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Raising hair, crowning glory: A poem to thank Pretoria Girls High

By Thirusha Naidu

Raising Hair, Crowning Glory

Thank you Pretoria Girls High
You have introduced us
To future heroes.
Yesterday, asleep
In the soft arms of their mothers
Now roused.
by bleached fingers,
from childhood sleep.
Dragged by the hair,
into womanhood .

Thank you Pretoria Girls High
By your Amazing Grace
Africa’s descendants
Once lost,
Now found.
Fists raised high
Screw blindness
from sleep-worn eyes.
Blinking bright
Unfurl might.
Yawning, breathing
Surge to life.

Thank you Pretoria Girls High
For the opportunity to relax
To see crowned queens
Once snarled in (k)nots
Now weave herstory.
A mane darkly grand
Deftly flying on
Luminous hands
Braiding iridescent strands,
the strength of steel,
on virgin heads
Past reprieve.

Dr Thirusha Naidu, PhD, is a senior clinical psychologist at King Dinuzulu Hospital Complex in Durban and a lecturer at the Department of Behavioural Medicine, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her poetry and research have been published in international academic journals.