Tag Archive: abuse


she walks alone









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.







​Today we rise.


No more hiding in the shadows,


of culture,

creed,

tradition.


No more silent complicity,


defensive arguments,

sickening pretences,

shabby excuses,


for the actions of men,


brutal and coarse and vulgar and obscene and murderous and abusive men.


Today, we rise,


as one.


Today the change starts,


with me,

within me.


with you.

within you.



Today we rise.

​thanking all at Conceit Magazine for having me on the cover of the January/February/March 2017 Issue.

Volume 7, Number 71.

Thank you, Editor Perry Terrell!
Conceit Magazine, 

Perry Terrell, Editor,

P.O. Box 884223,

San Francisco, CA,

94188-4223


conceitmagazine@yahoo.com

​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,


smacked around by him the previous painful night.


she walks alone,


in the streets of neon hazed manila,

in the villages and in the small towns,


along the pristine hedges of rotten london,


on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,

in the alleyways of twisted and rotten karachi,


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 rich and sweetly-scented sick 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 and wife and mistress and punching-bag,


she walks alone,


through your streets and mine,


standing up as she is beaten more down,


loving a little 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 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 you men she may seem,


be warned that she may not forever be this alone,


for she too dreams and thinks and believes,


for she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,


in the silent night of complacency while impotent mankind sleeps,


and she too will rise and in rising slay,


the beasts that in your callous hearts prowl and lay,


and she too will demand her rightful place,


for every mother and sister and lover and daughter has a real, human face …

on apathy: “I don’t Care”

I Don’t Care

image

I don’t care,
if you’re battered black and blue,

I don’t care,
just as long as I can drink and screw.

I don’t care,
if you’ve lost your damn job,

I don’t care,
you’re just a kernel off the cob.

I don’t care,
when I see you begging in the street,

I don’t care,
I get to suckle on capitalism’s raw teat.

I don’t care,
about the elderly, the poor, or the weak,

I don’t care,
if the earth will be inherited by the meek.

I don’t care,
if the climate is warming, I’m so much cooler,

I don’t care,
in my penthouse I’m the boss, the only ruler.

I don’t care,
for those rolling for scraps in the muck,

I don’t care,

I really don’t care, cos’ I don’t give a fuck.

image

inspired by Bob Geldof’s “The Great Song of Indifference”

an immigrants lament

an immigrants lament

gazing at the sky
i often wonder why,

birds soaring,
high in the open sky,

are free to fly?

is it that they have wings,

for i too have wings, friend,

so,
i often wonder why,

huddled against desolate sleet,

and,
i often wonder why,

buried under flimsy newspapersheet,

that i too have wings, friend,

i too have wings!

and my wings,

are my feet!

I am

just when you think you’ve broken me

i will not cower

your manliness does not frighten me

your mouth will not silence me

I am I
I am me

I am

and you are not

wrote this a while ago.

Sadly true today.

It ain’t Xenophobia? Really?

it’s not xenophobia,
the refrain is the same,

it’s the criminals to blame,

we still won’t be calling the attacks by their stinking name,

‘xenophobia’

yes,

that’s what it is,

but,

let us not be simplistic,

we have to face the ugliness of our collective shame,

because when mostly ‘foreigners’ get put to the flame,

how can we ignorance feign?

it’s xenophobia,
simple & plain,

with poverty & unemployment barrelling on a runaway train,

and it won’t just ‘go away’,

for as long as ignorant complicity continues to reign …

       _____________________

‘Xenophobia’ is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as:

” noun:

intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries  “

The synonyms for xenophobia are:

chauvinism, racial intolerance, racism, dislike of foreigners, nationalism, prejudice.

     _____________

As a citizen of South Africa, I am acutely aware of the many challenges that our young country faces.

The iniquities of our tortured past, the legacy of Apartheid, socio-economic issues etc. are just a few of the many problems that South Africa is grappling with.

What is extremely disturbing for me is something that I have personally encountered, in conversations with friends, family, and fellow citizens from all walks of life.

That something is how rife ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment is within our various, and still divided communities.

I have heard the most atrocious, insensitive, hate-filled utterances regarding the ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’, and most chillingly ‘we will kill these foreigners’.

I am also aware that many intellectuals, think-tanks, NGO’s, and sociologists etc. have written and spoken volumes about how the failure of proper service delivery by the government and local municipalities, and the myriad other shortcomings that plague our country have played a part in the emergence of this abhorrent xenophobic sentiments that are being spouted almost as if one was talking about culling animals in the Kruger National Park.

We have already witnessed the scourge of xenophobia, and not long ago, when organised bands of people marked, attacked and killed ‘foreigners’ in a frenzy of blood-letting and looting.

This was in 2008.

And today, as the father of the nation, Nelson Mandela lies ill in a hospital bed in Pretoria, I hear similar disturbing and blood-curdling hate-speech directed against ‘the foreigners’.

What is going on?

Where and how have we, as a country, failed, or more worryingly, chose to ignore the signs of this cancer that has to be dealt with, and dealt with as a matter of national priority.

The synonyms for xenophobia include racism, racial intolerance, and prejudice.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere are xenophobes.

No one disputes that.

The neo-Nazis in Europe and elsewhere talk in almost exactly the same terms when they spout their rhetoric, when they go on ‘Paki-bashing’ sprees in England, when they deface Synagogues and Mosques and Temples, or when they beat up and kill ‘foreigners’ who ‘take our jobs’, and ‘take our women’, and ‘are the cause of all the crime’, and ‘they must go back to their countries’.

What is particularly disturbing about the rise of xenophobia, especially in the South African context is the complicity of silence, and by extension, a shocking acceptance of these racist and murderously dangerous views, by ‘normal’ citizens.

We are Africans.

And above all, we are all human.

This may seem like an obvious and unnecessary fact to point out, but when certain friends, family members, and people one interacts with daily, spew such xenophobic drivel, it needs to be taken seriously.

Pogroms, xenophobic attacks, racism, intolerance, prejudice, casteism, religious bigotry, sexism, and homophobia, do not simply arise out of nothing.

There are societal, religious, traditional, cultural and other factors that do indeed create fertile ground for some of these noxious sentiments to germinate.

It is incumbent on us all, people, just people, to engage with people, however close they may be to us, and challenge and make our voices heard that we will not stand mutely by, as such hate-filled venom is flung around nonchalantly.

We cannot be conspicuous by our silence and inaction when a large segment of our society, those who have chosen our country to be their home, often fleeing economic hardship, political and social violence, and numberless other factors that force, and this is important, people are forced into leaving their countries, often making hazardous and painful journeys in order to find safe-haven amongst fellow human-beings.

As South Africans, we know just how friendly countries welcomed us during the darkest days of Apartheid repression and tyranny.

Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, and the other ‘front-line’ states paid dearly for offering South Africans fleeing Apartheid a place of refuge as well as a base of operations against the oppressive Apartheid system.

Apartheid agents and security forces attacked, fomented insurrections against the governments in the front-line states, and still South Africans of all races, creeds etc. found a welcome home in these comradely countries.

We should never forget this.

Ever.

Our government needs to be more vocal about its stance on xenophobia, and by doing so it will send a message that it will not stand by idly while people from other parts of the continent are constantly under the threat of being attacked.

That said, we as citizens have a voice, and it is morally incumbent on all of us to do our bit so that the scourge of xenophobia is excised from this land.

There is a simmering undercurrent of the possibility of attacks on foreigners as I type these words.

If this is not taken seriously and dealt with, sadly we may see scenes similar to those we witnessed in 2008.

Mayibuye-i-Afrika!

The Struggles Continue!

talkin’ self-loathing blues …

I’ve been walking,
and a-talkin’

ramblin’ & rollin’

through deserted streets flowing with tears

down cobwebbed alleyways reeking of fears

just a-yakkin’ and a-scribblin’ these paltry rhymes

no absolution on sale at this carousel of blood-soaked crimes

just a-screamin’ that my tongue is fractured, broken

penitence perhaps for splintered words spoken

yes just ramblin’ along,

at ease at last

free of the shackles that bind my heart

crawlin’ on stage,
fatigued by this, my well-rehearsed part

dismissing clouds of promise

shredding whispered iloveyous

burning yesteryears struggles

denying my past as nonsensical farce

caught in a rat-trap
the walls closin’ in

tossin’ what’s left of me into fates’ dustbin

talkin’ too much as ever,

scribbling meagre rhymes to quell the mania

flowin’ in my veins like noxious poison

ramblin’ & a-rollin’ along

a doleful dirge for the paths I have chosen

shattering to pieces emotions frigid and a-frozen

just a-trippin’ through this circus parade,

seeking nothing much

‘cept the shelter of the shade

yet the paths wind
casting me adrift

on an ocean of tears
alone and at sea

squinting through blinded eyes that no longer can see

the pain etched on my own face

a wretched immigrant never knowing its place

so I keep ramblin’ and a-rollin’ along

bleeding out from a million cuts

always on the outside lookin’ in

while they dance and drink and cackle and fuck

leaving me to wallow

mired in the muck

so I ramble and roll and stagger through

discarding sentiments that once burned so true

suckling on apathy under skies of plastic blue

squinting through a foggy blur

life sprints past jabbing and a-pokin’

its parting words a venomous slur

whispered in a  sickly sweet cacophonous murmur

I stand alone

a vacuum now fickle
and
hollow

yet

I ramble and roll

searching for a sliver of a moment without desolation

without sorrow

and

as I stagger along as I ramble and follow

the one constant

hope

hope

H O P E

hope for a less savage tomorrow …

(for Pete, Huddie, Woody)

peace | love | uBuntu

For Men Everywhere …

For Men Everywhere …

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

Stop!

Stop the abuse!

Of grand-daughters,
colleagues,
daughters,
girlfriends,
partners,
mothers,
sisters,
nieces,
wives,

all women.

Listen!

Listen to the voices!

Of grand-daughters,
colleagues,
daughters,
girlfriends,
partners,
mothers,
sisters,
nieces,
wives,

all women.

Think!

Think of how you treat,

grand-daughters,
colleagues,
daughters,
girlfriends,
partners,
mothers,
sisters,
nieces,
wives,

all women.

Act!

Act now to change yourself!

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

The violence,
the abuse,
the rape,

stops when you stop,

the violence,
the abuse,
the rape.

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

The violence,
the abuse,
the rape,

is perpetrated by,

grand-fathers,
colleagues,
boyfriends,
husbands,
nephews,
brothers,
partners,
fathers,
uncles,

men,

all men.

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

The violence,
the abuse,
the rape,

stops when us men stop,

The violence,
the abuse,
the rape,

today, now.

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

 

I am reposting this today, the day Anene Booysen will be laid to rest after being brutally raped and murdered.

The funeral service is taking place at the Dutch Reformed Church in Bredasdorp**, Anene’s hometown.

 

Hamba Kahle*, Anene.

 

Hamba Kahle Anene Booysen! (1996 – 2013)

 

Dead at 17, brutally raped and left to die,
in the dirt,

 

at a construction site in Bredasdorp.

 

‘horrific’, ‘repulsed’,
‘brutally raped’, ‘shocked’,

 

do these words mean anything,
to anyone,

anymore.

 

Not to Anene Booysen,

 

murdered at 17, brutally raped and left to die,

in the dirt,

 

at a construction site in Bredasdorp.

 

Anene was raped,
savagely mutilated,

 

Her 17 year old body tossed aside,

 

by the hands of men.

 

Men, always men,

 

cowardly, beastly, perverted, twisted men.

 

‘Beastly’, ‘perverted’, ‘twisted’,

 

do these words mean anything,
to anyone,

anymore.

 

Not to Anene Booysen,

 

who now lies cold and dead.

 

How many Anene Booysens will it take,

 

for us,
society,
families,
people,

 

human-beings,

 

and,

 

men, especially men,

 

to excise the ghastly menace,

 

of the heinous capacity that resides,

 

within men,

 

always men,

 

to brutalise, rape, mutilate, and murder.

 

‘Brutalise’, ‘murder’, ‘rape’,

 

do these words mean anything,
to anyone,

anymore.

 

Not to Anene Booysen,

 

murdered at 17, brutally raped and left,

 

to die,

 

in the dirt,

 

at a construction site,

 

in Bredasdorp.

 

 

Anene Booysen
(1996 – 2013)

 

* – Hamba Kahle – “Farewell, Travel Well” in Zulu

 

** – Bredasdorp is a small town near Cape Town, South Africa

 

 

She died this morning,
her body losing its final battle.

She may have died a long time ago,

and as a man, I can say she died long back.

She died,

a little,
through every humiliation that was ever meted out to her,

from the clutches of hegemonic patriarchy,

camouflaged as culture.

From the snide comments,
about her dressing,

she died this morning,
and yet I hear not a soul confessing.

She’s Dead. Raped. Murdered.

And we the people pass the buck.

To those in power.

To the cops and the politicians and the bureaucrats and the lawmakers.

But we the people,
have sat silently,

for too long.

We the people,
have fostered gender discrimination,

in our homes,
our schools,
our places of worship.

We the people,
are culpable.

We the people are guilty,
of never looking inside,

to face the beast that within us men does so often lurk and hide.

She’s Dead. Raped. Murdered.

By those thuggish savages, yes,

but by our collective inaction,
over the centuries,

as we stood idly by,

and reaped the benefits,
of women, mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces,

being shoved down in religion’s name,
in the name of caste,
of culture,
of tradition.

She’s Dead. Raped. Murdered.

And we cannot avert our shameful eyes.

We are all culpable.

You may disagree but I’ll say it again and again and again.

And again.

I am culpable.

That is true.

We are culpable,

As are those thuggish savages,

those smiling businessman who buy flesh,

those gentle fathers who slip into their daughters beds at night,

those sickening uncles and cousins who molest 5 year olds, and 15 year olds.

Yes,
we are all culpable,

and we must feel shame.

Yes,
we are all culpable,

and we must,

we must all,

take the blame

Violence against Women

(the following had to be written. the savage gang-rape in Delhi, India screams at our collective complicity by our silence and by our inaction)

MAN,
cowardly, brutal,
puffed-up on conceit,
self-assuredly bigoted,
as dead as stone,
stripped of all humaneness,
down to the bone.

MAN,
you kill, molest,
you batter, and you smile,
you smile,
when you hear the bones, the lives, the dignity shatter.

MAN,
you lie, humiliate,
You rape, and you laugh as a complicit society condones your escape.

MAN,
you have escaped,
too many times to say,

‘Man’,
that means you too, brother,
and you too father,
son, lover, singer, farmer, poet, thief, doctor, chef, engineer and the rest of you polite people,

you and your wretched array.

MAN,
stand up and stop the abuse now!

MAN,
your shameful hands need cleansing,

your soiled conscience is reeking,

of your manliness.

MAN,
stand up and stop the abuse!

MAN,
stand up! speak! Act,

for once,
put your testosterone to less harmful use,

lest your dwindlng humanity to the gutter,

you are prepared,

to forever lose

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