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Koleka Putuma: Water

From Watershed Ways

As poet Koleka Putuma reminds us, access to water, like so many resources, is political and historical. In the poem “Water,” delivered from the rocks of the supposed “Cape of Good Hope,” Putuma pools the memories of bodies and vessels that have moved into and departed from that site for so many hundreds of years.1 Evoking the transatlantic slave trade and apartheid legislation which divided space into “white” and “nonwhite” areas—including beaches—Putuma testifies to the sacred tears that “have turned the ocean salty,” baptised by unholy church-state currents and currencies.

1 The poem is from the Putuma’s poetry collection Collective Amnesia (Uhlanga Press, 2017).

September 20, 2019

InZync Poetry

Curated by

Clare Butcher