Tributes of Poet Descendents


Khadija Tracey Heeger
By Khadija Tracey Heeger

The boxes don’t fit

the tiny spaces between the words & footnotes
or the bibliography marked expert scarce the range

flesh and bone don't work that way

blood is even more tricky, defiant of historical text

here at the Cape somebody distilled you down to rape

managed the magma & roughage transported on rivers,
seas, across stone and sand to this thing


It didn't carry sweet in the name

Coloured means secret

You live in the great sea of old ships with bloody
secrets chained up in silent memory

You live in the great absence of Khoena, |Xam and
illegitimate stories about amaXhosa and all the Nguni

You live inside the great mouth of too many roots
in a place where truth is a lie

Single stories dirty the air where the lords of history
have cut-throat passions


Nothing about it came cheap

It came with a debt too hefty and a tide that carried
no good blood in it

190 bloodlines fail truth in the present

The stone star watches while the children devil their
eyes with divide 'n rule.


She is the blood of untimely history

is a woman spread legs akimbo across Buuren and
Katzenellenvogen, they say

She is a devastated monologue on a ghost river tongue
salvaging the riddles of |Xam and ||Ammaqua, watermen

Where water murmurs from the clouds  the name, Camissa

She is many skins of the ||Ammaqua

She is ||Ammaqua greeting the stolen, the buyers,
the truants, the travellers of sea and land

She is Bengalese indigene mix

She arrives flavoured with the smell of Nil Manel plucked
from the fields of Sri lanka

She is a trinket stolen from the Kampong Meji,
offering to the ocean where nothing returns

she is china compassing the Indian Ocean
in ages before colonies

some 960 years AD

moments with Khoena and AmaXhosa
suffering in invisible ink

Her name is Thisgingnio

Her name is Krotoa

Her name is Sarah, Susanna, Pieternella,
Johanna, Amosijn

Her name is Angola, Timor, China, Mozambique

Her name is Ethiopia


is the tides that rolled in from every side of our great mountain
and river collecting blood and words
from the stone tablet of Hoerikwaggo’s Rosetta

from Thoathoa to the Keiskamma, over land, over sea

to this place

come the children of ||Hui !GAeb

to unburden their stories from labels aggressive with
greedy history and the stink of dirty pure-blood ideas

now the time is here

 when the parrot of lessons learned

will speak unburdened truth into wombs

that line drawn in the sand between you and I

masking truth let the wind take it

this is a story as old as all stories as we shake the devil from our eyes

we love, we lust, we birth, we war, we move, we eat, we live, we die

this is our story

the story of all stories

|coab (blood)

We are the story.


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