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Various (2004) New Activist Poems from Durban. Cenre for Civil Society : -.

A collection of students poems on anti-privatisation in South Africa
Edited by Khan Fazel and Mavuso Dingani

I have heard

I have heard, oh yes I have
That we once lived with neighbours’ in mind
Then what fortune dealt, we all shared
Deaths, births, all and sundry
Even backyard veggies our stomachs we filled
Chickens were…local then .

I have heard, Oh yes I have
That we once lived in ’communion’
Understood by all, common to all

I have heard it been said;
That once jobs were for a lifetime
Now its underpaid children in your place
Exploited by companies, global;
If only it we could return that land
When money did not so consume the minds of men

Happiness I find not,
In globalisation I think not
Won’t we all bow to its demands
Compromise what we are
Even our country.
And what is it but new colonization

Corporate Globalisation
By S Mudaly, J Naridu, L Govender

My beloveth country
Freedom you were promised
Free education, food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless.

Cry my beloveth Country
Now bound to chain of its own making
Education for the rich, unemployment, evictions you have reaped.

My homeland
My beautiful, diverse country
With all your innovative companies
Business spring forth everywhere

Why , my beloveth country
Are you still a third world country

It is because of GEAR
That our family jewels are sold to the rich
That education becomes a luxury
That we buy imported goods
And roam jobless up down the streets like fools

But people are silent
Enduring the hardships in serenity
Dished out by the powerful in doubtful honesty
Yet feeding the economy to those from across the seas

Our leaders fill the bellies of our former colonizer
Their insatiable greed grows ever more
And we weep
When the consequences we reap

I still see hope for my beloved land
That rose like a phoenix from the ashes of Apartheid
Victorious and in glory that early winter morning
In greater strength and wisdom

So the onslaught of corporate globalisation
With its captivating charms
We shall resist
For the world shall know
That here we come

Plunged into darkness
By Buhle Ngidi

One month
I had to pay R200
The following month R220
Then suddenly like a bolt of lightning
I couldn’t afford the electricity bill
I was plunged into darkness
The house seemed deserted
Thami couldn’t play his loud music anymore
Generations for me, alas, no more
Only the loud silence ruled

“Wh at has gone wrong Mamkize”, I asked
“ mgani Eskom is privatized” she answered
The right to decent housing… and water…health care
A better life for all
Constitutional pledges that foundered our great democracy
Yet still to be realized
Since the legacy of apartheid still lives

Will my children live in this darkness too ?
Will they shake off this shameful past
And forever banish it to the scrape heap of history
Then finally find light next winter

The simple comforts taken for granted
Are all but disappeared
Sindi can no longer toast her morning breakfast
With a single plate gas stove, how can I manage

But how can I ?
Boil water for Thami’s father
Make porridge for Thami
And still the uniforms that need ironing

I blame it all on the commercialization of our service providers
Will I ever get my old life back
That light, that will illuminate my path
The joy of hearing the sweat melodies of life
All gone

Let our mission be to eliminate the gap between the rich and poor
That globalisation has brought to our communities
We should all do battle
For our mission,
Goal and vision
Of Another World being Possible.

By Phindile Mposula, Sbonisa Ndaba

I cannot go to school
The fees, I can no longer pay
I walk for miles on end
To gather firewood and fetch water
To feed my family and quench their thirst
For my basic services are privatized

Thousands of new electric cables connected
But millions disconnected
Thousands of casual jobs created
Yet millions retrenched from lifetime employment

The government calls it a GEAR
A gear for Growth Employment and Redistribution
But growth for whom?
For Mbeki, maybe
A private jet for him
And for us…?
Back to the long road to fetch water.

Hush my little sister hush
By Sibusiso Mnyandu

I’ll never know when I started crying
But what I know was way before I started smiling
We were crying before because of Apartheid
But now it’s all because of starvation
We cry because of the situation in Africa.

We now have leaders of our choice
But still does not prevail
I’ll cry till my eves go dry
Till the sun doth not shine
And my voice gets hoarse

Is the government that is to blame
Or should we blame the system
That holds the levers of power that rule the world.
The hidden hand that buys our nation
And makes consumers of us all.

But we are accessories of it too
By our indifference we endorse it.
“Thula mntaka ma”, Hush my little sister
Maybe this was what the struggle was for
But I still shirk when I think that;
About the lives that were lost
And the people sacrifice
For freedom, fraternity and equality
Was all in vain

Freedom, oh, how you were betrayed
Unemployment and evictions
Poverty and expensive education.
We reaped.

Hush my little sister;
Cold, hunger and homeless you are
HIV wrecks havoc among our people
Tearing children from the bossoms of their parents
Yet we still live; in hope, trusting
That the second revolution is on its way.

The vivid picture I see
By Gugu Beatrice

Looking at the world
Through my teenage eyes
I see nothing but desolate darkness

I see a world meant for the rich and powerful
Where there’s no hope for the likes of me
The poor and the downtrodden
Poor shame?
Shamed into violent crime
Broken homes and stigmatization
Robbed of the right to live
To enjoy the finer things in life
Condemned to grovel and beg in street corners.
For what should be birthright.

Violence and anguish we once live
In the gloomy days of apartheid
When we fought for our freedom
Hunger and deprivations we endured
Then even the poorest suffered most
Yet the light at the tunnels end, I see not

Now we dig in the dirt to build houses for the wealthy
Sleep in the hovels they grudgingly allow us to live
Owned by a black government we voted for

I see a dark future
I see crime mortality and immorality
Riots, strikes, rebellion

Men in black suits, flashy cars and bowties
Ruling the world from their corporate boardrooms
Who can rescue us from their iron hands
Rescue the poor from their predicament
And deliver them to a land promised by the struggle’s call

Poverty knows no race, ethnicity nor nationality
In Brazil, China and Nigeria
The right to a decent life is slowly being usurped
And only the corporations benefit.

World in Turmoil
By Khatija Jadwat

The American Revolution
And the American Century
Like the bible sitting on your table
Truth is mystified
But the genocidal mystery
Has begun to unravel

The Man from the Bush
With bible and gun in tow
Built his empire on rubbles
With the denigration of nations
Filled with uncivilized hordes
He watched and ate apple pie
As skies rained tomahawks
They cried and trembled
He swallowed and smiled
As they bled and died

Yet we stood and tuned to our sets
Watching the Cowboys of the West
Do em up the rear end
Texas Style
Glad it wasn’t our homes
Nor our children’s playgrounds

Now here under the southern sun
The tempers began to brew
With the angry Desai
Stating that we are the Poors
Calling the capitalists, greedy
Gear, Nepad and the IMF
Needing someone to blame
Then he saw through the confusion of it all
The Facades and deceptions
Then said “No to War”

From the frying pan into the fire
By AK Mthembu, N Phungula

As I walk down my street
In the chilly morning frost
Black cozy jersey clad
Past MaKhumalo’s spaza shop
I see them huddled around a fire
Discarded cardboards their beds
Torn clothes their blankets
With cold rocks for pillows
And the clear blue skies - their roofs

Yet they sleep below promising posters
With well dressed men
Chorusing “ better life will be for all”
I ask myself
Is this what we voted for
For privatization and deregulation

Are we condemned to live in darkness?
With no lights for the rest of my life
Sentenced to a life of deprivation

Before it was blackness
Opportunities were denied me
Now it’s “ sorry but too poor to afford”
My basic livelihood in an instance gone
And the truncheon wielding blue coats
The law courts and the Captonian choir sing
The happy Uhuru song

No longer separated by colour
But by the dollar
Taken by the collar
I’m I condemned to a life of thrift.

I fear corporate globalisation
It deprives me of my basic rights
Destroy our lives, my country
And the future of my Africa.

 cast your net a little wider...
 Radical Philosophy 
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 International Journal of Socialist Renewal 
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 Jacques Depelchin's Tribute to Harold Wolpe 
 African Studies Quarterly 
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 Anarchist Archives 
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 Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa  
 Zanon Workers 
 Public Citizen  
 Open Directory Project 
 Big noise films 
 London Review of Books  
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 Monthly Review 
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 Bureau of Public Secrets  
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 Project Guttenberg 
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