Peidiwch â Chyffwrdd â Fy Ngwallt

by Gabin Kongolo

Don’t touch my hair, she said.

You can look, stare.

But don’t

touch my hair.

It’s not for nothing, she said.


Black women grant attention and affection

through combs and cornrows.

Grandmothers and Mothers

Aunties and Daughters,

bestow gifts with gracious hands.


Society tells me otherwise,

it has already been addressed.

In work, in schools,

is where they best oppress.


I mean – have you seen the man

who makes the rules,

and his hair?

If I speak… it’s not something I’d dare repeat.

Ond ie, peidiwch â chyffwrdd â fy ngwallt.


But when I turn to face myself

my curls do spins and twirls.

Liberated to unfurl themselves,

and speak beyond any language.


Then I catch myself in the mirror

and see beauty.

I see hair.

I see me.

I see us.


My hair is a thread that weaves

past, present, and future.

A thread of Black pride.

Black joy.

Black harmonies.


Gabin Kongolo is an actor/poet from Cardiff. He has recently made two cine-poems, the first commissioned by Artes Mundi and National Museum of Wales for their Lates: Pitch Black and also with the SSAP for their Days Ahead commission. Gabin is currently an Engagement Producer with us here at Artes Mundi.