Tag Archive: johannesburg


Johannesburg Blues

from google

Johannesburg Blues …

walking in this city of diamonds,
gold deep beneath my feet,

sleeping under her rainy skies,
embracing my newspaper sheet.

i had a life long ago, a woman too,
now I’m just a huddle of rags,

while the women walk past
never reaching into their Gucci bags.

she left me, or i left myself,
on these bleak Jo’burg roads,

searching for that fix at these desolate crossroads.

now i stand alone,
these empty streets my bed,

my blood soaking the earth
with drops of beaten red.

so i wish you well, friends,
i wish you gold dust amidst the fray,

all of you who walk on and away,

leaving me to beg or borrow,

to get through another Jo’burg day.

from google

rain … … …

​nature rages, lightning streaks the Joburg skies,


rain sweeps down, drenching empty boulevards,


wreaking havoc, oblivious, unfeeling,


as gargantuan monsters often are.

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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

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

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fellow concerteers

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'The Claw' & I (13-2-2011 Jo'burg)

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U2 360 Tour South Africa 2011

for Nelson Mandela and for Dr. Martin Luther King … … … S I N G !

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at Luthuli House, Johannesburg (some years back)

the stuggles continue … …

http://mobi.orlandopiratesfc.com/

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Orlando Pirates FC, Soweto

Hamba Kahle*, Senzo Meyiwa 1987 – 2014.

My Captain is gone.

Shot dead,
in cold blood,

another senseless killing,
another son of the soil snatched away from us,

leaving us empty,
cold,
desolate.

My Captain is gone.
shot and killed,

my Captain is gone,
leaving a void,

that can never be filled!

Hamba Kahle, my Captain!
Hamba Kahle, Senzo Meyiwa!

May your soul rest in eternal peace.

               ___________

* – ‘Hamba Kahle’ – lit. – Travel Well, an isiXhosa expression, used especially to bid farewell to a person who has passed away.

        _________________

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From News24:

Cape Town – Senzo Meyiwa, who was tragically shot dead on Sunday evening, began his football career as a striker for hometown club London Cosmos in Umlazi, Durban in the 1990s.

He soon converted to the goalkeeper position and went on to represent KwaZulu-Natal in the Transnet Under-14 and Coca-Cola Under-17 Inter-Provincial tournaments in 2000 as a 13-year-old. His performances caught the eye of Orlando Pirates scouts, who brought him to the club’s development programme.

After making impressive progress through the youth levels, Meyiwa made his official debut for Orlando Pirates in a 2-1 win over AmaZulu on November 8, 2006.

He was an important part of the Pirates squad that won a famous ‘Double Treble’ in 2010/11 and 2011/12, claiming two MTN8 titles, two Absa Premiership titles, the Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup.

In 2013 Meyiwa’s career took a dramatic upswing, as he reclaimed the number one position at Orlando Pirates and was the team’s best player on their epic run to the final of the CAF Champions League, with his heroic performance in the away leg of the second round tie against DR Congo’s TP Mazembe particularly memorable.

He also made his Bafana Bafana debut, coming on as a substitute for Wayne Sandilands at half-time of a 2-0 friendly win over Lesotho in Maseru on June 2, 2013.

In 2014 the goalkeeper continued his rise to prominence, helping Orlando Pirates win the 2014 Nedbank Cup before taking advantage of the injury-enforced absence of close friend and goalkeeping rival Itumeleng Khune to be Bafana Bafana’s first choice goalkeeper for their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches in September and October.

Meyiwa was not only the first choice goalkeeper, but also handed the captain’s armband by new coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba. Inspired by the honour, the Pirates goalkeeper kept four successive clean sheets as South Africa claimed top spot on the standings after four matches and put themselves within touching distance of qualification for the 2015 AFCON.

Meyiwa’s last professional appearance was on Saturday, October 25 at Orlando Stadium as he helped the Buccaneers to a 4-1 victory over Ajax Cape Town in a Telkom Knockout quarter-final.

He was aged 27 years and 32 days upon his death on October 26 in Vosloorus.

Senzo Meyiwa factfile:

Born: September 24, 1987

Place of birth: Umlazi, Durban

Position: Goalkeeper

Former clubs: Orlando Pirates juniors and Yebo Yes United (Pirates reserve team)

Orlando Pirates debut: November 8, 2006, Orlando Pirates 2-1 AmaZulu

Orlando Pirates starts: 157

International honours: Former South Africa U-17, U-20 & U-23 international; 7 Bafana Bafana caps (6 starts, 1 sub)

Bafana Bafana debut: June 2, 2013, Lesotho 0 South Africa 2

Honours: 2010 & 2011 MTN8 winner; 2011 & 2012 Absa Premiership winner; 2011 & 2014 Nedbank Cup winner; 2013 CAF Champions League runner-up

http://www.orlandopiratesfc.com/default.asp?aId=3068134

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i am scared, because a Jo'burg thunderstorm is raging

she needs some Carl Sagan, during a Jo’burg rainstorm … … … 🐹✌

for more on ‘The Demon-Haunted World’ by Carl Sagan:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle/dp/0345409469

A Poem for Jawaharlal Nehru

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Pandit-Ji*

1.

The moon cast an enveloping shadow over the teeming multitudes,

as they made their tryst with destiny**,

with you as the bearer of the light,

and at the stroke of the midnight hour,

you emerged an icon, from the long and desolate night.

Long years had passed,
since those humid evenings spent,
languishing in jail,

yet your mind remained unshackled,
putting words on paper in the dim candlelight,

as the gaudy glare of empire began to pale.

2.

Today,
you live,

within us,
though not amongst us,

and,

your discovery,
your glimpses,

smoulder within me,

your immortal words,
my compass.

I am now,
the soul of nations,
once suppressed,

that have,
found utterance.

I am now,
me.

I am now,
finally,

free.

       _________________

* – ‘Pandit-Ji’ was the name that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, was respectfully called.

** – excerpts from Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech on 15th August 1947

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scabbards

scabbards.

1.

aren’t we all,
at the heart of it all,

just scabbards.

mere,
just,

vessels,
into which,

we pour
our hope, love, fear,
desire, prejudice, anger,

scabbards all,
right at the heart of it all,

filled to the hilt,

brimming with jingoistic murderousness,

bloated on bigoted hair-trigger rage,

primed,
ready to slay,

in the name of something someone,

some entity deity belief oldage, newagey, or thought-up yesterday,

sounding needlingly familiar,

a few words,
names,
hearsay,

primed,
coded,

prepped to slay,
itching to strike,

that
first blow,

shock & awe!

drawing first blood,

drop by drop,
bleeding out,

blood spilled,
again, and again.

2.

the colour of the bloody rivers in flood:

red.

red to the hilt,
brimming the scabbards,

scabbards,

mere,

and finally,
just maybe,

perhaps,

just.

double-helixed uBuntu

double-helixed uBuntu …

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these interwoven veins

dna
double-helixed

microscopically
binding

me
you

us
all

through
this common
shared
truth:

‘I am because you are’*

all of us
together
as one

me
you …

… uBuntu*

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* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

walking through the crowd …

alone
not lonely

traversing oceans
skipping mountains

tugged by beckoning smiles

absorbed along
endless miles

seeking strands of hope
loosely strung

untying the noose
where desolation once hung

while
scribbling verses unfathomably obtuse

discarding meter and rhyme

frantically
chasing ever-fleeing time

knowing
my moulting skin
is all that i have to lose

while still
walking through the crowd

alone
not lonely

an outsider

always
seeking peace
within

ever hopeful
of gentler days

when
healing may begin

soothing the soul

casting off leaden  weight

of so much that has in tne past,

past

The African Rains …

The African Rains …

Soaking,
the rains settle,
meandering over jagged faultlines of our memory.

Drenching,
the rains settle,
streaming through veins,

the thud-thudding of the heartbeat of Africa.

Absorbing,
the rains that settle,
within each of us,

herald rebirth.

And,
if you listen,

if you strain to hear,
while shedding the raucous noise of your inner turmoil.

If you listen,

the whispers of the ancestors,

speak to us all,
lending us warmth,
urging us to stand,

even though we may
stumble,

even though we may fall.

a shared mosaic

a shared mosaic.

threads
intertwined
bind

him
her
you

&

i

together.

earthy
shades
colours

hues
fuse

him
her
you

&

i

together.

one mosaic

one world
one race

human …

him
her
you

&

i

together …

uBuntu = humanity

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uBuntu = humanity

all roots
alive

weaving intricate veins

over our shared
common plains

feeding tributaries
slipping over streams

all so

one sea
one world
one earth
us all

may be fed

like our shared blood

for
the river feeding us

all of us

the river ebbing and flowing through our veins

etching tributaries within all of us

is of one colour

it is

all of it …

red.

  ____________________

uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

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What is uBuntu?

uBuntu …

every seashell

ever silenced
emptied

lost to the tide

shares the desolation

of
each leaf
of
every tree

that ever fell …

_____________________

uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

uBuntu …

every spent shell
ever silenced
emptied

lost to the tide

shares the desolation

of
each leaf

of
every tree

that ever fell …

10-4

alive …

lashed against jagged truths

plumbing the depths of hollow emotions

straining to hear
your voice calling me back

aching to taste
your breath scalding my lips

pining to feel
forgotten whispers murmured

swirling around
the rapids

gasping for air

nursing a simple dream
nothing grandiose

to feel
once more

alive.

alive …

no blue monday for you

no blue monday for you

when tears moisten your eyes
and the horizons seem leaden
weighed down by grey skies

when
everyone
everything

suffocates
and life seems like a sad circus
a comical convergence of fates

may you always
always

pause …
to
remember …

that
you are human too

and
that
you feel

deep in your marrow
your entire being through

the sting of griefs fire
and
the ache of unquenched desire

felt
deep

felt true
within you

yesteryears whispers …

yesteryears whispers,
murmured promises,

ashen hopes,
scattered amidst the detritus,

of a life wasted away,
stumbling out of one and into another hazy day,

even though my heart still blazes,

my soul aflame,
my spirit revived,

burning bright,

dispelling trepidation,
regretful pained memories,

to be left behind,
at long last,

surrendered to departing night …

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My poem “Remember us when you pass this way” at the historic Lileasleaf Farm Museum in Rivonia, Johannesburg.

Please visit:
http://www.liliesleaf.co.za/

More about Lileasleaf Farm:

A PLACE OF LIBERATION
Tucked away in the leafy suburb of Rivonia, Johannesburg is Liliesleaf. Once the nerve centre of the liberation movement and a place of refuge for its leaders, today Liliesleaf is one of South Africa’s foremost, award-winning heritage sites, where the journey to democracy in South Africa is honoured.

Liliesleaf has always been a place of dialogue. In the early 1960s, when the property was the headquarters for covert, underground activities and a safe house for many leading figures of the liberation movement, debates on political and military policy and strategy were commonplace. People from diverse backgrounds but with a common vision met here to discuss South Africa’s emancipation from an oppressive apartheid regime. Today Liliesleaf is a repository for those conversations, and a place where the fruits of a free and equal South Africa are recounted and celebrated.

On 11 July 1963, a dramatic police raid took place at Liliesleaf. Concealed inside a laundry van, a number of security branch policemen made their way down a long, dusty driveway. Members of the MK high command were meeting to discuss a contested strategy to overthrow the government. The raid took them completely by surprise. In the search that followed, the police combed every square centimetre of the property, and collected masses of liberation struggle documents. The security police proclaimed that they had ‘hit the jackpot’.

For the apartheid government, the event was a coup. For the liberation movement, it was a crippling blow. Comrades Bernstein, Goldberg, Goldreich, Hepple, Kathrada, Mbeki, Mhlaba and Sisulu were detained. The farm labourers, who were oblivious of the true purpose of Liliesleaf, were also rounded up and taken into police custody. At this stage no one knew what would happen to them. Following the raid, they were joined by Nelson Mandela, who at the time of the raid was serving a five year prison sentence, as well as Andrew Mlangeni and Elias Motsoaledi, fellow comrades who had been arrested prior to the raid.

A dramatic series of events played out in the months after the raid: a gripping jailbreak, the arrest of an unsuspecting and innocent bystander, and much speculation about the identity of the source who had exposed Liliesleaf. Was it an ANC informer, a neighbour, or a foreign intelligence agency?

Denis Goldberg, social campaigner and former Rivonia Trialist. Goldberg was arrested at Liliesleaf in 1963. “This is the significance of Rivonia, that this is the place where the transition from petitioning, the early history of the ANC and the liberation movement, to mass action and the defiance of unjust laws campaign… we were talking about a transition to a new form of struggle… Rivonia, Liliesleaf Farm, is an icon of that struggle for freedom.”

Following the raid, the core leadership of the ANC and MK were charged with sabotage. The subsequent trial, known as the Rivonia Trial, would change the course of South African history. The apartheid state aimed to use the nine-month long trial as a platform to discredit the liberation movement and their resistance strategies, and to position the trialists as malicious terrorists intent on overthrowing the apartheid government by violent means. The prosecution duly asked for the death penalty. However, the trialists and their dedicated defence counsel, led by Bram Fischer, in effect used the opportunity to put the apartheid government on trial.

On 12 June 1964 Justice Quartus de Wet announced the verdict to a packed courtroom. The local press, international reporters and correspondents eagerly waited for the sentence to be handed down. When the penalty of life imprisonment was declared for the majority of the accused, South Africa’s struggle for democracy was catapulted onto the international stage.

Arthur Chaskalson, former President of the Constitutional Court of South Africa (1994-2001) and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Africa (2001-2005). “We need to record our history,… to heed the lessons of the past, [least] we slip back into practices that contradict the ideals that underpinned the struggle for freedom and justice in our country.”

We invite you to visit Liliesleaf for a journey of enlightenment and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of the South African liberation struggle.

http://www.liliesleaf.co.za

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