My Mind Is Colonised

A Poem

By Fatima Moosa

My mind is colonised…

My colonised mind,

hears the words of the language of my ancestors

and recoils.

the words that were brought over oceans,

on ships that brought indentured workers and shopkeepers.

The language that crossed through time and space and

survived. Preserved in this moment and forever after.

I hear the words falling from my mother’s lips…

like the sands from the land that it was first spoken on.

those same sands and dirt that made me, that runs through me.

the words of my forefathers,

who fought colonisers of their own to keep the language whole.

i shudder from it.

my colonised mind. my mind is colonised.

i speak the language of the oppressors.

the words just seem to flow from my lips,

like the oceans that brought my grandparents to these shores.

but when i try to form the words of their language,

of my grandmother, who came here as a little girl,

who had to speak to me in the language of the coloniser

because when i try to form the words of her language, my language

it is like trying to wade through a sea of memories and

i just get overwhelmed.

my mind is colonised. my colonised mind.

i wear the clothes of my culture like a robe,

taking it off and putting it back on when it suits me

but never fully embracing it.

i like the pretty colours and shiny lights that shine from the clothes

but i never seem to fully appreciate it.

it’s back in fashion and

then it seems appropriate to appropriate it again.
because is that not what i do.

wear something without knowing fully what’s significance

my mind is colonised. my colonised mind.

i lament my lack of history, where did i come from.

but when the suggestion to find out comes back,

i recoil.

what will i do in that place.

i won’t be comfortable there.

because the image that runs through my mind is the

one i have been conditioned to see.

my mind is colonised, my colonised mind.

I wanted to know where I came from,

But how do I do that.

My colonised mind. My mind is colonised.