Archive for January, 2018

Cape Town is running out of water, and the world is watching,

while the moneyed strut with eyes unseeing,

the rich bathe in mineral water, and the golf courses are gloriously green,

the poor have no such buffer,

the poor are the ones who will as always suffer,

the five-star hotels are not running dry,

while in the townships the only water you’ll find are the tears that desperate mothers cry,

this may be a sign of things to come,

when the 1% bathe freely, attempting to cleans their hands which are so greedily dirty,

and the 99% who cannot boil some food for the children,

as the kids lay dehydrated, parched and thirsty,

this is not a poem, these are angry words meant for anyone who gives a hoot,

to open their eyes and see the reality of a people, already deprived,

now subjected to the inequality of being stomped on by yet another jackboot,

yes, Cape Town is running out of water, and the taps are slowly trickling till they run dry,

while the powers-that-be argue about quotas with hypocritical indignantly loud passions,

for as always, it will be the poor who will be forced to endure even more pain,

it will be the 99% who will have to queue up, yet again,

for their meagre daily rations.

My Vagabond Heart


My vagabond heart
shuffles, ever on,

seeking unknown truths,

here, there, everywhere,

as years fade like youth, slipping through a sieve.


Still the vagabond heart shuffles ever on,

the path long, arduous,

stepping between minefields,

at times hopeful,
at times suffocated by dread,

for there have been far too many fractured smiles,

far too many tattered feelings,

littering the alleyways of life that I have tread.


My vagabond heart shuffles ever on,

its pieces strewn
hither and thither,

my tears slipping,
slithering down my bruised cheeks,

perennially on the mend,

as I trudge on,

ever hopeful,
ever seeking,

the wild flower that may blossom,

just around the next bend.


A summer breeze,
drifts down lonesome pathways and byways and alleyways,

touching worlds,

torn apart.

The breeze engulfs,
a pristine sky of blue,

scattering the murmuring clouds,

that blanket the blazing African heavens,

in swirls and immaculate shrouds.


A passing shower,
of gentle misty rain,


on freshly scented-earth.

It soothes,

it caresses,

the exhausted thoughts,


a weary traveller,

who sits,

alone, all alone,

under a Baobab tree.


The traveller walks alone,

at peace with the fragrant soil,

collecting memories of smiles embraced along the way.


Finally, the wandering soul,

seeks rest,

finding peace at last,


knowing its price,

is to let go –

each memory,

and every smile,

that once burned true,

but now,
awaits release,

from the ache of the lingering past.

The Shade of the Baobab

The wandering soul rests,

under a Baobab tree that offers sanctuary,

as the South African sun,

burns copper red.

The wanderer gives thanks to the ancestors,

a moment of respite from the unending journey,

sifting through the dust,

divining the road ahead,

a time to reflect,

on the miles lost through the sieve of time,

on the paths that have yet to be tread.

A Love so Pure

these feelings, these emotions,

are but dandelion seeds,

adrift in the forests, swirling amongst the reeds.

this overwhelming love, this deep passion, this aching for you,

are but a yearning for something honest in a world so untrue.

these moments we spend, though we are apart, feel more real than the all the loves that have passed me by,

for it is with you, that I feel a sacred bond, a thread knotting us as one underneath the vast and glorious sky.

this thirst that ravages me, this hunger that savages me, this aching need that is felt deep within,

transcends all boundaries, deep inside the soul, beyond the superficial beauty that is merely a veneer, a skin.

these moments spent apart may feel like millennia ever so slowly hobbling along,

but what comes easily in this cruel world, let alone a confluence of souls fused together so strong.

this pain, this feeling of isolation, these pangs of longing,

cut deep, for how often does one feel such a soaring feeling of belonging.

these days, the moments, these weeks and months and years tiptoeing past us, slowing down time,

feeling like being separated by just a flimsy locked door,

feel like an eternity, but when have we felt this way before,

stricken by a love that scorches us to our very core.

who knows, we may never meet in this world of high walls, who knows the machinations of fate, who knows that we may have to silently this love endure,

but we can, and we should, and we must, take beautiful solace,

that we have been so blessed to have touched each other,

with a love so pristine,

a love so eternally pure.

ps: please excuse the paragraph and line spacing.

I am having a difficult time getting the formatting right on my handheld device.

thank you, dear friends, and warmest wishes and regards.

The Girl at the Bus-Stop

i saw her,

a revelation in glorious technicolour,

standing by the bus stop,

she smiled at me,

wrenching my heart off my sleeve.

i see her still,

now in faded black and white,

wondering where she may be, after all these years,

months, days, moments,

with time trickling through our lives,

knotting destiny into a silken weave,

time, wicked time,

slipping away,

down fate’s random sieve …

I whispered that I loved you,

all those yesteryears ago,

when love burned bright,

under our shared African night.

Now the years have past,

trickling away into the drain of time,

I still whisper that I love you,

after all these years that have rolled on by,

though into other ears,

and only half a lie …

do you remember

me ?

scribbling verses on your bare back ?

in some alleyway of memory,

lost between some fragrant detour.

i hope,

that it meant something to you too,

for if not, then i am truly lost,

a desolate castaway,

a bit player in a sad story,

that was always,


far too good to be true …

My tribute to Hugh Masekela published:

Hamba Kahle, Bra Hugh.

(1939 – 2018)

The music has fallen silent today, but for the briefest of moments,

for the music shall live on.

Bra Hugh has left us, he has left this earthly abode to join the giants of jazz who shall welcome him with warm embraces.

Bra Hugh was a legend, a word used often, but today all the more true.

When his trumpet sang the heart-rending tones of exile,

the principled, vibrant, steadfast resistance to tyranny,

the freight train barrelling down, shaking the ramparts of Apartheid brutality,

the harsh pain of a people, fighting the oppression of racial segregation,

through it all,

Bra Hugh was there.

Bra Hugh was there in Sof’town,

in old Kofifi,

walking tall with his comrades-in-song,

Bra Hugh was there in Alexandra, among the people, as he always was,

Bra Hugh played his ‘Soweto Blues’,

and it rang out loud,

shaking the foundations of hegemony and racism.

Bra Hugh has passed on.

yet Bra Hugh lives on.

Bra Hugh is hewn into the fabric of South Africa,

he mingles in the blowing winds,

in the African rains,

in the spirit of a people that can never be blunted,

Bra Hugh lives and walks amongst us still,

Bra Hugh lives on,

just as his principles,
his values,
his music,

always will.

Hamba Kahle Hugh Masekela!

Amandla! Awethu!

Matla ke a Rona!

The Struggles Continue …

prejudice 2.0

when the ghouls emerge, from deep within the recesses of our fungal minds,

our prejudice, our hubris, our misogyny, our racism, seeks fertile ground to take root,

to mutate into a new fangled, subtle fascism,

across breakfast table banter, seeping into politely civil conversation,

digging its claws into the common discourse,

choosing to settle comfortably into binary, zero sum opinions,

to make hate acceptable, if couched in the right language,

to make racism the norm, if sewn into the broader fabric of society,

to make misogyny humorous, a joke to be shared here, or a comment to be sniggered at there,

to make poverty the fault of the poor, branding the vast majority of humans as being simply lazy scum, chattel to be squashed or squeezed dry,

to bask in the ugly cocoon of greed, of ostentatious excess, to deny that privilege has been handed down, generation upon generation,

to gloss over the facts, to polish the brutal past, to spew the notion of not being complicit,

to make these abominable thoughts,

these despicable actions,

these repugnant beliefs,

feel at home again.

there is a rustling of leaves, sashaying in a sensual dance of the trees,

an awakening of senses, butterflies fluttering across the plains,

as the thrashing sun is shielded by dark clouds,

filled with the promise of soothing African rains.

all around is the scent of parched earth, eagerly awaiting the nectar from the skies,

reviving exhausted birds in their nests, knowing the coming downpour shall wash away the detritus of torrid days,

wiping away tears from so many thirsty eyes.

overwhelmed by the mirth of the expectant grass,

rolling with a hush, on the buds of every flower,

awaiting the life bestowing blessings of a serene summer shower.

the coming of the African rains, filled with life,

offering a bounty hope for the living beings we share this earth with,

as we all await, patiently,

for the deluge that shall cleanse away all of yesterdays’ strife.

Love and Lies



Love and Lies …




Flowing silently, the raw sewage of love’s lies,


year after month, day after week,


yesterday’s emotions brutally strewn along the alleyways,


while love and lies haggle,

hustle, tearing at each other’s souls,


breaking each other,

shredding all that was once felt deeply and true,


love and lies rotting in the diseased rain,


flowing like slow sewage,


into the bowels of an unknown drain.




desolation in love

these empty seances, this void of nothingness,

are we in love?

these hollow emotions, this vacuum of feelings,

are we lost?

lost in the spaces where emptiness thrives,

lost in the crannies where desolation lies,

lost in the alleyways where barren souls stagger,

lost in the moments where numbness lives,

lost amongst it all,
lost in everything,

except being lost in love.

for my mother

for my mother Zubeida Moolla (1934-2008)

Dedicated to exiles, refugees, and the brave South Africans who struggled against Apartheid tyranny in South Africa.

This poem is also dedicated to all the countless brave women fighting for their rights and against misogyny, gender bias, male hetero-patriarchy, gender based violence, female genital mutilation, equal pay for equal work, sexual harassment and abuse and the many evils that women around the world suffer on a daily basis)

letter of condolence from President Nelson Mandela to my father when my mother passed away.

for my mother, Zubeida Moolla 1934 – 2008.

(dedicated to exiles, refugees, and the brave South Africans who struggled against Apartheid tyranny within South Africa).

My mother passed away after a lengthy battle with Motor-Neurone Disease, also called ALS.

This poem is also dedicated to all the brave souls who are courageously battling illnesses and terminal diseases.

May we always salute them and their families’ courage in the face of indescribably hard circumstances).


I remember the tears she shed,

as she longed for her distant abode,

she wept often then,

as she pined for her children, Tasneem and Azad,

and felt the future looked bleak,

on that dim, lonely road.

I remember the tears she shed,

when that telegram came one afternoon,

‘regret to inform you stop father passed away stop’,

She wept often after that,

for their last goodbye had been said too soon.

I remember the tears she shed,

on that glorious day in a February not that long ago,

when the prisoner Nelson Mandela finally walked out,

breathing the free air,

she wept less after that, for then she knew where they were to go.

I remember the tears she shed,

soaring high above the African skies heading back to her land,

those tears came out in soft sobs,

but her eyes were smiling,

defiant and full of new hope,

as she held tightly onto my father’s wrinkled hand.

I remember the tears she shed,

some years later,

on that peaceful late April 1994 morning,

when she stood and proudly bore the voting ink on her aging thumb,

she wept a lot that April evening,

knowing that a new day was dawning.

I also remember that Thursday not long ago,

as she was slipping away slowly,

she seemed not to weep,

after all the miles and places,

and after all the tears that she had cried,

I remember that she wept little then,

as she drifted off into an eternal sleep.

President Mandela’s mother and my mother sometime many decades ago when Comrade Nelson Mandela and my father, among many others were arrested by the racist Apartheid regime.

(This photograph was taken probably in the mid to late-1950s or early 1960s)

Salute to Women Everywhere

she walks alone …

barefoot in the paddies of rice,

breaking her back for some precious grains.

she walks alone,

in jo’burg town, with a black eye,

abused by him the previous painful night.

she walks alone,

in the streets of neon hazed manila,

along the decaying hedges of rotten london,

on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,

across the rolling plains of the vast bounteous pampas,

over the winding back-ways of the sloping and grimy favelas,

on the glittering pavements of sickeningly ostentatious jeddah,

through the blindingly false boulevards of that sad los angeles town.

she walks alone,

bearing the burden of mother and daughter,

of cook and sweeper,

of wife and mistress,

and always inhumane mans punching-bag.

she walks alone,

through your streets and mine,

standing up as she is beaten down,

loving a lot as the bruises on her face turn purple,

feeding the little ones with morsels of hastily cooked beans.

she walks alone,

in factories and in mills and in buses,

in schools and in brothels and in horrific places in-between.

she walks alone,

staying alive on the alms of the ‘charitable’,

violated by those who from the pulpit preach.

she walks alone,

my sister and yours,

my mother and yours too,

my lover and your beloved as well.

she walks alone,

caged by society in its invisible prison,

a slave of norms and culture and religion and caste.

she walks alone,

but she is the conscience of me and you,

screaming at us silently in hunger and despair.

she walks alone,

and though fearful of all you callous men she may seem,

be warned that she shall not be this alone,

she too dreams and thinks and believes,

she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,

in the silent night of complacency,

while impotent mankind sleeps,

she too is rising and in rising she will slay,

the beasts that in your men’s hearts prowl and lay.

she too will demand her rightful place,

for every mother, sister, daughter, wife, lover,

has a real, human face.

MLK (1929 – 1968)

A Tribute – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968)

You had a dream, of pastures of peace,

where children of all hues mingle like rainbows.

They silenced you, yet your dream
resounds louder still,

in pastures not yet of peace,

where children of all hues mingle like rainbows. 

You said that you had been to the mountain top,

they tried to strangle your voice as you saw the promised land,

those pastures of peace,

where children of all hues mingle like rainbows.

Today your dream is glimpsed in pastures,

not yet of peace,

for though they tried to silence your voice,

your spirit in our collective hearts does rejoice.

Your spirit, your dream,

mingles in the winds of all those pastures,

over the valleys, in the oceans, across the mountains,

in every flowing stream.

Today, your dream lives in the wind,

seeding the prairies, the steppes, the savannahs, the pampas,

pastures of peace,

where children of all hues mingle like rainbows.

We remember you today,

with a shared pledge to nourish those pastures of peace,

in each of us,

where your dream may thrive,

blossoming into our shared dream,

bounteous, and alive.

Your dream realised shall then seem,

where children of all hues mingle like rainbows,

when we give life to the promise of the radiance of your beautiful dream.

for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

s h i t h o l e s


Bring back Africa !

( a rallying cry for independence from racist white minority tyranny and a clarion call for self-determination )


they were hunting grounds for slaves,

they were fertile for plunder,

the shitholes provided the labour to build the gleaming buildings that soared into the skies unmatched,

on land that was from the first peoples’ stolen, and brutally snatched.

they pick your oranges,

they pick up after your children,

they do the work others will not,

while in the abyss of poverty they are left to rot.



Bring back Africa!

( a rallying cry for independence from racist white minority tyranny and a clarion call for self-determination )

Inscription on the Statue of Liberty, from the poem “The New Colossus” written by Emma Lazarus in 1883.

Inscribed on the plaque in 1903.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning,

and her name


From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome;

her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips.

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!


​Inscription on the Statue of Liberty, written by Emma Lazarus in 1883.
Inscribed on the plaque in 1903.


Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band performing “American Land” live in concert.

2 0 1 8

2 0 1 8 …

… a cry as another year beckons.

where hatred flows like raw sewage, where intolerance festers in fungal minds, where every ugly stripe of prejudice is on proud display,

may we all stand up and be heard, may we all rise up and be counted, may we all shed our cloak of apathy, may we all cease to be active participants in this grotesque play.

where vicious poverty tramples human dignity, where gnawing hunger leeches humanity, where human beings have been cast out of their lands, of their houses,

may we rattle the corridors of power, may we fight for equitable change, may we scream our outrage, may we forge the bonds of solidarity, may our collective voice be hushed no more, may we shake each other so that humane ideals from slumber rouses.

where violence is rained down on people of a different colour, of a different religion and creed, of a different caste, of a different sexual persuasion, of women everywhere every night, where the shadows of pain grow ever longer,

may our lips not remain sewn shut, may we remain complicit by silence never again, may we know we are more, and being more, we are all the stronger. 

may we link arms across this pained world,

may we all see the banner of hope unfurled,

may we cease to look the other way,

may we strive for a more just day,

may we lose our petty differences, casting them into the sea,

may we reclaim our humanity, may we set our loving thoughts free,

may we always strive and struggle and battle for what is right,

may we never give in to despondency, may we not sink into the quicksand of feeling helpless, may we all arise and fight the good fight,

may we never forget the sacrifices of those who have passed, of those who have shed their blood, of those who made the supreme sacrifice so that we may today be here,

may we always honour their legacy, not in words and poems and songs, but to truly honour their lives and their scattered bones, by picking up their baton they so fiercely held, by raising their standard they so courageously held aloft, by getting our hands dirty as we rattle the 1% and their ostentatious thrones,

may we accept that the battles ahead may be long and hard, may we acknowledge that power never cedes, it’s metallic talons digging into our flesh so deep,

may we send them a message loud and clear, that nothing shall ever again dull our common resolve:



and in the tomorrows that yet to upon us creep,

may our message be clear:

we the people have awakened,

and we the people shall not be driven back to sleep.

all power to the people!

the struggles continue!



freedom 2018

freedom 2018 …

The shackles have been cast off.

Chains broken.

A people once squashed,

under the jackboot of Apartheid,
are free.

Free at last!

Freedom came on the 27th day in that April of 1994.

Freedom from prejudice.

From institutionalized racism.

From being relegated to second-class citizens.

Freedom came and we danced.

We cried.

We ululated as we elected
our revered Mandela.

President Nelson Mandela.

Our very own beloved ‘Madiba’.

Black and white and brown and those in-between.

All hues of this rainbow nation,

rejoiced as we breathed in the air of freedom and democracy.

Today we pause.

We remember.

We salute.

The brave ones whose sacrifices made this day possible,

on that 27th day of April,

18 years ago.

Today we dance.

We sing.

We ululate.

We cry.

Tears of joy and tears of loss.

Of remembrance and of forgiveness.

Of reconciliation and of memories.

Today we pause.

We acknowledge the tasks ahead.

The hungry.

The naked.

The destitute.

Today we reaffirm,

that promise of freedom.

From want.

From hunger.

From eyes without promise.

Today we also wish to reflect.

On unfulfilled promises.

On the proliferation of greed.

On the blurring of the ideals of freedom.

Today we say:

We will take back the dream.

We will renew the promise.

We will not turn away.

Today we pledge:

To stand firm.

To keep the pressure turned on.

To remind those in the corridors of power,

that we the people need to savor the fruits of the tree of freedom.

And till that time,

when all shall share in the bounty of democracy,

We shall remain vigilant,

and strong.

And we shall continue,

to struggle.

And to sing out loud,

“We shall overcome”

nature rages

nature rages, lightning streaks the Joburg skies …

rain sweeps down, drenching empty boulevards,

wreaking havoc, oblivious, unfeeling,

as gargantuan monsters often are …

in your eyes

in your eyes …

in your eyes,

marmalade swirls,

candyfloss twirls,

draw me ever deeper,

as another day unfurls …

a new years wish for all

a new years wish for all …

may this year be kind,

leaving the detritus of the past behind.

may this year be filled with peace,

where humans discard prejudice,
where all hatred may cease.

may this year be gentle and true,

banishing the notions of “us and them”,

by acknowledging the humanity that resides in me and in you.

may this year shower all with the truest wealth,

the bounty of the priceless gift of health.

may this year bring real change, by speaking truth to power to effect real humanitarian aid to all those in need,

knowing that the “other” may be “us” someday, if we do not cast out the demons of selfishness and of unending greed.

may our collective power be on display when we demand a better deal for our home, this planet,

by accepting that this is the home we shall bequeath to those yet to come, to leave a healthy environment for them to inhabit.

may this year and the years ahead be filled with the ideals of a more equitable and just and prejudice-free garden of promise,

where the 99% languish no more in poverty and deprivation,

where human dignity is restored to the countless many,

so that the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of this earth may truly live, and not just survive and cope,

so that the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of this earth may finally,

after epochs of injustice,

seize the light and the banner of achievable hope …

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