Tributes of Poet Descendents

Poet Diana Ferrus, pays tribute to the Masbiekers at their watery grave off Masbieker Beach at Clifton in Cape Town, in her poem “My name is February”.

My Name is February
Diana Ferrus
By Diana Ferrus

My name is February.
I was sold
my breasts, private parts and eyes
my brain
are not mine yet
like the São José
I am ruined
often sank by another storm
no Jesus walking on water for me.

My name is February
I am searching for the rod of the steering wheel
Because the family lies at the bottom
The child stitched to a mother’s dress
Mother’s hand locked in father’s fist
How deep down are they lying, on which side?

My name is February
auctioned, sold, the highest bidder
disposed of my real name
paid no compensation
for that, my name, stolen, sunked
underwater it still lies
with the family
wrecks of the São José
ran aground by a wind
furious waves that decided
the future of the loot
smashing the profit against the embankment.

My name is February
the Masbieker on the São José
that’s how I was called
when my mother tongue of here came into being
when tongues started to form a bond
and letters started walking freely
in a desperate attempt at survival and hope
that forces should not strip this identity too
I became the Masbieker, only a name
born under a different sky
and deeply filled with shame.

My name is February
I rearranged this landscape.
my hands wove the patterns of the vineyards
my feet pressed the grapes
and I was paid with the wine.
I carry Alcohol-Foetal Syndrome children on my back.

My name is February.
I still march on the eve of December one,
I walk the cobblestones of this city
when I cry in desperation,
“remember the emancipation of the slaves!”

My name is February.
two hundred years after the São José
I was given the vote,
they said I was free

But do you see how often I am submerged,
weighed down?
I am the sunken, the soiled,
and yet memory will not leave me!

My name is February,
stranded at Third beach
but no one comes to look for me,
no one waves from the dunes,
no bridges back to Mozambique.

My name is February.
I will be resurrected,
brought to the surface
unshackled, unchained, unashamed!
My name is February!


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