Kgomotso Michael Masemola Can't Breathe

To grieve or not grieve; that is the black compatriot's question from the Southern tip of the Continent. Old men like Nelson Mandela we've seen off after a full life of heroism; yet young men's lives--those of the likes of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown--have been stymied and stifled before the full dawn of adulthood. I can't breathe.

To sing or not to sing; that is the griot's question from the depth of the wells bewilderment.  Noble men like Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcom X and William du Bois have had visions of mountain tops as summits of hope, the belly of prison as the site of odyssey,  and the Talented Tenth as the Fathers and teachers of sons. Alas, the lives of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown have been smoked and snuffed out before they reached the foot of the hills. I can't breathe.

To give hell or not to give hell; that is combatants question. Whether it is noble in mind to lecture and to march till the White House hears the black man;  till the world sees the rightwing cop for what he is. Our vocal chords are strained. We can't give up yet but yell before we finally give hell. I can't breathe.


Professor Kgomotso Michael Masemola, PhD, is the Deputy Chair of the Department of English Studies at the University of South Africa. He is an active leader of the Africa Decolonial Research Network.

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