Marking the slave trade event: a student’s poem


Nobulekhosi T. Sibanda



On the 17 March, UNIC held an event commemorating the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The event was marked by poems, music and key messages about how slavery impacted on the African way of life. Nobulekhosi T. Sibanda, a student from Founders Community School, delivered an impassioned poem to guests that delved deep into culture of her African heritage and the ills of slavery that plagued the African continent.


The Trade

When I think about this time- the waves, death, sickness, vomiting, the smell of fresh sea water, rape abuse, the crack of the traders whip, those days, those months, those years, Oh my heart quivers.

The mercilessness that our fore fathers succumbed to men, women, children, my heart quivers.

I imagine myself at a time lost to me, my past life. What I might have been of royalty as my name explains mother of royalty: Unobulekhosi, daughter of royalty, princess of the Ngunies.

My heart quivers for this was a time that would have been snatched away from me. Because of them, their heartlessness, their evil. Father forgives them as they did not know.

But now because of them, my honourable forefathers who were sacrificed, rocked, swayed, bound in shades. I am an African born and bred here in Africa. I chose to wear my hair down like this because of them. I embrace my culture as they could not.

So on this day, my heart quivers because of them, because of how they were forced into migration. I live here, in my country, my place of birth. I am South African because of them.

And today and other days to come, I will lift my head high because I am running the race, not only the African race but because of them we all realised that we are solemnly the only race, the Human race.