Whether we are aware of it or not, we see Black people as living synonymous with labour, especially through a white gaze in this capitalist world. Even as Black people, the first versions of ourselves that we meet or told about is in relation to labour, writes ESIHLE LUPINDO.
We grow up watching our mothers leave us behind before we can spell our names to clean houses, they will never own, we are told of grandfathers who left their families to work in the city at the mines and died because of those mines, and nothing in the world was moved by their deaths. This is how capitalism murders us without calling it murder. Capitalism wants you to produce results at all costs, do it while your mental health is hanging on a cliff, produce results even when everything that holds you to together is in jeopardy. This is how we prove our humanity and worth to capitalism, we break ourselves apart for it and it does not care. We are just labour and nothing else.
On the day when you can no longer produce, on the day when your body cannot show up for you when you desperately need it because you have sacrificed it for capitalism and capitalism has sucked the life out of you using a plastic straw for so long you will realise that once again, you are just a figure, a machine of sorts.
A ‘machine’ without blood, feelings, histories, love to give and possess the kind of strength that does not run out. On the day when the oxygen cannot fill your lungs because it leaks, you will discover that the system does not even know you by name, all that you are is either a number or job title. This discovery will make you aware that you are disposable, mortal and replaceable and the system that is responsible for your death will not even flinch when you are no longer living or mourn for you.
Even on your deathbed when you cannot work the system will demand that you show up, if you say “I cannot do this today” it will remind you of bills and if you say “I am tired or sick” it will yell “LAZY!” at your face, as if your whole bloodline had not died prematurely for it and you are about to be like everyone that died.
When our bodies scream, we will beg them to either be silent or speak a little softer. In a world that has never valued you, preservation is both a revolution and a luxury that most of us cannot afford because we are required to produce results for capitalism to prosper and for us to buy our next breath.
Esihle Lupindo is a 21 year-old from Matatiele, doing his final year in a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Sociology and Organisational Psychology at Rhodes University. He has a deep passion for Black people, women, queer people and justice. He is also a feminist allay who believes that we cannot talk of liberation if women and queer people are still in chains.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policies of The Daily Vox.
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