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.

(we) laugh it off

(we) laugh it off

we laugh it off
democratically
(even though
there was none
back there in 1976)

we laugh it off
myself and a folkie
a work colleague into 
Dylan Baez and Jim Croce 

June 1976 it was
circa the 16 and 17
a stay-away from work
(my first it was)

a manager fellow it was
(we are being genteel here
as he was harsher labelled)
suggesting we get
a police escort to work

we laugh it off
explaining to him
that they oversaw
apartheid and the like

(in the name of law and order
keeping us safe from the red peril
keeping us safe from the yellow peril 
keeping us safe from the swart gevaar)

June 1976
the Soweto uprising
the Soweto student rebellion
(there are those who
called the event a riot)

many exiled in its wake
before and after

Youth does it matter 
to you today
what this political holiday
was all about

Will it make tomorrow
any the better if you did

(Photo Credit: South African History Online)

man-up

man-up

It is said
about men
that they 
have it

The balls

that fascist ruler-past
out in Brexit country
she had it they say

The balls

we hear now
that she can
our Caster Semenya

she can
man-up
and race
against men

she still 
facing a testing time
in a world insensitive 
to anything unlike

(a strong girl she is
post-Saartjie Baartman
post-apartheid’s pencil test
and virginity testing too)

man-up
they say
those folks

are they men
one and all

those folks
who run 
athletics

man-up
they say

not yet
Uhuru

(Photo Credit: Athletics Weekly)

We see remarkable women

The team at Centre for Early Childhood Development, Cape Town

We see remarkable women

We see remarkable women
says Professor Eric Atmore 
Stellenbosch University graduate
and he who puts children first

We see remarkable women
every day working with
young children and living
the Mandela legacy

they do it for long hours
with shockingly low pay
they do it for nation building

We see remarkable women
yet they are few and far between
up the poles where politicians are
plying their trade

We see remarkable women
says Professor Eric Atmore 
revealing that less than a third
of children under 7 in South Africa
get quality pre-school learning

(only 30% of our 7 million children
under the age of 7 are in
a quality learning programme)

he tells us too that we need
a policy champion (in cabinet)
as the state does not have 
the political will capacity 
or money to support
its early childhood development programme

We see remarkable women
Now don’t you

We see remarkable women
Now what are you going to do

We see remarkable women
Now what is to be done

“Policies need proper backing, prof says” (Tatler April 11 2019)

(Photo Credit: Southern Suburbs Tatler)

Just like

Just like

Just like
a dictator-past
(apartheid-military style)
finger erect

finger erect
(a Freudian slippage)
taking the moral
high on power

previously she warned
beware the elderly
a political hack competing
foot-in-mouth with others 
in election-time

no doubt she’ll say
no journalist here was
tortured or murdered (yet)
as we’ve seen recently
out at the Saudi consulate

finger erect
it can lose you votes
you might need greatly
in the hawking season

beware little children
as you grow up
to the age of voting
and thinking first

finger erect
journalists still
under attack
be warned 

Just like

The ruling class shows its class. Renowned Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered some months ago. And, you remember “We don’t listen to old people like Tutu – Duarte”, Cape Argus April 23 2009; Jessie Duarte, then ruling party spokeswoman, putting her foot in it.

(Photo Credit: JacarandaFM)

What are you worth (children of Valhalla Park)

What are you worth (children of Valhalla Park)

Valhalla – the palace of immortality
in Scandinavian mythology –
where rests souls of heroes slain
and there are statues and the like 
to the memory of illustrious individuals

What are you worth
children of Valhalla Park 
(might some even say
children of a lesser)

I know folks out there 
a computer literate mother 
of many offspring who 
I’ve not seen for a while

(how might they be
are they on the straight
and the narrow path
are they safe there)

What are you worth
children of Valhalla Park 
and the immediate surrounds
of your fertile growing minds

Are you worth more
or less than the biologically 
blue-eyed and blonde souls
wherever they find themselves

Are you worth more
than your counterparts
in the Palestines Yemens Syrias
of our globalized earth-ghetto

(what of the girl-child
forever at the bottom 
of the feeding queue
voting fodder cannon fodder
for politicians and spokesmen)

What are you worth
children of Valhalla Park 

What are you worth children 
anywhere and everywhere

Penned after a social media condemnation of the recent slaying of children in the area.

(Photo Credit: Voice of the Cape)

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)