Poet: Vuyolwethu Reoagile

Trigger Warning: Gender-based violence; graphic descriptors of violence

A word of introduction from the poet, Vuyolwethu Reoagile: This poem is written in response to a writing workshop prompt that encouraged us to look at a time in our life ha was particularly difficult and change what happened by invoking a hero in that moment. I took two confusing memories and fused to create a fictional tale. The first of a victim of GBV conquering a difficult situation and a little girl making sense of her uncle handing her an okapi. The story is true to my own life’s events in that I was a victim of domestic violence, and in that situation – I didn’t know what to do because my life was literally in the hands of the person who attacked me. That was one moment where I felt the weakest and the one person who was always crass with me, brutally honest and encouraged me to use force was my uncle. In no way do I condone violent behaviour but in my situation I got tired of being told to be he ‘bigger person’, I got tired of being told to forgive this person and above all his half-apologies and gaslighting. So, in this situation – through my writing – I take my power back by invoking my uncle – perhaps I even become my uncle. I equalize the playing field and instead of an act of abuse where I’m the victim, it becomes a fight where I’m not always the loser. As a fiction writer, I love writing that is fierce and takes me as the writer and the reader to an uncomfortable place to evoke emotions.