David Kapp

David Kapp is a popular educator and poet living in Cape Town, South Africa.

About David Kapp

David Kapp is a popular educator and poet living in Cape Town, South Africa.

I cried

 

I cried

I cried watching
John Lennon
doing Imagine
on a white piano

I cried during
Missing
the movie of Allende’s Chile
crushed by imperialism
(of the America type)

I cried and cheered
at the end
of the Buena Vista Social Club
because of the socialist struggles
of Cuba and its people

I cried reading
Robert Tressell’s
The Ragged Trousered
Philanthropists

(dad told a tale
back in the old days
of buying and distributing
copies to workers)

(the book a present in 1963
from mom’s older brother
John and his wife Fawzia
the two fleeing through Africa
to England in the period
teachers were being silenced)

I cried
(just now)
on unearthing another
revolutionary treatise
Rape of the Fair Country
with my teacher-activist mom’s
initials in it and the date 2/3/1959

(living in Claremont still
and I guess she expectant
with my brother Mike)

the last lines are rather prophetic

For ages deep wrongs have been hopelessly bourne;
Despair shall no longer our spirits dismay,
Not wither the arm when upraised for the fray;
The conflict for freedom is gathering nigh,
We live to secure it, or gloriously die!’

 

(Photo Credit: Carys Ink)

people like you

people like you

there are mouths
quite wide open
at this statement
on early eve TV

In our country
we rape
people like you

this said somewhere
to a young woman
in a relationship
with another

not another
pointy-eared
sharp-tailed alien
from Planet Other

the same Planet
colouring people
with bigotry hatred
and intolerance

or is it brewed
right here
on Planet Earth

that self-same
where we pollute
and carry on as if
we have another

In our country
we rape
people like you

Reference is made
to our rights enshrined
in the Constitution here

perchance our Constitution
is ahead of its citizenry
and its self too

for people
like you
and I

We remember Eudy Simelane

(Photo Credit: IOL)

In (the) front (of the crowd)

In (the) front (of the crowd)

In the front of the crowd
she was
when #FeesMustFall
hit our campuses
notes a Durban student

not in the margins
was she
says a civil rights leader
out the US way

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
labelled Mother of the Nation
by the everyday
(though apartheid denied her
mothering her own children)

a terrorist in the state’s eyes
and those who benefitted
from the collusions of apartheid

(tortured jailed banished
she kept the flame of freedom
alive during the dark days)

In the front of the crowd
uninvited a unionist jokes
she would just arrive

a journalist says people
have forgotten the past
and have no idea how
apartheid brutalized her

(and the post-traumatic
stress she and everyone
suffered and simply
carried on)

In the front of the crowd
not a spare rib
not an appendage
a person in her own

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Not yet Uhuru

 

(Photo Credit 1: Mail & Guardian) (Photo Credit 2: Wikimedia)

I explain (a thing or two)

I explain (a thing or two)
 
I explain
a thing or two
to a young learner
 
she an ardent reader
chess player and now
its marabaraba too
 
and to our delight
she also shares
her learning
with others
 
(like each one
and teach one)
 
I explain
a thing or two
about a book
she is busy with
 
a few instalments of
The Young Children’s
Encyclopaedia
 
donated they were
by neighbours next-door
who intuitively bought them
at a market somewhere
and donated them to us
 
I grin to myself
as I think
of Pablo Neruda’s
I explain a Few Things
 
This I do as I recall
the Neruda poem read
at my trade unionist
father’s recent memorial
 
In death I want to be with the poor
who have no time to study it,
while those who have the sky
divided and deeded beat upon them….”
 
Need I explain (more)
(Photo Credit: YouTube / Maria Farantouri)

Things fall(ing) apart

Things fall(ing) apart

It can only happen
where there are
no Bikos or Chés
no Harons Sobukwes
Timols or Mandelas even

It can only happen (here)
down South where women
and children are abused
ritually regardless

Out Heideveld way
where chess is in
at the local library
and a chess competition
acclaims young minds

Out Heideveld way
where some celebrate
their title deeds whilst
others decry and deny
the charges of the usual
corruption and incompetence

Houses falling apart
a metaphor for all
that is dark out there
on the Cape Flats
(where the city works)

Houses falling apart
out in Africa in the
Third World in the
undeveloped and
underdeveloped
end of our polluted planet

Houses for All was
once a slogan

now it is
Houses falling apart

Houses ‘falling apart’ (Athlone News, December 6 2017)

 

(Photo Credit: HouseIt)

That is not right

Chanelle McCrawl

That is not right

A paternal grandfather
can’t get much sleep
as yet another
young one is killed

(she thrown on a field
like a piece of garbage)

That is not right
she is a human being

(a local library colleague
wonders whether children
are growing up too quickly)

elsewhere a besuited one
declares that gangs
are using weapons
of war

blustering on about
never failing our people
and liberating our people
from prisons of fear

is the mind not
that dangerous place
that weapon of war

male suspects appear
and are charged
while we fill that
other concrete prison

then tick off boxes
for political statisticians
and the statistics
of politicians

Is that right

“Another girl killed, another tenant held” (Cape Times, October 24 2017), “Charnelle’s mom shares her grief” (Argus, October 24 2017), “Another child found dead” (Athlone News, October 25 2017), and “Gangs using ‘weapons of war’” (Athlone News, October 18 2017).

(Photo Credit: David Ritchie / ANA / Cape Argus)

They said she must wait

 

They said she must wait

They said she must wait
until the pain gets worse

so did that place where
a certain rank of humanity
rewards itself hugely
for keeping others
in their place

management refuses
to let a worker go
to the clinic
she miscarriaging
at a till

so says a social media circular
adding that her union refused
to take up a case of abuse
saying they only deal
with labour relations
(and not with human rights abuses)

They said she must wait
until the pain gets worse
so says that place where
a CEO’s annual bonus
beggars belief

They said she must wait
until the pain gets worse

How long still

Not yet Uhuru

 

(Photo Credit: Africa.com / UCT)

Gentle Justice

Gentle Justice

justice
awaits
victims wait
for some

whilst Special Ones
and the blindly faithful
get their way
and get away

Gentle Justice
an escape
from the glare
of the public

Gentle Justice
is what you get
when you are

well-known
well-resourced
well-connected
(pockets well-lined too)

(this in spite of our
Constitution lauded
and our Bill of Rights
and the like
on paper)

Gentle Justice
a higher-up gets
during Women’s Month

his just reward
for knowing
his place

(no shoot first or
fight fire
with fire)

justice awaits
and victims wait

A legal NGO’s spokesperson on morning SAFM radio has it that our Rainbow Nation’s night-clubbing higher-up deputy-male has gotten himself “gentle justice”.

(Photo Credit: Joseph Chirume / GroundUp)

a petite woman

a petite woman

Emma Mashinini was
we get to hear
on morning radio

a petite woman
that’s what she was

diminutive little elfin
tiny small short

Emma Mashinini has passed
trade unionist pioneer
pioneer trade unionist

a petite woman
that’s what she was

anti-apartheid fighter
fighter for women’s rights
a warrior on all fronts

women described
a woman described
differently to others
to men

(did we see
that appendaged
to late unionist
Ronald (Bernie) Bernickow
or music giant Ray Phiri)

a petite woman
that’s what she was

we have a long way

 

(Emma Mashinini’s short tribute (read by a woman) on SAFM’s (morning) AM Live gets this one going.)

(Photo Credit: Buzz South Africa)

Watch where you walk

Watch where you walk

Watch where you walk
we are advised
by folks in the know

don’t do a midnight
or an early hours one

(boyfriends bury
their girlfriends
in backyards)

don’t frequent the hotspots
police cannot be everywhere

behind closed doors
in gated mansions
in ivory towers
be-suited in committees

(you know dangerous areas
places like home like school
like the workplace like)

Watch where you walk
twin knifes mom and sister
famine on the horizon
for millions of children
(what way our grant fiasco)

femicide is the order
women besieged
sexual assault the daily custom
(in the broad light of day)

(a woman or girl raped
every 25 seconds down here)

Watch where you walk
International Women’s Day
and our 16 days anti-abuse campaign
has long since passed us by

Watch where you walk

‘Watch where you walk’ – cops (People’s Post Athlone, 14 March 2017). “Boyfriends bury their girlfriends in backyards” (Cape Times, January 31 2017), “Twin ‘knifes’ mom, sister” (Cape Times, February 6 2017); and “Millions of children are facing famine” (Sunday Argus, January 29 2017)

(Image Credit: 702)