Tag Archive: xenophobia


Mandela Day, 18th July

Mandela Day
18th July 2017.

the great plains of Africa echo your name, you live in our souls, a radiant flame.

the notions of racial superiority quake in your shadow, in the teeming cities, in the rural meadow.

you had an ideal for which you were prepared to die, you banished the clouds of oppression, revealing freedom’s unfettered sky.

your courage as you spent twenty-seven years in Apartheid dungeons, was unshakeable, even as you bore the brutality of tyrannical truncheons.

your comrades and you turned Robben Island into a university of freedom, of hope, even as you were shackled by iron and rope.

your indomitable spirit reached far and wide, across the great lands and over the vast seas, infusing freedom-loving people with the strength to fight, against that festering sore, the scourge of Apartheid, with all their collective might.

and when that day came when you walked under the South African sun, tall, proud and free, we ululated, we danced, we cried tears of joy, for at long last the dawn of liberation we could finally see.

and still your battles were far from over, as you steered our teetering country away from the abyss, the violence of Apartheid so brutal in its death throes, your message of forgiveness, of reconciliation spread as far as the wind blows.

those were harsh times indeed, our beloved South Africa on the precipice of civil war, the stench of blood on the breeze, yet you remained firm, urging us to throw our weapons into the waters of our seas.

then dawned the 27th of April in 1994, when all of our peoples queued to vote, democratically and peacefully, to realise the ideals and principles you and your comrades and countless, nameless others, fought, sacrificed, and died for.

and on the 10th day of May a couple of weeks later, you became our President, our Commander-in-Chief, as the yoke of hegemony was cast off, after all the pain, the suffering, the savagery, and the grief.

your principles never wavered, you did not to the powerful bow, you remained steadfast in your dream of a better society for all, you taught us to rise up again, to stand upright, after many a fall.

your humanity, your conscience became a part of the wind, your message, your dedication to the human cause, inspired numberless more, breaking the latches of racism on many a shut door.

you were our Madiba, our father, our beacon of truth, your message imbibed by so many, the aged and the youth.

then came that sorrowful day when you passed away, and to the welcoming arms of our ancestors you made your way.

we cried, we sobbed, our world convulsed, having lost you as you no longer walked amongst us in flesh and in bone, yet your example, your life entire, became a lesson set in stone.

today we fight newer battles, the enemy not so apparent, not so clear, corrupt in words and in deed, we see the scurrying for power and for greed.

we see our beloved rainbow nation fracturing, your dreams of economic and social justice diluted by avarice, and not by need.

but still we cherish and strive and fight on, todays battlefields less easily defined, the enemy often within us, and harder to find.

still your revolutionary spirit, your unwavering belief in equality for all, your principled struggle never expedient, but for what was, for all, true and right,

it is still that undying spirit of yours that compels us to never rest, to never give up the just fight.

Viva Nelson Mandela Viva!

Mayibuye-i-Afrika!

Amandla! ngAwethu!

All Power to the People!

The Struggles Continue …

with President Nelson Mandela. Johannesburg 2008.

__________

http://www.anc.org.za/content/nelson-mandela

xenophobia 

​in the belly of xenophobia.

when you see them,

passing by your pretty green avenues,


grab your garden rake,

stone the encroaching horde,


they take our jobs,

they marry our women,



put them all

to the sword,


“bloody foreigners”


“wetbacks”


“nigger”



leeching off our taxes,

stinking up the neighborhood,


send them all home,

or better still,

build walls,


seal the borders,

and don’t allow “them” into our fair country,


seek them out in every street,


in every bar

and finish them off

one by one


finish and klaar,


and rest assured,


if not that,

then atleast fuhrer trump and all his cash,


will find you as many  scapegoats you wish to gleefully bash

​the immigrant at home



fatigued

pained


cast adrift

shunned aside


living

existing

on

islands of despair


deprivation

death


human beings

you and i



who just yesterday

or perhaps many lives ago

 

were

hounded

persecuted

jailed


cursed

spat on


rendered

alien at home


and

then


lost at sea


mere cattle

to be hauled


onto desolate cages


mere cargo

in the

economics of flesh



and

who

now


are

everywhere


cursed

spat on



and

told


to go home 

( for all humans beings living under the yoke of tyranny, occupation, oppression, injustice … and for those who continue to survive and to hope … and to the memory of those who are no longer with us )

Yoda’s advice to Trump et al

Yoda’s unsolicited advice to the Trump and the Republicans:

image

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
  
       ______________

may the ‘leaders’ heed the little green Jedi’s words.

the cycle of hate …

the cycle of hate …

reeking of venom,
soaked in the stench of rage,

still, silent, prowling,

lying in wait, to pounce,
maul, go for the jugular,
snap, sink teeth into,

then, of course,

allow the hapless prey to bleed out, then consume,

and naturally,
expel …

to be continued … … …

Humanity ?

Us men,
almost always,
men,

myopic, impotent men,

our manliness oozing, seeping,
dripping,
soaking,

in swathes of red,
scarlet blood on infant skin,

hardened,
caked,
dried on cold, dead flesh.

Who am i,
a man,

myopic, impotent,

my swagger puffed on conceit,

my country right or wrong,
my god not yours,
my culture your caste,
tribe, sect, ideology … … …

Who am i ?

a man ?
knitted into,
shared humanity ?

Perhaps ’tis time,
to let this rotten, festering,
glossy, botoxed, tucked, trimmed, diseased skin,

moult,

laying stark this sham,
this theatre,

these lies, the maggots burrowing deep,

into man,

chiselling, smashing,
beheading, hanging,
shooting, bombing, drone-ing, killing, raping, torturing, killing, killing, killing,

excising man,
ripping man out of humanity.

Yes,
i am man.

memories: Exile & Home

Mrs. Agnes Msimang,
ANC Stalwart and mother to countless South African exiles, during the struggle against Apartheid tyranny.

Long Live the Spirit of The Women!

Now that You have touched a Woman, You have struck a Rock!

Amandla!
All Power to the People!

( the photograph below was taken at Luthuli House, Johannesburg recently )

image

the photograph below was taken in Delhi, India, sometime in the mid 1970s

image

The Women

(for the countless women, names unknown, who bore the brunt of Apartheid, and who fought the racist system at great cost to themselves and their families, and for my mother, Zubeida Moolla)

Pregnant, your husband on the run,
your daughter, a child, a few years old,

they hauled you in, these brutish men,
into the bowels of Apartheid’s racist hell.

They wanted information, you gave them nothing,
these savage men, who skin happened to be lighter,

and white was right in South Africa back then,

but, you did not cower, you stood resolute,

you, my mother, faced them down, their power,
their ‘racial superiority’, their taunts, their threats.

You, my mother, would not, could not break,

You stood firm, you stood tall.

You, like the countless mothers did not break, did not fall.

You told me many things, of the pains, the struggles,

the scraping for scraps, the desolation of separation
from your beloved Tasneem and your beloved Azad,

my elder sister and brother, whom I could not grow
up with, your beloved children separated by time, by place,

by monstrous Apartheid, by brutish men,
whose skin just happened to be lighter.

You told me many things, as I grew older,
of the years in exile, of the winters that grew ever colder.

You were a fighter, for a just cause,
like countless other South African women,

you sacrificed much, you suffered the pangs,
of memories that cut into your bone, your marrow,

you resisted a system, an ideology, brutal and callous and narrow.

Yes, you lived to see freedom arrive, yet you suffered still,
a family torn apart, and struggling to rebuild a life,

all the while, nursing a void, that nothing could ever fill.

I salute you, mother, as I salute the nameless mothers,

the countless sisters, daughters, women of this land,
who fought, sacrificing it all for taking a moral stand.

I salute you, my mother, and though you have passed,
your body interred in your beloved South African soil,

you shall remain, within me, an ever-present reminder,

of the cost of freedom, the struggles, the hunger, the toil.

I salute you!

(for the brave women of South Africa, of all colours,
who fought against racial discrimination and Apartheid)

meagre scribbles

broken wings, shattered,
hugging the frigid ground,

emotions scampering,
flitting between smiles and tears,

peaking crests, plunging into valleys,

of loss, of fear,
of future unclear,

of that,
of this,

often pain,

and,
sometimes,
sometimes,

a shard of,
bliss.

there shall not be peace …

as hunger rumbles,
desolation stalks,

poverty numbs,
apathy dumbs,

there shall be no peace,

until hungry mouths are fed,
till poverty slithers away,

back into the coffers that prey,

the greedy upon the needy,

this is how it has always been,
is this how it shall always be …

untitled

and when this shroud,
the skin we moult,

traversing eons, sipping kisses, lapping tongues,
mingled meadows of scarlet red,

the standard waves amidst,

the smoke, the swollen pollen, detritus of ills-scarcely-forgotten,

to flutter on the ramparts,
aloft, again,

for the pot simmers,
and the light of hope glimmers.

capitalism 101

capitalism 101

when it breaks,
shatters,

rendering souls mute,
hearts in tatters,

does it bother you at all,
that for you to rise,

so many must fall.

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.

the glitterati

the glitterati feast,

neatly,
dismembered spirits,

salving consciences,
bidding to
purchase redemption,

for continuing crimes,
that don’t make the headlines,

business as usual,

the glitterati,
lost in a fine-wine haze,

sparkling carats dazzling,

leaving the dregs behind,

as the
blindness slowly slithers,
sinking talons,
gnawing at the bone,

while the sweaty, bloody,
the pained,
lost,
the far, far too many

batter and shatter,
hacking away,

deep beneath our gleaming golden city

for pieces of glittering stone

lost, i am …

lost, i am …

i am lost,
have been for quite a while,

cast aside,
tossed,
amongst the rubble,
of those of us who didn’t work hard enough,

study as much,

slog and strain like the good people i see,

walking past me,
everyday,

thinking to myself,
where did i go wrong,

was i not as strong,
as the good people i see,

who walk past me,

feigning ignorance,
or maybe not,

perhaps just not being able to see,

my tattered rags,
my blistered mouth,
my feet, bruised and scabbed,

my soul, my dignity,
savaged, and stabbed,

so i am lost,
in this ocean of humanity,

that walks past me,
everyday,

and it still gnaws, i have to say,

after all these years,
having shed my quota of tears,

it is i,
who embodies these good peoples fears,

why,
i still ask,

why don’t you see me?

the other half

the other half.

dregs, urchins,
the unwashed,

people,
almost, though not quite …

epithets pummel the pummelled,

elements torment the tormented,

hate, mistrust,
conceit, greed,

yours and mine,

fuels:

the diesel of hate,
the anthracite of apathy,
the hybrid greed:

as the beast of indifference gouges,

for the beast has needs,

it hungers,
it scavenges,

it continues,
evermore,

to feed.

fleas

sweltering,
trapped,

saltwater all around,
fleeing death,

surviving death on the seas,

to be greeted,

as fleas.

tripped

tripped,
brought to ones knees,

fleeing beds of nails,
shrapnel pockmarked dreams,

crossing deserted seas,
swallowed up,
regurgitated by merciless elements,

to be washed ashore,
dead,
cold,

broken,
lifeless,

on countless,
pristine tan-soaked beaches,

invisible,
unseen,
hidden in plain sight,

mute,
hushed,
silent,

as the soul of dumbed down,
traded,
inebriated humanity,

bellows,
howls,

and screeches.

image

The Immigrants Void – Sculpture by Bruno Catalano

image

http://brunocatalano.com/sculpture-bronze2/sculpture-en-bronze-bruno-catalano.php?galerie=1

young refugee

an immigrants lament …

image

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!

it is just that
my little wings,

are my tired
little feet …

        _____________

(photograph of a Danish border guard playing with a Syrian girl)

seeds

image

seeds …

swept up
by the dust

scattered remnants
of lives once whole

now
buried
interred

in cold dead dry ground.

image

seeds
swept up
by the dust

seeking a glimmer

of hope
of the promise

of
a better tomorrow.

seeds
swept up
by the dust

sinking roots
hoping to belong

somewhere
anywhere

fatigued
spent

waiting
hoping

for days
moments
tomorrows

a
time
&
a
place

where one
need not

be
ever smiling

and to be
always strong

image

“am i buggin’ ya, don’t mean to bug ya” *

isn’t it tiresome
exhausting

to keep on
keepin’ on
hearing
seeing

bad news

all day
all night

must become irksome
to say the least …

(pure horror) not another mass ISIS execution

(pity) not another image of death on a beach

(apartheitude) not another african-american killed by the police

(pure unadulterated pity/well-meaning) not another endangered animal killed by trophy hunters in the savannah …

ad nauseum
ad infinitum

( clicks ‘like’👍 on a friend’s post

a cutesie pic of a couple walking on a beautiful beach, on a perfect summer day

somewhere in the mediterranean )

     _______

* from ‘silver and gold’ off u2 album ‘rattle & hum’

the immigrant at home …

the immigrant at home

image

fatigued
pained

cast adrift
shunned aside

living
existing
on
islands of despair

deprivation
death

human beings
you and i

who just yesterday
or perhaps many lives ago

were
hounded
persecuted
jailed

cursed
spat on

rendered
alien at home

and
then

lost at sea

mere cattle
to be hauled

onto desolate cages

mere cargo
in the
economics of flesh

and
who
now

are
everywhere

cursed
spat on

and
told

to go home

image

silence swells
drowning out the ceaseless chitter-chatter of days

innumerable
lost somewhere along these pathways

and having walked upon a few

and
crawled many more

i too
feel

that feeling

of feeling
bereft of hope

ah but

sprinkle some dreams coated with lies

glazed over
empty hollowed eyes

avert your sight
when they
stare at you

all cold
and
washed-up
and
dead

their
cold gaze

questioning
perhaps?

… questioning
us who feign death

on many a similar sun-drenched beach

while still squeezing in

4 hours a week
of community outreach?

image

lost in this ocean
of complicit howls

wails
hollow words
crocodile tears

it has no meaning
this life

these breaths we consume

nothingness
it is

just
half-muttered realpolitik …

one dead kid on a beach

… so that’s what it takes

more effigies
paraded on 24/7 TV

go look up the word ‘blowback’

and perhaps

unlike aylan
who was fed to the sea

you atleast

may
finally be
able to see

what really is
and not simply what you want it to be …

when tides of innocence wash up

dead
cold

empty on terra firma

why don’t i shudder
why don’t i care

‘cept for churning out some paltry scribbles

as the charade continues

as the world

salivates
& dribbles …

image

maropeng & the cradle of humankind* …

shared hopes
on
bloodied earth
of
common dreams

winding along myriad streams
whose
source is here
beneath our multi-hued feet

flowing
into a shared humanity
this shawl that should encompass us all
by
binding us together
a species with blood that is red
always red

for
we are all

the children of Africa

branched off
spread wide

but
of this soil
and
of this earth

foreign to none
hewn as one

so tell me again
what was it that
you were saying about “the bloody foreigners”

        ___________

*

Maropeng is a Setswana word meaning ‘returning to the place of our origins’

https://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.southafrica.net/articles/entry/article-the-cradle-of-humankind-gauteng1&ved=0CLMBEBYwH2oVChMI9rmAuazexwIVR4kaCh2uWQuy&usg=AFQjCNHs2O4mPw5TG94YGxFA4EBjPJlnPA

bloody foreigners …

bloody foreigners …

these bloody foreigners

zimbabweans
somalis
angolans mozambicans syrians
pakistanis
turks
congolese
rwandans
indians

etc etc etc et al.

these bloody foreigners
flooding our clean streets

taking jobs away
from me and from you

ps: aylan kurdi was a bloody foreigner too

the migrant …

image

i couldn’t bid my beloved farewell

i didn’t hug my mother

i had argued with my father that morning

then

i left
fled
crouched
starved

and
died

in a lorry in austria

a boat off the coast of libya

washed ashore
cold and dead

i am that migrant

image

an immigrants lament …

image

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 …

image

The Immigrant …

Seeking solace.
Seeking a home.

The immigrant finds,

rotten prejudice.
Fungal anger.

The immigrant,

alone, hoping for,

A solitary chance.

To belong.

The immigrant,
alone, always,

an outside entity.
Eternal outcast.

A viral threat.
A reeking odour.

The immigrant,

ever alone,
and alone knowing,
that no place exists,
but that lost home.

immigrant song

are we broken by spoken barbs spewing out of sewers cloaked beneath acceptable garbs while the blades of splintered humanity are sharpened into lethal shards of ‘my country right or wrong’ under the comfortable charade of clinging onto feigned piety dragged along weaving new lies obfuscating what’s right and what’s wrong waving flags like swords wielding swords to behead and to subjugate the many who’ve forever been on the wrong side of the gate shut out of the dream pummelled by untruths of working hard and doing more and shutting up because we need the money the greenback the notes the coins the oil the designer innerwear that barely shrouds the stench of putrid opulence of festering greed of capital and influence and power ripping out each seed by the by wishing a better life for all a hasty goodbye because when love and life and hopes and dreams and aspirations and desires and aches and yearning for something better just a bit better not much not much at all except for some grain for the famished and respite for the numberless banished cast away into the currents of the seas swept along islands of stillness breaking ashore with the waves of happenstance.

so yes
yes

“that’s how i got to be here”, the immigrant says …

walking through the crowd …

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 …

the immigrant at home

the immigrant at home

fatigued
pained

cast adrift
shunned aside

living
existing
on
islands of despair

deprivation
death

human beings
you and i

who just yesterday
or perhaps many lives ago

were
hounded
persecuted
jailed

cursed
spat on

rendered
alien at home

and
then

lost at sea

mere cattle
to be hauled

onto desolate cages

mere cargo
in the
economics of flesh

and
who
now

are
everywhere

cursed
spat on

and
told

to go home

in the belly of xenophobia …

in the belly of xenophobia …

when you see them
passing by your pretty green avenues

grab your garden rake
stone the encroaching horde

they take our jobs
they marry our women

put them all
to the sword

bloody foreigners

leeching off our taxes
stinking up the neighborhood

send them all home

seek them out in every street

in every bar

and finish them off
one by one

finish and klaar

We forget …


We forget the newly independent Tanzania, Zambia, and other ‘Front line States’ in the struggle against Apartheid tyranny.

We forget the burdens they shouldered as they embodied the very essence of that very humane of philosophies – uBuntu – I am because we are.

We forget the Apartheid foe foment civil-wars in Mozambique by incubating Renamo as a counter-revolutionary force against Frelimo.

We forget Unita in Angola battling the MPLA.

We forget Koevoet in Namibia fighting SWAPO.

We forget The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale.

We forget The Wankie Campaign.

We forget …

We forget much.

The Death of Emmanuel Sithole

rivers of tears a-flowin’ down human cheeks falling like machetes

onto blood-drenched streets of brittle consciences

inured numbed dumbed bought co-opted

digested in the belly of the beast of belched whiskey and puffed cigars

rising like smoke from chimneys and those crematoria of not-so long ago

grinding down wearing thin corroding at the soul of what is supposed to make us human

while we barrel ever onwards towards that final resting place

where impaled humanity slinks away to cower apathetically

to regurgitate to ravenously scavenge in the bowls of the blind stitching

our eyes shut as the tears flow as blood down the street

where Emmanuel Sithole was killed

by me you them us.

all of us!

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!

The Social Chameleon

The Chameleon

1.

strange creature
blends-in
or at least tries to

could be seen as deceptive
stealthy

alas the chameleon cannot resist

its hardcoded genetic imprints make it so

2.

‘The Social Chameleon’

laughing
wandering

trying to fit in

always

harder
craving acceptance
wanting to belong

somewhere at least

so please take a minute
&

think about this for a while …

grow up someplace
then leave

start someplace else
then leave

start someplace else
then leave

start someplace else
then leave

start someplace else
which happens to be here

now
where the social chameleon is presently

starting someplace else …

Ps: “The Social Chameleon” also goes by the label

though often an epithet

‘immigrant’

            ______

(inspired by the poem “The Good Immigrant” by Maria Jastrzębska)

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 chucked 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, 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!

peace | love | uBuntu

for Pete, Huddie, & for Woody

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

21st Century Lynching

Gone are the white masks and sheets,

today the KKK struts in plain sight,

on nameless blood-soaked streets.

The past still lives,
breathes,

spewing hate,

stereotyping and profiling and generalising,

‘the Nigger deserved it’,

they still say,

as they continue to hate,

and to slay.

Justice is blind,
we are so often told,

but it’s deaf,
and mute,

and can be,
and is,
bought and sold,

just as they once,

traded,
bought,
sold,
flogged,
whipped,
lynched,

and raped human-beings,

and just as each of those human-beings of colour was called a slave,

today, in the 21st century,

a person of colour,

still better ‘know’ his or her ‘place’,

or face the racist murderers’ hate,

and be shot down,
and be clubbed
and be beaten,

to an early, shallow grave

peace | love | uBuntu

on Xenophobia – a Rant

On Xenophobia…

‘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 chucked 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, 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!

On Xenophobia …

On Xenophobia…

‘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 chucked 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, 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 Immigrant …

Seeking solace.
Seeking a home.

The immigrant finds,

rotten prejudice.
Fungal anger.

The immigrant,

alone, hoping for,

A solitary chance.

To belong.

The immigrant,
alone, always,

an outside entity.
Eternal outcast.

A viral threat.
A reeking odour.

The immigrant,

ever alone,
and alone knowing,
that no place exists,
but that lost home.

Mido Macia 1986 – 2013

Mido Macia 1986 – 2013

Mido Macia was a 27 year old Mozambican man, working in Daveyton near Johannesburg as a taxi-driver, who was found dead in a police cell, after police savagely dragged Mr. Macia whom they had tied to their police van.

The brutal incident of Mr. Macia being dragged was caught on camera and has shocked South Africa.

The 8 police officers involved are facing charges of murder, and have been suspended from the South African Police Service (SAPS).

This poem is an angry poem that I felt had to be written, because as a society, we need to ask ourselves and each other the hardest questions about xenophobia and intolerance and violence.

Mido Macia 1986 – 2013

Death came to Mido Macia,
a savage, brutal, hellish death came to Mido Macia.

Death came to Mido Macia,
death dressed-up in the colours of authority,
as callous, vile, sadistic policemen murdered Mido Macia.

The video-footage is blood-curdling,
Mido Macia being dragged,
his hands tied behind him,
to a police van.

But death came later to Mido Macia,
death cheered, clapped, and tore into Mido Macia.

Death came to Mido Macia,
in the cells where they murdered Mido Macia.

Death came to Mido Macia,
a fuelled, cheered-on, instigated death came to Mido Macia.

We are all culpable,
every one of us is culpable,

from racist ‘jokes’ emailed and texted,
to self-righteous comments about the ‘foreigners’,

from casual dinner-table conversations,

‘they take our jobs’,
‘they are crooks’
the ‘they marry our women’ kind of lunch-time chats,

racist, xenophobic, hate-filled talk,

to beating a human-being to death in a police cell,

or on the streets of Cape Town, Johannesburg ,

and in Daveyton,

where death came to Mido Macia.

Mido Macia 1986 – 2013

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