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Tag Archives Cape Town

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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1967

While Che Guevara was shot in Bolivia,

Siegfried Sassoon died in his bed,

the US bombed Hanoi,

Biafra declared independence,

Israel gained the Golan Heights,

a heart was transplanted in Cape Town,

the Beatles sang ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’,

the Supremes ‘Love is here and now you’re gone’,

the Cartwrights roamed the Ponderosa,

the Cookie Monster ‘Sesame Street’,

‘The Prisoner’ confounded,

‘Jackanory’ revolved,

‘The Naked Ape’ sold,

‘Rosemary’s Baby’ appalled,

the Abortion Act was passed,

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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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CECIL AND PRECIOUS

 

RHODES MEMORIAL

Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town, © Sylvia Selzer 2009

 

‘Equal rights for all civilized men south of the Zambesi!’

Cecil Rhodes

 

I

 

Apparently, he loved the view from this spot –

the north east slopes of Table Mountain – indeed,

owned much of the foreground. The sycophants

of Cape Town built, with granite quarried

from the mountain itself, this monument –

with Doric columns and arcades (which he

so revered,

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CECIL AND PRECIOUS

RHODES MEMORIAL

Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town. © Sylvia Selzer 2009

 

‘Equal rights for all civilized men south of the Zambesi!’ Cecil Rhodes

 

I

 

Apparently, he loved the view from this spot –

the north east slopes of Table Mountain – indeed,

owned much of the foreground. The sycophants

of Cape Town built, with granite quarried

from the mountain itself, this monument –

with Doric columns and arcades (which he

so revered, apparently),

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CECIL AND PRECIOUS

Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town. SCES © 2009

 

‘Equal rights for all civilized men south of the Zambesi!’ Cecil Rhodes

 

I

 

Apparently, he loved the view from this spot –

the north east slopes of Table Mountain – indeed,

owned much of the foreground. The sycophants

of Cape Town built, with granite quarried

from the mountain itself, this monument –

with Doric columns and arcades (which he

so revered, apparently), bronze lions à la

Trafalgar Square and a pensive,

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