Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.


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.







© Copyright David Selzer
4 Responses
  • Catherine Reynolds
    February 26, 2021

    Everything is rooted in socio-cultural mores and political doctrine. You draw attention to acculturation and the values that inform it between two very different places. Parallel universes of response and reaction, of consideration and it’s opposite, whilst the pathogen just carries on doing what it must – seeking a new host.

  • Mark Chapman
    February 27, 2021

    In a time when we can see the sense of actions taken by those we naturally recoil from, it’s hard to disentangle authoritarianism and pragmatism……

  • Ian Craine
    February 27, 2021

    I read this poem to Bina, knowing it accorded perfectly with her own thoughts on the subject. She was delighted with it, and asked me to compliment you, David.

  • Jeff Teasdale
    March 10, 2021

    Similarly, wandering round a Cape Town township (with some initial trepidation) with John Fernie ( while visiting the Masibulele Education Centre, Everyone respectful of each other and friendly, asking where we were from (“Hey, this guy knows Wayne Rooney” from a youth wearing a Man City strip.. “No I don’t, I am only FROM Manchester”….. “But you MUST have met him then”. (This in a queue for a cash machine with an armed guard next to it)…. broad smiles all round, and a generosity of spirit and a genuine curiosity I have rarely encountered before or since.. So-called ‘Lockdown’ has led to many pleasurable encounters on walks, meeting other people we haven’t seen for years. Just a sense of genuine good natured conversations and ‘pleased-to-see-you’ grins across the pavement or footpath.. Sadly, no hugs or handshakes. They WILL come later and we WILL appreciate them like never before. Many thanks, David – another thought-provoking piece.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *