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#DontLookAway: A poem – Thanks for the hashtag, but…

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Siphokazi Jonas works the crowd at the Baxter Theatre during the Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse show.Siphokazi Jonas works the crowd at the Baxter Theatre during the Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse show.
During this year's 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women and Children, Independent Media continues our #DontLookAway campaign by shining a spotlight on sexual harassment.

We asked three prominent spoken word artists to compose poems for this campaign. Here is Siphokazi Jonas' poem.

THANKS for the hashtag, but

there's no time to tweet

between taxi rank, construction site, and street.

Only clutch your bag to your body

Your body to yourself

Yourself to this thought

please don't talk to me

please don't talk to me

please don't talk to me

please don't talk to me

Thanks for the hashtag, but

there's no time to tweet

in the boardroom or by the photocopy machine.

Power pinches the purse strings, and

Makes you puppet

Everybody knows

The puppet master's hands like to slip below the neck

Below the hem,

below the waist.

But the show must go on, so

The audience claps. And claps. And claps its way to a 13th cheque.

* Human Resources is currently out of office/offline*

Thanks for the hashtag, but

there's no time to tweet

in vestry or confession booth.

Scriptures are interpreted behind smoke-screens,

between a collar and a robe.

The pulpit is now a bookshelf of bodies, and

God was cast out a long time ago to make space:

"And the spirit of silence descended on them like tongues of fire.

"Their tongues were on fire, and no one said anything.

"They swallowed the ash."

Thanks for the hashtag, but

there is no time to tweet

in Parliament or court.

We're in the business of cooking laws

To serve justice to the vulnerable.

First, a few questions to prove your innocence:

Did you say NO?

Do your clothes say NO?

Your values, your virtues, your life?

How long have you lived as a NO?

We put it to the court, that when you said NO (or couldn't say it at all), you really meant

YES!

We submit, your Honour, that what matters is not what she says,

it is what he believes he heard.

Thanks for the hashtag, but

There's no

time to tweet

There's no network here

Data is expensive here

How do you explain Twitter here? Or a hashtag for that matter?

My aunt, my cousin, my grandmother don't speak English here.

There's no time to tweet here

The police ask what I did to deserve it here

The docket is for sale here

They family wants to solve this as a family here

They pay damages to make things right here

The lecturer fails you here

The principal is king here

The prophet is father here

The breadwinner must not be questioned here

The bread must not be endangered here

The neighbours mind their own business here

They say I'll ruin the family here

They say bekezela here

They say "don’t try be clever" here

They say they'll teach me a lesson here

They say they want to "fix" me here

They say "smile" here.

The trend is #wearedyinghere.


How to show your support:

* Take the pledge against sexual harassment

* Join and like Be The Change Mzansi on Facebook.

* Follow the Don't Look Away campaign on IOL

* Follow us on the Facebook pages of Daily News, Cape Argus and The Star.

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