We present this work in honor of the South African holiday, Youth Day.
I am with those who abuse sex because the individual doesn’t count with those who get drunk against the abyss of the brain against the illusion that life once was good or had beauty or sense against the garden parties of falsehood against the silence that beats into the temples with those who poor and old race against death the atom-bomb of the days and in shacks count the last flies on the walls with those stupefied in institutions shocked with electric currents through the cataracts of the senses with those who have been depraived of their hearts like the light out of the robot of safety with those coloured, african dispossessed with those who murder because every death confirms anew the lie of life And please forget about justice it doesn’t exist about brotherhood it’s deceit about love it has no right
Here lies, buried, precious treasure The future of our beloved land Pride of our fledgling nation Our youth, our joy, our hope, Now turned to sorrowing dust.
They were all young, but children, really In the full flush of youth Such promise for the hungry tomorrow Blessings betrayed and all rules Of nature turned upside down.
The girls gaily giggled The young men, boys, really, Whistled and winked as they strutted about It was all such fun, such youthful fun The words of parents paled beside.
The words of parents, mostly whispered; And even that by but a few. A whole nation looked on, but shirked duty As the future swiftly withered and died.
They were in school, but the teachers taught nothing. Some went to church, but the priests spoke little about daily living; Pie in the sky and peace and bliss hereafter, their only platform.
Gone too, the wisdom of the Old Foresaken, the knowledge of yesteryear That knew and accepted what is only natural Understood the folly that would block the swells of a surging river And knew how all children needed mothers and fathers; Embraced all thildren; charged every man and woman with their nurturing.
‘It takes a village’, belatedly, we now say; at last remembering Faded lessons, traditions hastily discarded in blind pursuit Of progress, of fashion, of assimilation. Now, finally seeing How we ran open-armed, embracing our annihilation. Now, sorrow jogs memory and we join empty hands As we frantically try once more to guide, To lead the new generation as before, To show the way to the House of Adulthood Leaving none behind, losing few as can be.
Eye turned back to a time long forgotten When the measure of a man Was not the fatness of his pocket But his deeds of glory; shunning abomination. When neighbour trusted neighbour; his safety secure at his presence His home, his folk, his property – all sovereign His neighbour, his best protection against all His children, insurance against old age and infirmity. But that was before the nation learnt to bury all its children; See its morrow fade, its treasure interred; The youth, its pride, its hope and joy obliterated. The nation’s tomorrow, no more – ah, sad day, When we buried our most precious treasures!
We present this work in honor of Human Rights Day.
Don’t sow a seed Don’t paint a wall Tomorrow it will have to fall
Let the dog howl and bark Tomorrow he will Sleep in the dark Let the cock crow Let the hen lay Tomorrow will be their last day
Let the children chop trees Let them break Let the destructive little devils Ruin and take For tomorrow they know not their fate
Don’t sow a seed Don’t pain a wall Tomorrow the yellow monster will take all
Let our sons dazed in eye Rape and steal For they are not allowed to feel Let the men drink Let them fight Let what is said about them Then be right For they are not allowed to think
So bark, howl, crow, Chop, break, ruin, Steal, drink, fight, Let what’s made of us be right
Tomorrow we gaze at a new view Seas of sand given by you And we say Sow the seed Paint the wall Be at home in our desert for all You that remade us Your mould will break And tomorrow you are going to fall
Mama, they tell me you were a dancer they tell me you had long beautiful legs to carry your graceful body they tell me you were a dancer
Mama, they tell me you sang beautiful solos they tell me you closed your eyes always when the feeling of the song was right, and lifted your face up to the sky they tell me you were an enchanting dancer
Mama, they tell me you were always so gentle they talk of a willow tree swaying lovingly over clear running water in early Spring when they talk of you they tell me you were a slow dancer
Mama, they tell me you were a wedding dancer they tell me you smiled and closed your eyes your arms curving outward just a little and your feet shuffling in the sand; tshi tshi tshitshitshitha, tshitshi tshishitshitha O hee! How I wish I was there to see you they tell me you were a pleasure to watch
Mama, they tell me I am a dancer too but I don’t know… I don’t know for sure what a wedding dancer is there are no more weddings but many, many funerals where we sing and dance running fast with the coffin of a would-be bride or a would-be groom strange smiles have replaced our tears our eyes are full of vengeance, Mama
Dear, dear Mama, they tell me I am a funeral dancer
We present this work in honor of the South African holiday, Day of Good Will.
One day the Hillbrow Tower started to cry. Real tears poured down its sides collected in the gutters, and ran down Banket Street, and when the other buildings saw the tower’s sadness they started to weep in sympathy. Soon the whole city was sobbing, the tears joined other tears and filled the depressions and valleys. They covered the koppies, and collected in City Deep, cascading over Gold Reef City flooding Fordsburg and soaking Soweto. They flowed until they became a river that carried us into the night, where our dreams grew taller than buildings taller than buildings
I’m weary of myself. I’m dejected. I stand and gaze and feel — and marvel! Is This then the great city that has planted Despair in me? What contrasts jolt in this Strange Hive: souls kind and hard; pure Good; great Sins! This Hope or Mockery, Lord? Or Joy or Pain? For here beneath my eyes lie wonder scenes That should ring Joy, but only fling me Pain! All forces good or evil bring them Light
Who worship at Art’s shrine or read her Book. My soul doth live! A flash out of the night! I’ve been with God! I’m back content! I look Where Nature’s work and Man’s mingle or fight — Up sprout man’s flowers! Electric lights! ‘Tis night!
We present this work in honor of the South African holiday, Day of Reconciliation.
God grafted the lines of the universe Making the sunshine At the birth of every being. The fire that lights, Through which new rays of life breaks, A moment of time, Where our new voices collectively Must heal the diseased land-souls, Liking the aged and the unborn. Turning our childless grave yards Into laughing homes, Where our people are empowered and developed
The chains of our past Should not trouble us forever, But seal the lips of slavery caves. Our people should stop To live under the tyranny of silence, Turn deserted lands into farm fields. We must sow the seeds of UBUNTU Building and shaping our future on firm grounds, So that our royal languages can echo proverbs, At a place where our ancestors walked. Let us help the poor and the lame To open the closed doors So that they can dress our hearts differently. Let us move earth and assemble our villages So that our tears can become raindrops For the sea of education For the rivers of prosperity For the lakes of democracy
Our voices should write new poetic bibles And prose of golden beauty, Casting away HIV/AIDS- unemployment and felony Let us use our voices to fashion the old Build strong bridges of awareness Bridges that will take us far beyond The skyline of time. Bridges that will transform our core from Dance floors of misconception As we re-create who we really are.
Let us dress our behaviours like monks Allowing our offspring to pick fruits From the highest trees of spirituality So that they can destroy the walls of orphan villages Giving each home a name
We are pillars of a proud vote Bound by a period in which Every being must speak colour sounds Of togetherness. Let our voices find ways In which the webs of life are woven
A place where mothers cannot escape The messages of their own bodies. Let’s allow our fathers’ spirits To stretch and match science, history and politics Let our unique voices teach us How to dig, plant, water our seeds So that we can buy our children’s smiles. Let our words call peace As ancient drums still our voices Sending us to a place Where the love of UNITY lives To draw our people as a unit, Let our SUNRISE voices shout For we know where it all begun We know where we are We know where we are heading
The sparks of the sun Opened the sealed envelop of my words They, tied in endless riddles Are perused out to the world by my faith For God grafted the lines of the universe Making the sun shine At the birth of my soul. The fire that lights, Through which new rays of life break, A moment of time, When our voice together Must weave the diseased land-souls Liking the age and the unborn. Turning our childless grave yards into laughing homes Where our people can speak the same Let our SUNRISE voices shout