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Johannesburg. The City of Gold

Rebaone Mangope (2016)

(an adaptation of Hugh Masekela’s ‘Stimela’)

There is a train.

There is a train that transports young African men from Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Botswana.

There is a train.

This train separates these men with melanin skin from their sons and daughters, wives and uncles, never to be seen again.

There is a train.

This train arrives in Johannesburg, the city of gold, 30-40 of these men squeezed like sardines in barren barracks.

Cursing the cruelty of their fate whilst eating off of metal plates, the cold of colonialism lays in their bones.

These men dig and dig and dig, deep, deep, deep into the hinterlands of African land.

They dig and dig and dig, for the first world’s commodity. Gold, the raw mineral of immorality.

Johannesburg, the city of gold, gold to be worn on European hands and necklaces.

Gold. A noose around these men’s necks.

iGoli. Johannesburg. The city of gold.

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