In 2004 when South Africa celebrated ten years of democracy I was painfully aware of the reflections that were filled with extreme negativity, particularly in the media. I then decided to write, just for me, what I valued most about our democracy. And seeing as summer is my favourite season I chose to call the poem 'Summer'.


This is the summer of things we can touch.

Snaking queues that lead from farther than eyes can see
to terminate at a ballot box, is summer.

It is a summer of black children in busses and combis,
and on avenues, paths, roads and streets,
numerous like ants, going to school.

A summer of colourful houses along major highways
and a summer of women in high places, making meaning.

It is a summer of songs composed in blood,
tuned with guns and arranged in conversations.
It is a summer of songs I sing in swelling volumes.

This, is the summer of things we can touch.

from Tongues of their Mothers (UKNZ Press, 2008), © Khosi Xaba 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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