Sunday, June 27, 2010


(By Robert Muponde)
Her voice, he had bound
He had strung, her voice
Her voice, he had strangled, strangled, strangled…
When she spoke of his
Binding, binding, binding her
When she spoke of his
Strangling, strangling, strangling her
He broke her voice with a pick axe …
Smashed her being … for years
Crushed her consciousness … for ages
And enslaved what remained of her spirit
Worked her hard by day
That his fields grew greener each year
Toiled her by night
That stout-limbed children were born
By the bound, strangled, crushed woman.

But one day in a hundred years
As a shadow she came
One day in a thousand years
She rose from her living death
And demanded back her voice
This one day, she spoke with the voice of freedom
The man heard the terror speak
In his mind he saw his green fields deserted
Weeds choking the rich green
Hunger … hunger crunching at his children’s health…
No… no… no…

Rope in hand, he flew at her
To bind, to strangle her again
But the shadow, the slave, the woman
Had unbound herself
Horror seized his reason
When he saw his one time slave-woman about to flee
In wild desperation he called for more rope
For more hands to bind her …
But the ropes, in their thickness
Had become too thin to bind her anymore
In her eyes were the spear and sword of her freedom
To him for the first time she said,
“I’m the woman you’ve been killing for ages, ages, ages …”

**Robert Muponde is Associate Professor of English in the Department of English and Assistant Dean for International Affairs and Partnerships, Humanities, at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D in Childhood studies. Muponde is also Co-editor of numerous works, including Versions of Zimbabwe: New Approaches to Literature and Culture; Sign and Taboo: Perspectives on the Poetic Fiction of Yvonne Vera; and Manning the Nation: Father Figures in Zimbabwean Literature and Society.

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