People don’t eat (manifestos)

People don’t eat (manifestos)

People don’t eat
manifestos (and the like)
says a voice-note
on a midday radio show

(it’s just a radio show
that could be anywhere
your country or mine
if you and I do indeed
have a country)

manifestos and manifesto-ing
manifesto-ing and manifestos
is everyone showboating
up a street-lit pole

(an injury to one
is an injury to all)

People don’t eat
manifestos whatever
their nutritional value
junk food or junk status

People don’t eat
manifestos whatever
their and their offsprings’
literacy and numeracy levels

despite manifestos
in spite of manifestos
even because of manifestos
and the promises up your
street-lit pole or otherwise

People don’t eat
People don’t eat
People don’t


(By David Kapp)

Art is the way

Hlelo Kana, a grade 4 learner at Samora Machel Primary School, won second place at the Philippi Arts Centre’s book quiz

Art is the way

Art is the way
is what they say
those bookworms
out Philippi Arts Centre way

(though art seems
only to matter
come vote-catching time)

Art is the way
where 40 or so
grade 3s and 4s
ace a book quiz

A book quiz
where they show
they can read
for meaning
(in isiXhosa)

Notwithstanding the ritual
of those PIRLS studies
that go the other way

What might the bookworms
have to say

Book worms : Philippi learners ace Arts Centre book quiz

(By David Kapp)

(Photo Credit: GroundUp / Qaqamba Falithenjwa)

It’s the little things


It’s the little things

We two decide
to brave the subway
to the other side
(where the grass is
not any less the smellier)

It’s the little things
the overalled fellow
poignantly observes
post- the Heritage Day
we have just had

It’s the little things
retail workers work
(is there a union
in agreement there)
and the wheels turn

It’s the little things
sardine-filled taxis
rush on by
as I make my way
to a Remembrance Walk

It’s the little things
Preserving Celebrating
and Memorializing
that which was

It’s the little things

I make my way to Livingstone High School, the venue for the Newlands / Claremont Heritage, Environmental Justice and Restitution Society gathering.

(By David Kapp)

(Image Credit: Kamyar Bineshtarigh, Studio Wall XII / Southern Guild)

We Without Titles

We Without Titles

Shall we be Bonnie and Clyde
Barbra Streisand and that Gibb chap Stevie Wonder and Paul Mac
or just plain Ebony and Ivory …

Worlds apart are we
Separated by apartheid decree
Joined by music and poetry
(He has too penned a book or three
A real Sugarman radio veteran is he)

Shiloh Noone the SongCatcher
In his Magic Bus has been around
Yet we are only a few months apart
As I have found

We’re both into chess
And help kids play
But we two
Have yet to enter the fray

My influences are reggae and LKJ
Though to that he might grunt a nay
As does he to that Doobie brother
Who some of us know he’d like
to smother

Here we go then, Shiloh Noone and I
Giving you verses to ponder
Making you wonder
What’s going on
Why do we bother

(This revolution will not be televised)

(By David Kapp)
(Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

Your sole is broken

Your sole is broken 

A fellow traveller
(a woman to boot)
observes as I stoop
to examine the sole
of an age-old boot

Knee-high they are
rescued me many times
from the searching hands
of apartheid’s police

(contraband stuffed
down my length of leg
the side-pockets usually
filled with meeting notes)

Your sole is broken
couldn’t keep up
with my striding
here there and
whereever too

Your sole is broken
perchance a slip
of the Freudian variety
in these challenging times

(who would have thought
as we are supposed to be
free from all iniquities
post-1994’s Majority Rule

Your sole is broken
can it be fixed
(do we actually want to
and at what cost)
or is it beyond repair















(By David Kapp)

(Image Credit 1: Community Arts Project / UWC Centre for Humanities Research) (Image Credit 2: Community Arts Project / UWC Centre for Humanities Research)



No need

No need

No need
to do
a “lights out”
Earth Day

It is done
by the country’s
service provider
(oh the irony)

No need
to celebrate
you’d reckon

We are
“lights out”
in a manner
of speaking

from here
to almost

Earth Day
initiated by a US senator
inspired by their anti-war
protests of the 1960s

“Earth Dies Screaming”
as UB40 had it
perhaps there is really
a Planet B to go to
and ruin

Earth Day
and goes

April 22


(By David Kapp)

(Image Credit 1: Robert Rauschenberg, Earth Day / Smithsonian) (Image Credit 2: Menashe Kadishman, Cracked Earth / Tate)

His father returned

His father returned

Goods stolen
we bite the hand
that feeds
(same old story)

His father returned
whatever his son
brought home
from his (and others)
ransacking expedition

A ransacking expedition
they bit the hand
that helps others
in their time of need

His father returned
items his druggie son
(same old story)
took without permission
from the Gift of the Givers

His father returned
as many others did
from the community
and the surrounds

one wishes others
would do so too
from wherever

and from whoever
they have liberated
worldly goods
and the like

His father returned

SAFM radio’s Beyond the Headlines presenter – and many others – express disbelief at the ransacking of the Gift of the Givers’ office (Tuesday afternoon, 11 January 2023).


(By David Kapp)

Image Credit: Radio 947)

Nobody is above (everyone is equal)

Nobody is above (everyone is equal)

Nobody is above the law
everyone is equal before

the much-lampooned man
has done whatever he can

Nobody is above the law
everyone is equal before

there are those ones
who give you the runs
(election-time they comes)

Nobody is above 
everyone is equal

an emperor-ex will serve
that which many more do deserve

Nobody is above the law
everyone is equal before

Miscreants and dictators plunder
tearing their countries asunder
(each according to their ability)

Orwell’s Animal Farm rings true 
but will it do for you 

SAFM radio’s afternoon show ends with a Ray Charles’ rendition of “Let it be”.

(By David Kapp)

(Image Credit: Sandile Goje, Making Democracy Work / Constitutional Court Art Collection)

You move too slow

You move too slow

You move too slow
I get to hear
from a greyhead
behind me

not in the pecking order
not at the feeding trough
but in a shopping queue

You move too slow
clipping my heels
as she veers 
to the right

to another queue
where the grass is greener
and there is more
on offer

You move too slow
the over 60s are urged 
(on evening etv news)
not to rush to centres 
for their vaccine shots

so I am just
practising my slowness
my lack of speed
or slothfulness even

amused once was I
to hear two queueing locals
pondering which service
was the more slothful
(we won’t say which)

You move too slow
could be said to be

The state we are in

(By David Kapp)

(Photo Credit: Health-e News / NW Health Department)

There isn’t a school

There isn’t a school

There isn’t a school
for protesting 

but there is
for police
and policing

There isn’t a school
for protesting or
for protesters

to learn the trade
to learn the skills

but there is
for police
and policing

There isn’t a school
Though we have 
plenty of schools

(who is schooled
who is educated)

There isn’t a school

When might there be

An afternoon SAFM radio presenter ponders the killing of a passer-by “caught in the cross-fire” by the country’s police in the Wits student protests, 11 March 2021, in South Africa’s Human Rights Month.

By David Kapp

(Photo Credit: News24 / AFP / Emmanuel Croset)