Student news

‘Green bottle how wrong I was about you?’ A poem by Social Work student Kala.

Student news

‘Green bottle how wrong I was about you?’ A poem by Social Work student Kala.

I Matter student photo

Green bottle how wrong I was about you?
Lived experience in Apartheid & Colonial Era

Green bottle, how wrong I was about you?
When I decided to own you for myself
How wrong I was about you?

Green bottle, how wrong I was about you?
I grow up knowing that black or white,
were the only important colours
But yet, how wrong I was!

Green bottle, how wrong I was about you?
I grow up, doors written …
‘white only, black schools, coloured buses’,
parents work at whites,
Had marked cups and plates.

Green bottle, how wrong I was about you?
When I thought that your owner,
won’t want you back
And yet, she asked for you.

Green bottle, how wrong I was about you?
I grow up in a time where,
no black dared use,
‘white only or coloured only’ toilets.
But I, was so wrong about you!

Green bottle, how wrong I was about you?
When I thought that after black and white,
‘coloured’ now called, ‘mixed’
Was an important colour.

Green bottle, how wrong I was about you?
To learn now, that …
you would change my views about colours
That not everyone sees colour!

Green bottle, your owner is white!
I am black.
… now called …
A ‘person of colour?’

Green bottle, a ‘person of colour?’
‘Coloured, mixed?’
… am confused …
For I grow, knowing I was black.

Green bottle, how wrong I was about you?
I thought a white,
would never drink from a black,
and yet, your owner wants to drink from you
After I drunk from you.

Green bottle, you are colour,
‘green’,
is green ‘coloured?’
If green is, white is!

Green ‘coloured bottle, I’m right to say?
Your owner and I,
are ‘persons of colour?’

Green coloured bottle,
Shared between ‘people of colour!’

Green ‘coloured’ bottle, I turned ‘green!’
For how can I own something,
not mine or given?

Green bottle you can never be mine,
You are important to both!’

Oh! ‘How I was wrong about you, green bottle!’

Green bottle how wrong I was about you? Lived experience in Apartheid & Colonial Era, by Kala Hammond.

Kala, who is currently in her third year studying Social Work, is from Namibia and has been living in the UK for the past 11 years. She shares the event that inspired her poem:

“The whole thing started off with me asking Heather to bring me water whilst I was in the library as I had forgotten mine at home and she gave me or rather lent me (as I later found out) her refill water bottle. I started thinking of ways to return a favour when to my surprise she asked for it. I woke up the next morning and started jotting what I thought that time, about the whole experience.

As comfortable as I am with a certain group of people, past experiences, and the manner black people were treated in the Apartheid era in Namibia, I kind of developed this (unconscious) barrier or shield to, in some way protect myself from pain, hurt, or disappointments.

Racism, unfortunately, is still out there and some people are exposed to it, on a daily basis in different ways and forms; some ignore it, some talk about it, and some pen their thoughts/experiences, whatever works best for a person. The worse that can happen is to suffer in silence!”

Thank you Kala, for allowing us to share your poem.

Information on networking opportunities, representation groups and support services dedicated to supporting our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students can be found on the website.