesfrom a drowned springtimeBehind my word killed in actionBehind our divided homeBehind the heart locked against itselfBehind wire fences, camps, locationsBehind the silence where foreign languagesfall like bells at a funeralBehind our land torn apartsits the green mantis of the veldand dazed we still hearsmall blue Namaqualand daisyanswering something, believing something, knowing something.
21 A. Krog, Land (Grond)under orders from my ancestors you were occupiedhad I language I could write for you were land my landbut me you never wantedno matter how I stretched to lie downin rustling blue gumsin cattle lowering horns into Diepvleirippling the quivering jowls drinkin silky tassels in dripping gumin thorn trees that have slid down into emptinessme you never wantedme you could never enduretime and again you shook me offyou rolled me outland, slowly I became nameless in my mouthnow you are fought overnegotiated divided paddocked sold stolen mortgagedI want to go underground with you landland that would not have meland that never belonged to meland that I love more fruitlessly than before
22 A. Krog, every day I treat you as if you were mine A. Krog, every day I treat you as if you were mine. After an eighteenth century engraving of Table Mountain (2006)We know that when one crosses theEquator everything becomeswilderness: white becomes black,good becomes bad, culture becomesa kind of barbarism in which nothinghas a name:Women throw a tit over the shouldercannibals, winged lions, vulvashanging down to the kneesone-eye people bark and snakesstand upright in the trees.Nobody will ever believe our reliefwhen, one morning, we saw thistable – something simply somiraculously ordinary in thewilderness-something so civilized one at lastCould pin a memory there. (…)
23 R. Kamfer, Land (Grond, 2011)once upon a time there wasa mountainthe mountain fixed the landonto the earthlike a mat with stonesat the cornersthere once happenedthathe who was the mountainlost his concentrationa piece of his landthenwas blown away by the windsothat that specificpieceof land could no longerhost inhabitantsit didn’t have what a landmust have for the people
24 R. Kamfer, epilogue Klippenkust (2011) as uncle Bigfish Visser walks on the sand path he stops and looksat the side of the rich he twists his mouth like he was trying to understandbut his old face does not allow him he staresat “them” “they” who come for a holiday “they” who paint gouaches andtake pictures “they” who think national heritage site means something“they” who eat fish in restaurants and will never see how his mother criedhe’s been staring at “them” for years and asking himself what his father had in mindwhen he made him believe that we are “they” and “they” are weuncle Bigfish Visser has tried to hate “them” but a look at thatheavenseawater and he sees that we of his fatherwe who are tugging cracked pieces of shipwrecks with us
25 A. Krog, Country of grief and grace (Land van genade en verdriet, 2000)hear oh hearthe voices all the voices of the landall baptised in syllables of blood and belongingthis country belongs to the voices of those who live in itthis landscape lies at the feet at lastof the stories of saffron and amberangel hair and barbsdew and hay and hurt[…].