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Tag Archives: ANC

the covers are worn
its leather looks frayed
the introduction is over
a new turn is paged

the next chapter begins
and the story unfolds, …again

and of the plot
who can tell?
an adventure delightful
or a horror story from hell?


when hearts and minds are filled with nothing but hatred, revenge and greed
there can be no songs of peace
only the deafening drums of war will be heard
and all who dance to this tune will be struck blind
the charred soil will rise up to meet them
and their mouths will be filled with nothing
except the dust of death

Does he suck his thumb at night when thinking back on the day…
Of the plans and procedures he secretly fudged in so many ways
In fright does he quiver at the pain and mayhem caused
Or does it not even bring even a second of reflective pause
That he filled his own plate and drained his oversized mug
rubbing his huge gut with a full face all smug
While the rest of the many wept silently in pain
For inside they all know it will happen again

The lust for more continues to dull his eyes
And fills his lips with even more filthy lies
So he justifies the abundance of plunder he has seized
Saying “this is just what my country needs”
The few get more and the most get less
And the rest… well it’s all just a godless mess

The once oppressed victim is now the oppressor
The great hero revolutionary is now the slave boss of the lesser
His singing of songs, dancing and casting of spells
Increases in might as it dries out the wells
in the hearts of the people who will queue, longing to be quenched
While it’s increasing poverty and oppression in which they are drenched

But they still seek for their heavenly king to unfold
Who will retell their story with glories untold
Patiently holding hands with ancient tradition
In desperate, blind hope they volunteer…
a suicidal mission

And who will stand up and speak up for the masses oppressed?
The obscenely salaried politicians they say…

…who would have guessed?


– seconds out!

round number: one million, six-hundred and twenty-eleven & three thousand

pop! go the cultures


the crowd are on their feat

suddenly, an unscheduled happening…

lights fail momentarily, but not unexpectedly (that’s the way we roll with Eskom)

the microphone squeals and the commentator takes the first press-ing swing

it’s a stiff jab and it finds its mark – well exceeding the quota system

the self-crowned champion stops in his tracks for a brief moment as if to catch his breath

“hehehehehehe” he chuckles smirkishly

he staggers back and shakes his head

everyone waits,

no one dares to speak

nobody thinks


then suddenly he scrapes his toe like a cleft hoof in the dust

defiantly, he charges…

like a bull…



round after round

objection after objection

rebuttal after rebuttal

head buttal after head buttal

back and forth the battle rages on

the champion stands firm

but – out of the crowd someone shouts

“the champion is falling…”

“the champion must fall!”

but no, he only stumbles for a brief moment

and then staggers

he turns to his corner and fires a few of his ‘seconds’

“he must fall” some spectators shout

“no, he mustn’t” say others


the judges object, …eventually

“we must go according to the rules!”

“what rules? …hehehehehehehe!” says the champion


points are taken away

…and then added on mysteriously


the battle rages on into the night


will cultural tribalism triumph over constitutional democracy

or will it all end in unresolved conflict outside the ring?


[break for advertisement – Big business make their presence felt]


new replacement seconds out!

round number “AGAIN!”


the battle rages on

sweat drips,

runs into blood

(thank God blood is a consumer commodity and easily tax deductible)


the clock ticks on…

years turn into days,

days into centuries

decades turn into decadence

unwritten history rewrites itself



both contestants drop to the canvas

bloodied, exhausted, frustrated

fights break out in the spectator seats




the fighters leave the ring momentarily

while local boxing clubs realign regional constitutions

the janitor shuffles amongst the overturned seats

all that can be heard is the slow swish, swish of his broom


“a point of order! a point of order!”

“the chairs have been unseated”


“when the lights are out its the janitor who is President”

…the sweeper mutters under his breath

a chameleon remains a chameleon
regardless of its colour
though it tries and tries
with all its might
to become like another
we can close our eyes
and clench our teeth
and hold our breath forever
but everybody knows
that culture grows
regardless of the smelly effect
it has on the nose

they speak with forked tongue
cleft of lip
a jump to the right
on a slow sinking ship
it sounds like drunkeness
but is far, far worse,
a snake would be envious
of the hiss of this curse
honey rots
before hitting the floor
no more sweetness is left anymore
bitter tastes on the children’s tongue
but the swines puke on
their bile not yet fully sung
they dance on the graves
of those gone before
they stagger to the trip
it’s the dance of the whore

there once was a blind man who believed he could see

but he couldn’t see you and he refused to see me

so we rallied around and voted him in

and swore allegiance to our new hero and king


he said he’d open our eyes and point us the way

but instead we’ve gone backwards from the very first day

what sounded like truth ended up as a lie

you can’t fill a stomach with pie in the sky


trying hard to make us see what he swore that he could

he said we were running, but instead we just stood

he proclaimed it our day, everything in good time

but the promise was empty as he spun that tired line


so we listened once more and danced to his tune

we built him a castle, ate from his wooden spoon

he gathered us around him like a fat mother hen

and we faithfully voted him in once again


so who is the fool, is it unclear to see?

the idiot our king, or those who believe he can see?


(Pawel Kuczynski)

The whole Brett Murray/The Spear (of-the-nation) disturbance in the media of late, whichever way one views it, clearly reveals the power of the creative arts to effect society and bring people to their feet, perhaps even their knees.

It seems to have  provoked people on all sides of the issue to start thinking, expressing those thoughts, debating, engaging and some arguing passionately, even heatedly as they wrestle with their own perspectives and our shared destiny.

As potentially volatile as this all is in light of our extremely immature and uneducated “democracy” here in South Africa I think it is a most wonderful thing and hopefully it will keep us wondering for many decades to come.

Yet still I feel compelled to ask the question:  Why are there so few “Brett Murray’s”?

Why are so many artists seemingly locked into almost exclusively doing commercial drivel; “ABBA” type pop ‘tributes’ or playing “Piano Man” for a essentially drunken society who demand nostalgic memories, or serving a placatory propaganda type role in corporate settings merely to get a monetary handout?

Where are the real “prophets”?

Awaken and live long you  “Brett Murray” types!

(regardless of what side of the fence you sit, or what we think about what you say)


Maybe the poet is gay
But he’ll be heard anyway

Maybe the poet is drugged
But he won’t stay under the rug

Maybe the voice of the spirit
In which case you’d better hear it

Maybe he’s a woman
Who can touch you where you’re human

Male, female slave or free
Peaceful or disorderly
Maybe you and he will not agree
But you need him to show you new ways to see

Don’t let the system fool you
All it wants to do is rule you
Pay attention to the poet
You need him and you know it

Put him up against the wall
Shoot him up with pentothal

Shoot him up with lead
You won’t call back what’s been said
Put him in the ground
But one day you’ll look around

There’ll be a face you don’t know
Voicing thoughts you’ve heard before

Male, female slave or free
Peaceful or disorderly
Maybe you and he will not agree
But you need him to show you new ways to see

Don’t let the system fool you
All it wants to do is rule you
Pay attention to the poet
You need him and you know it

BRUCE COCKBURN  –  “Maybe The Poet”