“there must be black angels in heaven” by Nkateko Masinga

—a response to an article titled “There are no black angels in heaven” by Lisa Sharon Harper

at the souvenir shop downtown
i ask to buy a brown angel doll
for my baby niece

the shop assistant shrugs
as if to say there are no angels that look like me
or any of my people

i pull out a photograph and show her
my niece
looking like all the black angel women
who stitched her together with their bones and blood

i put on my mother’s attitude and tell her
black dolls
black mannequins
black glass ballerinas
must exist

i imagine dying here
and instead of someone saying
look, a black angel
they will say
if she flies,
she must be a witch

i pray often
mostly to stay alive
but today i want to ask
if there are black angels in heaven

Nkateko Masinga is a medical student, poet and writer who lives in the east of Pretoria, South Africa. Nkateko is the author of three poetry collections: ‘The Sin In My Blackness’ (2015), ‘A War Within The Blood’ (2016), ‘While The World Was Burning’ (2017). Her poems are published in the 2017 edition of U.S journal ‘Illuminations’ and are forthcoming in UK pamphlet press ‘Pyramid Editions’ in 2018. In 2015, her work was shortlisted for the ‘Respond’ Human Rights Poetry Award 2015/2016, organized by the United Human Rights Student Network (UHRSN).


Instagram: @nkateko_masinga
Twitter: @Nkati_M
Facebook: Enkay Masinga


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