I Atlas have carried the world,
on these black shoulders.
In sweltering heat and bitter cold,
I’ve carried the world on these Negroid shoulders.
I’ve cut cane in plantations so far and huge,
I’ve dug coal from the womb of the world,
I’ve fought wars which were of no concern to me,
I Atlas have shouldered the weight of the globe.
I’ve borne the brunt of racial ridicule,
I’ve borne the piercing reality of bullets of hatred,
I’ve been niggered, kaffired and coloured,
I’ve been imprisoned in my own land,
I’ve survived against all odds,
I Atlas who has carried the world.
But when I talk of compensation,
The world laughs at Atlas,
The gentle giant, who has carried the world
For so long.
Boletilemang Gabokgatlhe is a poet, story weaver and social commentator who comes from Xhumo, a small village that lies along the River Boteti in Botswana. He works as a Human Capital Practitioner in Gaborone. Some of his writings have appeared in various magazines, newspapers and anthologies in Africa and beyond.