For Fikekahle Dlalisa
The casual use of an American
penal term as a figurative cliché
suggests our usual status quo is being
in some sort of custody. In consequence
the clamour of public nonsense rises
about the nature and scope of liberty.
Freedom is choice not action. Walking
with a Zulu friend in a busy mall
on the edge of Soweto, “Look,” he said,
“see how people do not crowd each other,
how everybody makes room for everyone.
Our culture teaches us to respect
another’s space”. But this is the land
of ‘can’ not ‘ought’, and of ‘could’ not ‘should’,
of profligate coughs and libertarian
sneezes, and of selfishness unmasked.