BLACK GIRLS ROCK: Sumaya Enyegue

These past few weeks have been tense as university students protest for Fees to fall. Police and private security greet them with brutality, students are arrested and it seems as if our voices will not be heard, again

Below is a poem written by a grade 12 Student, addressing the Fees Must Fall movement and a comment made by a UCT recruiter who came to her school and said "University is a privilege and not a right."

Sumaya Enyegue is one of Claremont High Schools' top achievers, likely to achieve an A-aggregate, and wants to study MEDICINE next year. That is if she can get funding.

The poem she wrote is based on a TRUE story, and is titled: 


Dear. Mr. Man,
I wonder if perhaps we share a mother,
Because mine is a domestic worker.
She gets on her knees and scrubs the dirt off clean floors.
Maybe she is mimicking her teenage years.
The years she spent on her knees in front of strange men.
Maybe that’s why she scrubs so hard.
My mother also takes the little Caucasian boy for walks and speaks to him in the language of her colonisers. 
She does all of this for R4000 a month.
Or maybe you’re the father of my late friend? 
The friend who hung himself because he had to take an “indefinite leave of absence” because of late fees?
Three bursaries later and he was still drowning in debt. 
The first person in his family to go to University.
And now? There are still no degree-holders bearing his name.
Did you have to bury him? 
Throw brown dirt on your brown boy and write his eulogy?
Maybe, in your previous life, you were the shack that Asemahle grew up in?
Did your metal skin scorch her fingers as she sat on her thin matrass and clutched the rejection letter for a student loan? 
Did the ruffling of your roof drown out her cries as she checked the rejection email from a university a week later?
Do you know she still lives in you now?
Or perhaps; you’re just a man, 
With valid opinions, like mine.
Who stood in front of a room full of matrics and told them “University isn’t a right, but a privilege.”
I hope you know my heart sank.
Because wasn’t freedom a privilege reserved for a few 30 years ago?
But maybe,
Just maybe
You’re merely a man. 
Who should stop speaking for an entire nation.

We asked Sumaya to give us her thoughts about the poem, She said: 

"I wrote this poem unintentionally. Like, I wasn't looking to write about anything remotely political or about the fees must fall movement. But my matric year started out rough from the get go. My single mom was battling to pay the the school fees for R7000 and it became heart-breakingly clear that we would be unable to pay tuition fees for university, especially with a course like Medicine. I applied for every bursary available and made sure my marks were at the best possible place that they could be for me. But bursaries are quite specific, and not many institutions are willing to pay for the 6 year course. Nevertheless I applied for every Medical bursary at my disposal. Early on this year, a UCT recruiter came to speak to the matrics at my school about the application process. He ended off his presentation by saying that University is a privilege and not a right. My. Heart. Dropped. I mean, what was that supposed to mean? He echoed this hollow statement to a room full of matrics, most of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. I was pissed, for lack of a better word. There I was, a young, black female who is just as capable as the white girl who goes to Herschel or Rustenberg, just as bright, just as optimistic, just as goal driven. The only difference being that the white girl probably has 2, financially stable parents, who can afford to send her to study further. Does that make me any less deserving? Does it make me any less hardworking? Does it make University a privilege for me, but a right for her? These are the sort of questions we ask ourselves. I work hard. I work so so so so hard. And ultimately, the sad reality is: I work twice as hard to get half of what privileged children get. And that seems to be the fact that the Post-Apartheid South Africa seems to ignore. Its quite easy to brush off an affordable, decolonized education as unachievable, but what is the alternative? A system where the rich get richer and the poor stay poor? I just want a country not trying to cure itself of me. I want to have the same opportunities as Asemahle, or Chloe, or Jason or Lukhanyiso. I want to highlight the fact that a fair, just society starts when the people to whom it affects are educated enough to fight for themselves. Until
then, all I can do is write poems like these. "

Please, SHARE this post in the hopes that it could attract the eye of someone who is willing and able to help Sumaya obtain funding for university next year.

If you can help out or know of someone we can contact, please contact us by either of these emails.

Sumaya Enyegue:

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