Black Alchemy - Masai Sepuru

27th August 2020 | Blog Admin | Poetry

I come from a place where lightning can be sold in a teacup
High-grade shit
You may laugh at such skill
To bend elements at will
To be this intimate with nature
I know of a queen, when she dances clouds gather to watch

Rain is but a few moves away
We’ve made the skies our highway
Sway winds to do our bidding
Speak the language of fire
Convince ice to burn
To glow as though amber
Twist and turn
We dance with whirlwinds

Ancient occult symbols are carved into our skin
I’ve seen old men converse with trees
Persuading them to give up secrets of herbs
Medicine in fibres of buried root
The bitter nectar of forest fruits
Hidden truths
Common knowledge turned superstition
Ignored premonitions

Our bodies are not limited to this form
We transform into beasts when we perform
Chanting in uniform
How is it witchcraft when it is black
We are guilty until proven innocent
In courts of foreign laws

You’ve lost sight
Left behind old women with foresight
For hyped Preachers who profit on artificial light

How dare you call our ancestors demons
Tell me
Whose tongue are you praying in
Whose bones are holding you steady
Whose shade is shading you from the sun
Whose crown are you wearing
I wonder
Why doesn’t your religion allow sage
What could they be trying to tame

You’ve abandoned everything
Ignored your calling
But we are still connected
Corrected still
Drinking from sacred waters
And quenching our spiritual thirst
Our cups runneth over
You confuse alchemy with necromancy
The only thing dark about our arts is our skin


Masai Sepuru

Masai Sepuru is a visual and performing artist practicing numerous disciplines including writing, painting, design, and performance. He has performed in many poetry slams, winning two of the biggest slams in South Africa back-to-back (Tshwane Speak Out Loud 2019 and Word N Sound 2018), making him the only poet to hold both champion titles simultaneously. He is also the first champion of the annual Speak Child Slam competition (2018), and is a five-time winner of Word N Sound’s King of the Mic award. 

Masai’s poetry has made a mark on and off stage; he helps organize and lead workshops with poetry organizations around the Gauteng province, like Scribe Rites and Blue Pulse. Additionally, because of his degree in performing arts technology, he finds spaces and organizes poetry events around Pretoria with the organizations Poetoria and Black Suburbia. His passion for poetry got him selected to participate in the prestigious South African State Theatre Incubator Program, through which he created a feature-length theatre showcase called ‘it's all the sane’ adding to many other showcases that he has organized and contributed to, such as Blurred Lines, Toxic with Kori Strange, and Poetoria Showcases with Neo Soul. He has headlined and showcased in poetry sessions for Hear My Voice, Word N Sound, Black Labone, World of Words, and Street Poetry.

This poem features as part of the Azania To DC Arts Exchange 2020, brought to you by Hear My Voice and Jonathan B Tucker and made possible through funding from the DC Commission on the Arts And Humanities and the National Arts Council

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