On the run

On the run

(women) going strong
in a Brave Run
against violence 
(and patriarchy) 
from Khayelitsha
 to central Cape Town

Not waiting
(waiting in vain)
for our ritual
16 Days of Activism
for No Violence
against Women and Children

(when one and all come out
to be seen and heard)

Manenberg’s Rock Girls
and others braving
crime-affected areas
(and the country’s male-folks
who rape and murder)

(combined with
454 kids murdered
in (a) single year
combined with
smacking kids
making them anti-social)

On the run
braving the elements
(not the weather)
an inaugural event in memory
of the killing of 2 teenage girls
(raped and murdered in the same week)

On the run
not running away

 

“Concerned residents, activists sweat it out as Rock Girl uses 34km run to call for safety” (Cape Times, April 25 2016), “Brave Run links city in fight against violence” and “454 kids murdered in single year” (Weekend Argus, May 1 2016). See also “Smacking kids can cause them to become anti-social” (Argus, April 29 2016).

 

(Photo Credit: Rockhoppin’ Trail)

I don’t like (to be black)

 

I don’t like (to be black)

A mere chess game it was
where a young lass had
to decide on the hue
of her chess pieces

I don’t like to be black
she duly declared
not a hint of anything

no Freudian slip
no racism

not even an appreciation
(in a manner of speaking)
of the import of her words

I cringe almost instantly
peering around furtively
in the local library

in the local library
these things happen
not just in places
of ill-repute

(you know like
board-rooms like
sub-committees like
on official government forms
and in Public Holiday speeches like)

I don’t like to be black
merely a game of chess
two sides of different shades
one light and the other dark

there are pawns too
doing their bidding
some pieces more
valuable each trying
to capture the other

I don’t like to be black

A mere chess game it was

Our emperor’s relapse into black-white during the anti-racial-non-racial-tolerance part of his Human Rights Day speech, reminds one that we have far to go, still, 21 March 2016.

 

(Image Credit: WallPapersCraft)

If I ever do (become a writer)

If I ever do (become a writer)
 
If I ever do become a writer
one Isabel Pritchard pens
a letter to her 8C teacher
at Oaklands High 1992
 
(thanking her for having 
faith in her promising 
to dedicate her first book to her)
 
Yet another bit of history
unearthed in our household
in between and betwixt Africa 
and Youth Months
 
If I ever do become a writer
for that is what I wish to be
a dreamer too she says
(sounds like teacher’s 
John Lennon influence)
 
When she writes she feels
as if she is giving a part
of herself away
 
(did she follow her passion 
her dream in some way 
educating and encouraging) 
 
She stops herself
(I will have to end it
says she dramatically)
before her letter turns
into a novel 
 
Ending with something 
her tea-drinkingly English
teacher quoted
 
Hold fast to dreams
for if dreams die
life is a broken-winged bird
which cannot fly
 
Did she stop herself
Did she hold fast and fly
 
A “Dear Miss” letter surfaces in the Kapp household, circa end-May into June 2015.

21 already (on South Africa’s Freedom Day)

21 already (on South Africa’s Freedom Day)
 
21 already
you are
getting there
rather quickly
(might it have been
far too soon)
 
was the enticement
of international sport
(rugby and cricket chiefly)
much too much to resist
 
21 already
were we readied
for the occasion
and the great beyond
 
What have you celebrated
have you always had cause
to celebrate and rejoice
(are you selective 
in your remembrances)
 
21 already
(this coming of age)
does it seem times
are tougher now
in our rebuilding phase
 
(will we be reconstructing
forever and a day)
 
There are folks hankering
for a return to apartheid
corporal punishment
the death penalty and
keeping women and children
(and the other) in their place
 
(and quite nearby dogs howl
as a neighbouring child 
gets a mother’s loud beating
and a shutting-up)
 
21 already
would you do it
all over again
(Photo Credit: http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za)

Love is all around

 

Love is all around

Love is all around
is my lyrical response
to a Vukani letter-writer
from out yonder KTC

Where is love
in the townships
is the question asked
(amidst partying and drinking
round our social grant days)

Love is all around
I declare as I ramble
in and about Site C Khayelitsha

A bustling Saturday morning
down Govan Mbeki Road
to the Whizz ICT Centre
for their Youth Centre Launch
and an end-user computer Graduation

(them a small light of hope
all about community sustainability
in a place overshadowed)

Love is all around (too)
at the Moses Mabhida Library
where I’ve been before
for a Reading Competition
(fall in love with learning
says a mural on their wall)

Love is all around
5 happy earthly hours I spend
(language notwithstanding)
as the Youth Centre is launched
and students joyously graduate

Love is all around

What stops you
from making it so too

 

“Where is love in the townships?” (Letters, Vukani community paper, October 30 2014)

 

(Photo Credit: Whizz ICT Centre)

One can ask the question

June Orsmond and students asking the questions

One can ask the question

One can ask the question
empowering young minds
as a 77-year-old is doing
at Lavender Hill High School
(outside of our ritual Days)

One can ask the question
why the white woman label
20-odd years in to a democracy
the media reports as such
(are they still group-thinking)

All the white I know
is the hoary-old ditty
A whiter shade of pale
a little-known collective noun
a whiteness of swans
(and the Beatles’ White Album)

I ask the question
from a non-racial rearing
enfolded by humanists
political educators teachers
civic-minded campaigners
(African) Marxists and Socialists
feminists and womynists too

(with Achebe and Ngugi
and Neruda and Brecht
they made their mark though
not with corporal punishment)

One can ask the question
with all the progressive battles
(no normal sport in an abnormal)
where has all the non-racialism gone
was it just a passing charade

One can ask the question
what seeds do we plant
as June Orsmond is doing
(the power of one person)
in Lavender Hill and elsewhere
in the ghetto of young minds

Marina da Gama grandmother June Orsmond’s work, in “The power of one” (Argus, July 2 2014), brings forth the question.

(Photo Credit: Cape Argus)

You (children) know too much

You (children) know too much

You children know too much
observes a grizzly-haired fellow
(his face on quite straight)
to the little ones with him
out in the village’s shop

(soon as you’re born
they make you feel small)

We heard that during apartheid
edicts issued from the mouths
of the guardians of our moralities
(girls wear pink boys)

(chop off their heads
chop off their thoughts
chop off their points
of view)

After all children
should be just
seen and not heard
never mind heeded

(are there young ones
at the Davos talk-shop
or any alternative)

You children know too much
no doubt you need to be
protected from us
who are far behind (still)

(speak when spoken at
we virtuously holler at them
second-hand smoke at our fingertips)

You children know too much
thinking sharp thoughts
getting all erudite
ready to vote one day

(or even to be elected
to rule from a yonder fortress)

You children know
Never a dull moment, Saturday morn, January 25 2014, out in the estate of Belthorn.

It was amazing

It was amazing

It was amazing
sex workers disclose
while folks still can
(we have a right to know
those Mandela-moments)

It was amazing
good money made
outside of the launch
of the ANC’s manifesto

It was amazing
more clients came
election plans made
the country anticipates
(will it be work for all)

Participants’ hotels
lodges and their cars
the scene of much activity
(service delivery at work)

(was the handbook
suitably amended
allowing members
to go forth and engage
with the electorate)

It was amazing
the demand very high
big fish landed
colleagues wishing for more
(ANC rallies out yonder)

After the main event
local industry supported
was it business as usual
or was it the usual business

(though food and fruit vendors
had different responses
to the brisk street trading)

It was amazing
politicians at work
introducing our born-frees
and other impressionables
to the ways of the world

It was amazing

Sex workers in Mpumalanga’s capital city get to meet the ruling party’s politics (“Launch is a shot in arm for sex trade”, Cape Times, January 14 2014).

Mix it

Mix it

Mix it
your metaphors
images and symbols
professors of doom
demoralizing our people

(whosoever our people
might be this time round
matric results under scrutiny
on the horizon)

Mix it
like anti-majoritarian
liberal critics
(a dangerous elitism)

(making hay
on a scrabble board
with big words)

So says the guardians
of our selves
keepers of the keys
to the democratic project

(the democratic project
led astray by mixing it
some folks might say)

Mix it
twitter and tweet
even twerk your way
to the dustbins of history

Pass one pass all
(suffer our born-frees)
recite from your songbook
peddle your election-wares
in Mandela’s name

Mix your metaphors
and I’ll blend mine

Our red-blooded spokespersons counsel…. “all our people not to be demoralised by professors of doom and anti-majoritarian critics” (“Serious challenges face education system despite matric pass rate rising”, Cape Times, January 8 2014); and “Dangerous elitism a worry, and no dustbins should await failed Grade 12s” (Cape Times, January 10 2014).

Wish you were here

Wish you were here

Wish you were here
voices a local headline
not used to solemnity
of the non-rude kind
in getting folks to read

Wish you were here
everyone wants a piece
the sweaty ones so-called
the selfie-I-me-mine crowd
not to mention those
of the empty promises variety

Wish you were here
Madiba-jiving away
piloting the path
of the straight and narrow
(now in whose hands is it)

It now is in our hands
wandering they are
often in the state’s coffers
or in someone else’s

Wish you were here
many lost souls flapping
in their rainbow fishbowls
on their way backward
to past habits and customs

Wish you were here
the weightiness lifted
if only for an Ubuntu-while
then it is the same old ground

The same old ground
women know your place
speak when you’re spoken
children should just be seen

Wish you were here
to remind those who need
to be reminded lest
we forget why we wish
you were here

A tabloid headline reporting on the Cape Town Stadium music tribute brings forth Pink Floyd’s sombre ditty “Wish you were here”, itself marking the life of an artiste-past.