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Tag Archives African Penguins

THE MUSEUMS

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,

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SEAFORTH BEACH, SIMONSTOWN, 2009

‘The essential characteristic of a nation is that all its individuals must have many things in common – and must have forgotten many things as well.’ What is a Nation? Ernest Renan

 

Near the restaurant’s toilets, there was a large

framed print of a photograph of the beach

full of day trippers from Cape Town by train

one Christmas/New Year break in the ’50s –

when it was Slegs Blankes/Whites Only.

The restaurant’s customers were still white,

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ROBBEN ISLAND


His cell, of course; breaking stones in the yard;

his endurance; his spirit; and his comrades’;

some warders and prisoners living there still,

in harmony, in freedom…

 

and these images:

 

the birds, teeming – African Penguins,

Crowned Cormorants, Cattle Egrets, Sacred Ibis;

 

part of the concrete wall of a cell block

made into a door on rails – ingenious, pointless;

 

Cape Town  and Table Mountain gilded in the soft,

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