Tag Archive: apartheid


my poem below has been published in an anthology of poems by Myesha Jenkins. 

The launch of the book takes place in Johannesburg on Sunday May 28 at The Orbit.

the following poem of mine appears in the book …

Old Sof’town*




1.




In old Sof’town,

the jazz struck chords,


the jazz lived, it exploded,

out of the cramped homes,

rolling along the streets,

of old Kofifi,


in tune to countless blazing heartbeats.


In old Sof’town,

Bra’ Hugh breathed music, Sis’ Dolly too,

and Bra’ Wally penned poems that still ring true.


In old Sof’town,

Father Trevor preached

equality and justice,

for all, black and white and brown,


and all shades, every hue,

even as oppression battered the people,

black & blue.


In old Sof’town,

the fires of resistance raged,


‘we will not move’ was the refrain,


even as the fascists tore down Sof’town,

with volleys of leaden rain.


In old Sof’town,

the people were herded,

like cattle,

sent to Meadowlands,

far away and cold and bleak,

as the seeds of resistance,

sprouted and flourished,

for the coming battle.


In old Sof’town,

the bulldozers razed homes,

splitting the flesh of a community apart,

only to raise a monument of shame,

and ‘Triomf’ was its ghastly name.





2.




In Jozi today,

we remember those days,

and those nights of pain,

that stung our souls.

like bleak winter rain.


Yes, we remember old Sof’town,

as we struggle onward,

to reclaim our deepest heritage,

and build anew,

a country of all hues and shades,

of black and of white and of brown.


And yes, we will always remember,


and yes, we will never forget,


the price that was paid,

by the valiant sons and daughters,

of old Sof’town,


those vibrant African shades and hues,


of black,

of white,

of brown.


              ____________
* Sophiatown was also called ‘Sof’town’ and ‘Kofifi’

            ______________


http://www.sahistory.org.za/place/sophiatown
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophiatown

​a true story …




my mother used tell me this with tears in her eyes.



my mother left South Africa in the 1960’s to join my father who was in political exile at the time in Tanzania. 



in 1970 my father was deployed by the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) to India to be its Chief-Representative there.


I was born in New Delhi a couple of years later in ’72.



my mother and father spent two years in Mumbai (then Bombay).



one afternoon my father fell and broke his leg.



my mother knocked on their neighbour’s door of the apartment complex where they lived. 



the neighbour was an elderly Punjabi lady.



my mother asked the elderly lady for assistance in calling a doctor to see to my injured father. 



a Zoroastrian (Parsi) ‘bone-setter’ was promptly summoned.



my mother and the elderly neighbour got to talking and the lady asked my mother where they were from, as their accents were clearly not local.



my mother told the elderly Punjabi lady that my father worked for the African National Congress of South Africa and had been forced into exile to continue to struggle to raise awareness internationally about the appalling situation in Apartheid South Africa.



my mother also mentioned that they had to leave their two young children (my siblings, whom I met only later in life) behind in South Africa, in the care of grandparents, and that they were now essentially political refugees.



the elderly lady broke down and wept uncontrollably.



she told my mother that she too had to leave their home in Lahore in 1947 and flee to India with only the clothes on their back when the partition of the subcontinent took place and when Pakistan was torn from India and formed, due to narrow religious and sectarian reasons, whose repercussions are felt to this day.



this was also a time when religious violence wreaked havoc, and untold suffering and death for millions of human beings.



the elderly lady then asked my mother what her name was.



‘Zubeida’, but you can call me ‘Zubie’.



the Punjabi woman hugged Zubeida some more, and the two women, seperated by age and geography, by religion and all the things that seek to divide humanity,  wept, for they could understand the pain and trauma of a shared experience.



the elderly Punjabi lady told my mother that she was her ‘sister’ from that day on, and that she too felt the pain of exile after being forced to become refugees, and what being a refugee felt like.



Zubie and her husband Mosie (my father) and the family next door became the closest of friends.



then came the time for Mosie and Zubie to leave for Delhi where the African National Congress (ANC) office was to be officially opened.



the elderly Punjabi lady and Mosie and Zubie said their goodbyes.



a year or two later, the elderly lady’s daughter Lata married Ravi Sethi and the couple moved to Delhi.



the elderly lady telephoned Zubie and told her that her daughter was coming to Delhi to live there, and that she had told Lata, her daughter that she had a ‘sister’ in Delhi, and that she should not feel alone.



Lata and Ravi Sethi then moved to Delhi in the mid-1970’s.



Lata and Zubie became the closest of friends and that bond stayed true, till the both my mother passed away in 2008. 



my father and I still feel a close bond with Lata and Ravi Sethi, and vice versa. 



a bond that was forged between Hindu and Muslim and between two countries of South Africa and of India, shattering the barriers of creed and of time.



a bond strong and resilient, forged by the pain and trauma of a shared experience.



that is why I shall never stop believing that hope shines still, for with so much religious bigotry almost consuming our world today, there will always be a woman, somewhere, anywhere, who would take the ‘other’ in as a sister, and as a fellow human being.



and that is why, I believe, that there will always be hope.



hope in the midst of unbearable pain and hope in the midst of loss and of unspeakable suffering.



hope.
for we can never give up hope for a better world.


never.








(for aunty Lata’s late-mother, my mother’s ‘sister’ and who took us all into her heart, and for Lata and Ravi Sethi of Defence Colony, New Delhi, India)

( apologies but had to rewrite this piece )



the stench of xenophobia …  … …



1.


when rancid racism strikes,

in cocooned fungal minds, narrow, superficially deep,

an insidious venom begins to seep,

into our consciousness as we sleep.




2.



racist beliefs held so true, so deep,

stripped of feeling,

empty, hollow, feigned, designed, branded as compassion,

feeds the conceit in chests swollen and rotten with self-righteous passion.




3.



the racist xenophobia once firmly entrenched,

envelopes all, not unlike a comforting shawl,

needing more and more bluster to fester, and to mutate,

into doctrines of superiority, bigotry, and new fashioned  hate.



4.




are we guilty of succumbing to this virulent plague?

sipping martinis, and shovelling more, always more onto our heaving plates,

falling, slipping into inebriated stasis, without care,

as the stench of hate, prejudice, gay-bashing,

as the proliferation of anti hindu, muslim, christian, buddhist, and anti people of african and arab heritage and anti-indigenous and anti-semitic and misogynistic drivel and xenophobia,


continues to belch into the polluted air.

March 21, 1960 – Sharpeville, South  Africa.

they shot you. in the back.

the oppressors lead tearing into muscled flesh. the flesh of africa.

they massacred you. in sharpeville, in soweto.

today we remember you. we salute you, our valiant compatriots.

but,

do we honour you … … …

reactive indifference … …

grab my super-sized meal, tossing some coins in a jar for the lesser ones,

the lesser ones who are either too lazy or lacking drive and entrepreneurial gumption,

smaller government?

a government that has abrogated its social compact with its citizenry:

social security for the jobless,
homes for the homeless,
dignified and professional medical care for the ill and elderly,

is that too much to ask for, after the billions spent on TV ads and mock debates,

but be warned:

trump may be around this fall.

and oh yes, i most definitely agree –

God help us all!

image

Old Sof’town*

1.

In old Sof’town,
the jazz struck chords,

the jazz lived, it exploded,
out of the cramped homes,
rolling along the streets,
of old Kofifi,

in tune to countless blazing heartbeats.

In old Sof’town,
Bra’ Hugh breathed music, Sis’ Dolly too,
and Bra’ Wally penned poems that still ring true.

In old Sof’town,
Father Trevor preached
equality and justice,
for all, black and white and brown,

and all shades, every hue,
even as oppression battered the people,
black & blue.

In old Sof’town,
the fires of resistance raged,

‘we will not move’ was the refrain,

even as the fascists tore down Sof’town,
with volleys of leaden rain.

In old Sof’town,
the people were herded,
like cattle,
sent to Meadowlands,
far away and cold and bleak,
as the seeds of resistance,
sprouted and flourished,
for the coming battle.

In old Sof’town,
the bulldozers razed homes,
splitting the flesh of a community apart,
only to raise a monument of shame,
and ‘Triomf’ was its ghastly name.

2.

In Jozi today,
we remember those days,
and those nights of pain,
that stung our souls.
like bleak winter rain.

Yes, we remember old Sof’town,
as we struggle onward,
to reclaim our deepest heritage,
and build anew,
a country of all hues and shades,
of black and of white and of brown.

And yes, we will always remember,

and yes, we will never forget,

the price that was paid,
by the valiant sons and daughters,
of old Sof’town,

those vibrant African shades and hues,

of black,
of white,
of brown.

* Sophiatown was also called ‘Sof’town’ and ‘Kofifi’

         __________

http://www.sahistory.org.za/place/sophiatown

image

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophiatown

image

monday reading beckoning

✊✌👍🐹🌻☺

image

weekend reading

👍

🐹

🌻

image

be my valentine ... ?

Valentines Day Redux … … …

ah!

that time of year once more,

the expectations to do this, buy that,

begin to tickle and murmuringly gnaw.

should there be roses, and if so could they all be red,

or fragrant petals strewn all across the bed,

with some catnip on the side, pretty please and with sugar,
and dollops of whipped cream,

for that,
I do know,

would be my cat’s Valentines Day dream … … …

✌✊👍🐹

Buchenwald – 1979

walking towards horror,
my seven year old eyes,

were sewn open on that day at Buchenwald.

the reeking stench of death
was by now,
lost to the winds,

and ahead,

stood Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Never Again!

we have said,
over and over,

and over and over,
but, but,

as Erich Fried* wrote,

it happened,

it is happening now,

and it will go on happening if nothing is done to stop it from ever happening again** …

    ____________________

* Erich Fried 1921 – 1988.

http://allpoetry.com/Erich-Fried

** taken from and inspired by Erich Fried’s poem “What Happens”

http://poetrypill.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-happens.html?m=1

afzaljhb@gmail.com

my maternal grandfather

image

my maternal grandfather

the struggle continues, respected Bajee ✌👍✊

image

sunday evening 31 January 2016

“first they came for the _____” ( Mr. Trump, fill in the blanks )

_______________

then they came for the. ______________

( fill in the blanks, Mr. Trump )

be careful,
the extremists appear to be on the ascendancy,

the brutal murderers of daesh and the neonazi drivel of trump,

so be careful: guard your mind,

never forget,
remember,

always,
always remember:

“first they came for the Communists …”*

* – Pastor Martin Niemoller

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Pete's Banjo

image

Woody

🐹

✌👍✊🌻

image

apologies if already shared 🌻🐹

image

🌻

👍

🐹

image

the queen

image

monday reading

🐹


👍

image

some poetry for the cat 🙂

🐹
👍

💙

🐹

✊✌👍

image

she looks forward to weekend reading ...

May the 10th, 1994

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President Nelson Mandela's Inauguration 1994

Madiba lives …

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