In 2006 a former Minister of Law and Order (during the apartheid reign) Adriaan Vlok decided to wash Frank Chikane's feet as a public gesture of apology after he had been granted amnesty at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Frank Chikane, a high profile anti apartheid activist, was a Director General at the President's Office when Vlok washed his feet.

Who will wash my feet?

My tears dried before 1990.
My thirst is unknown.
My hunger is not for food.
My wounds are inside.
My womb weeps silence.
My nipples watch the soil
to safeguard those
who travelled thorugh me.
My memories run in my veins.
My cracked and dry feet
have never touched a shoe
or the floor of any office.
But I also like the idea
of someone washing my feet.

uncollected poem, © Khosi Xaba 2010, first published in No Serenity Here: An Anthology of African Poetry in Amharic, French, Arabic and Portuguese edited by Philippa Yaa de Villiers et al (Beijing, 2010), used by permission of the author

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