Awakening the Moon

Sukkot 5781: Sukkah

like locusts chowing africa’s crops
so too malema and the eff;
motherless these men seem to be
completely ignorant of their ancestral gogos

it is as though the sun
through them
burns too brightly
scorching earth as they pass through

by a third force taken over they are;
one of their regional leaders said it himself
as clicks stores were trashed,
set alight

people terrorized
all the better to take over the world of businesses?
with the aid of this anonymous third force?

from my observations
this is how it worked in Orange Grove:
the anc and eff
were hand in glove

and the hungry youth of alex,
dependent on handouts
from anyone

when a bit of mischief
willing hands were required
in they were brought

the exchange –
a coke
and the colonel’s fried chicken?

or was it just coke?
and the promise of houses?
or just a bit of excitement?

No doubt, amongst them too
were those exercising agency for a better future
for themselves
and their loved ones

no need to guess each person’s intentions;
the thing i keep in mind
is that south africa
has the largest gap between rich and poor

and thanks to apartheid memories
i have been placed in a box
labelled white
and whiteness

and malema has put himself on a stage
labelled youth leader
and economic freedom fighter

even though he’s a middle-aged man now
the masses have not yet noticed
for he plays the fearless youth
with such vigour

with great conviction

that he is stick
to ramaphosa’s carrot
and to any other leader
whether anc/da/business

in need of a third force ‘hiring’
is a possibility I am not dismissing;

he is the go-to political actor
with a heart for personal business

for family
and friends
with scraps for eff members

the means matter not
for the gap between his sophisticated presentations
and his actions on the ground seems unbridgeable;

what the future might look like,
like g-od,
remains hidden

not even on the horizon detected

all alone africa is
south africa in particular?
for the ancestors of ubuntu consciousness
have been chased away…

disappeared from african masculine consciousness?

like lions they roam the streets
in competition with hyenas
and rats in filthy places

while mothers look on
with hope for some shampoo
and cosmetics
and food

will their desires be remembered
by their sons
husbands and lovers
as they wait it out in shacks?

built on dampness
built anywhere;
built on top of each other
(for mutual protection?)

shacks that the carrot men
hiring red ants will tear down
at will;

usually in the middle of winter…
keeping the masses vulnerable

all the better
to increase their fear
of men
who behave like ferocious animals?

all the better
to abuse
their labour
in exchange for scraps?

pan-african lineages forgetful?

would it not be better
if each one remembered his totem animal?
tapped into its positive strength
to tame the anger within?

would it not be better
if each one focused on growing her own food?
like her ancestors did
according to own indigenous knowledge system

if on ancestral land settled?

would it not be better
if each one remembered
that che was not african
nor more than xi jinping is now?

would it not be better
to notice that rhodes fell
on the day an english prince
flew his wife and bi-racial child to north america?

into exile went?

would it not be better
to turn the desire
of taking up where rhodes left off –

leave africa
to africans diverse
for who still wants to paint africa red?

from cape to cairo?

if i didn’t know better
i might think that you,
julius malema,
are a reincarnation of the one you claim to hate…

certainly, his dream
you have made your own
with a tweak here and there
for a black person you are

an african
with american-chinese
billionaire-communist dreams hiding
under african skies

still, to say all this
and not much else
would not be helpful

to you
to me
to the country we are citizens of

i have given you much attention
for our ancestors love you
or at least they love your potential

as a business leader;

as a politician
you have been destructive,
so best you leave?

transform your movement
into something we can all be proud of:
a youth employment agency perhaps
or an entrepreneurship incubator?

for in your ideals
hides a set of african virtues
that might just turn the economy around

i am happy to work with you
in an african manner:

send me your family’s matriarch
and the mothers of your children;

yet only after you have consulted your family sangoma
and you are given ancestral permission to see me;
the women in your family
your only representatives

yet ‘woman’
is an english word
that makes no sense to the feminine in african cultures?

the moon
we feminine ones are;
to her rhythms we pulse

are taking back our power
from the sun
that shines too harshly

all day
and all night

obscuring the moon
and her light,
fading out the stars
that once guided us by night

so many contraptions
men have invented
where once
with nature attuned we were…

I am not sure how many people noticed
that while you,

your eff members,
your eff third-force non-members,
were trashing clicks

the zimbabwean president signed over two coal mines
to xi jinping’s
business partners?

without following due process
without consulting the local communities
without consulting the ancestors of place…

if you want to lead the african continent
how come our ancestors did not alert you to this
if for africa for africans you are?

In truth, my ancestors of the inzuza lineage
are speaking loudly to me once more;
back to judaism they have brought me

i know what it means to be a ‘revert to judaism’ now
and while that works itself out in the background
it is to africa that i must give:

this the exchange between my jewish lineages
and our pan-african lineages?

for a ride the latter took me last week
and this week
showed me land unoccupied
and land over-occupied

yet it is judaism’s business ethics
they want me to learn
and teach to ‘we-moon’ of south Africa

ignore the men for now
for if you look at the eff
it’s masculine energy harsh they channel

the feminine colonized was
and remains
for now

thus with ‘we-moon’
i am to work;

with ‘we-moon’
who honour their ancestors’ wisdom
their grandmothers’ indigenous knowledge systems;

medicine ‘we-moon’
in all traditions?

© archaela (5781 tishrei 25 & 27)

Sources and Resources
  1. Malema’s ‘presidential’ speech given in February 2019 provides context for what is happening now. Also look at the comments – mostly from men:

2. Mphatheleni Makaulule, who has for a few years being playing with the word ‘women’ which she thinks has penetrated her Venda culture. It is she who suggested we explore women’s connection to the moon. She would rather we call ourselves ‘we-moon’ than wo-man or wo-men. (This blog is my contribution to the conversation she began many moons ago.)

Faces of Africa – The Defender of the Sacred Sites

3. The following Jewish story about the sun and the moon is one I identify with very much. That it is told by a man does not detract from its power.

4. Yet I have become more sensitive to Jewish women’s voices, some of whom feel about Judaism as I felt about Catholicism’s suppression of feminine voices. Here is a female rabbi’s reflection.

Moon and Women

5. For a more academic look at the subject:

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