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Goodwin 21 June Goodwin Woman of South Africa you are rock, obsidian hard and slippery in police hands. A rock of ages, you can lie. "Ya baas," Ue for a Ufe. I've heard you say, wide-eyed: "My husband? I don't know where he goes. He doesn't tell me. It's our tradition, baas." I've known you to defy your house arrest, even take a plane, be caught. Someone must be caught and beaten. You carry clothes and food again and again through the "Bantu Entrance" shouting love through wire fences through tiny holes in plastic windows with alsatians barking and sjamboks snapping the jail beat while, from cells, freedom songs pump through the veins of the world. At night prisoners call in code through toilet drain pipes, pass on the news of who is in, who is out, who's been tortured, who is dead. Rock them in your arms, mother/wife. Rock the pain, sister. Rock the pride back. Pray like the rock of religion, the rock of revolution. Woman of South Africa when they struck you, they struck rock. 22 the minnesota review —"Baas" is the Afrikaans word for boss. —"Bantu" technically means people but now has a derogatory connotation when whites call blacks Bantus. —A sjambok is a leather whip. —"You have struck a rock once you have touched a woman," is a slogan used since 1956 when 20,000 women staged an anti-apartheid march on Pretoria's government buildings. ...


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