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Mpho Matsipa
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0. Black women are often forced to wait.

1. The roving metal rods and swabs traced every limb, every contour, every crevice. Left palm. Right palm. Beep. Back of left hand. Back of right hand. Beep. Breasts. Cleavage. Left shoulder blade. Right shoulder blade. Beep. Spine. Groin. Beep. Hair. Beep. Back of left leg. Back of right leg. Lift your left foot. Right foot. One time, at the security check—a woman— veiled and polite, sunk her hands deep into my hair and unraveled my large knot of three-strand braids. We—she and I—left this room, eyes downcast, and relieved, when our shameful immigration dance was done. I was thankful really— that my orifices, this time at least, had been left intact. My father had often worried about these privileged border crossings. He had routinely warned my sisters and I about many Black women who had been escorted to a local public hospital for x-rays and cavity searches at Steve Biko Hospital, or Baragwanath or Chris Hani Hospital, upon their return.1

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