For Sizwe Vilakazi
ROBBEN ISLAND, CAPE TOWN
Except when the Atlantic fog surprises,
from high ground in the city the island
is present like a leviathan,
its lights at night like white phosphorous,
a place of banishment since the first ships,
among seals and penguins.
DISTRICT SIX, CAPE TOWN
Razing its streets, clearing this cosmopolis
of Asians, atheists, Blacks, booksellers,
Buddhists, Christians, Coloureds, cooks, Hindus, Jews,
musicians, Muslims, seafarers, Whites,
this is what it was all about – the racial
myths, the scorn, the humiliation,
the torture, the killings – to justify
the theft of property.
APARTHEID, FREEDOM PARK, JOHANNESBURG
Beneath the Pillars of the Constitution,
in the gardens the weaver birds are knitting
their elaborate nests from grass and reeds
precariously over water.
Inside is the Mercedes workers hand built
for Mandela, and a BAE designed
troop-carrying Casspir, mine and bullet proof,
to patrol the townships.
HECTOR PIETERSON, ORLANDO WEST, SOWETO
When the school children took to the dirt streets
in their uniforms and walked as one
towards the dogs and the guns and the police,
did each of their rulers secretly know
they were finished – not then or that year
but in time however many they maimed,
and killed and tortured in front of cameras –
yet kept it to themselves? Did they believe
really that righteous anger would, could
be suppressed forever?