Amended Self - A Poem by Mphatso Khoza

“You and your Black self!”

An expression so common in my youth,

Meant to hyperbolize the facetious impunity.

How dare I conceive myself with such extravagance!


The darker the complexion,

The broader the nose,

The thicker the lips,

The louder the challenge.


After all, what noble accomplishment

Associates with such darkness?

What capability worth noting

Associates with these features?


It becomes a voice in my head;

“Look at your skin!”

“You and your Black self!”

“You can’t!”  “You won’t!”  “You shouldn’t!”

“Disprove!” “Excel!” “Accomplish!”

“Disappear!” “Transform!” “Blend!”


But…wait…this dark skin of mine…

So protective…so enveloping…

So connected, so universal, so misunderstood, so underestimated.

The canvas that allows a different world

To be experienced, to be seen.

A valid point of view, an existence of value,

A resilience, a perseverance, a tenacity, a community that transcends color.


Me and my Black Self

Reunited, unique, purposeful,

Called, anointed, belonging,

Shared, understood, accomplished, contributing…


You and Your Self

Integrated into You,

Accepted by You,



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