Johannesburg, let my people glow
All the dream-chasers
The skyscrapers that raise us
The moon that brings out the best in us
And stars that pave the way for us

The highways, the one-way-streets
The nightclubs, the township beats
Every child who dares to be:
Opens books to bring new worlds to reach

And those who carry your skyline
In their spine, like me
Who love all these brown girl
Poems into you, intimately
This city could have your back
Like Julius Caesar’s was had
Or hold you up high, infinitely
Power cuts and power trips
Because there is no place like home
Jozi Maboneng keeps its own kind of electricity

So, Johannesburg let my people glow

All them, fathers, husbands
And sons who rise before dawn
Them beat rock to the tune
Of abandoned wives & children’s cries
Mines them deep for an untoward sacrifice –
Can you dig that?
How history a monument of a man,
A maggot can make
Can’t nothing suit your tie
When you’re up to your neck in shackles
That your soul can’t shake
Time turns you into a slow death
At a fast pace
But, we’re born of miners and railway workers
Who built this city on their backs

Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track
Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track
Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track

And go for gold
But this blood is tired of running
So, Johannesburg, let my people glow
And, History, you let my people go

Born beneath the boot of a world
Which earthquakes on our very souls
Likes us more spineless than whole
Forces us to wear brown skin like an apology

But Johannesburg,
I have lived and loved in the way that you let my people glow

And I know
We often question the mercy of a supreme power
But have you seen how even clouds commit suicide
And still resurrect as flowers?
Each time a hero dies, we dance our cries
Into a giant’s shoulders
Because gravity has never ever known
How to hold us
So, glow
Like the stars have nothing on your shine
In time,
Love us encyclopaedic
Catalogue the survival in our spines
Reference our pulse as grand centuries of footsteps
The tenacity to strive
The audacity of breath
And I swear, one day you will know that
There is a sacred sermon in the tone of your skin
The way sun rays unashamedly sing
Their fellowship to your melanin
The music that moulds brown her’s and hymns’ –
Reminds you, that it has always been light –
That worships you as kin

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day
Here comes the sun, little darling
Now, Johannesburg goddamn –
Let my people glow


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