Mphutlane wa Bofelo


Durban Doccies

North beach

Blue waters, tender sand & cooling air
Tanning bazaars & beer-holes
Bikinis & short-pants, sarongs & liberated tits
No machine-guns here, please lets swim in peace

La Lucia

Gushing springs
Blue lush gardens
Flowery yards
Fresh air & luminous skies
No littering please
This is the north

South beach

Smokey air and fallen dustbins
Blankets peeping through widows
Cigarettes in babies' mouths
Body fluids on the market
Welcome to the South;
Please oil your machine

Scavenging children
A dustbin full of treasures
A packet of chips & sanitary pads
Mzansi for show, hustle for your life


Cousin jack plays clarinet & djembe
Boereqanga & jazzskanda sounds
Musical cocktail for mass appeal
Basking is better than begging


A bottle of wine & a joint of marijuana
Three poets and one groupie plus rap-reggae
One bed and no condoms

A threesome haraiku

Point road

Itinerant souls, destitute girls & industrial pimps
Hungry stomachs, roaming pricks & roving cash
Free market meets black market

Stanger Street

Famished pants and ravenous mouths
Inventive capitalists and daring girls
Blockbuster movie, full chicken &
Passion kisses on the house

Albert Park

Street kid in a Mercedes Benz
Wealthy hands caressing putrid thighs
Police vans hooting away at metro-blitz speed

Broad Street

Fiery scream
Naked woman
Cops in salute

Aliwal Street

A drunken vagrant
Fly peeping through zip
Giggling passersby

Half-a loaf of bread
Fungi chips and a sniff of glue
Sweet dreams & forgotten scars

Queen Street

Frozen pavement
Two hobos in a tattered box
Smooch for heater
Plastic for soundproof

Grey Street: outside the mosque

A hungry refugee
Snatches a packet of coke
Cans from a delivery lorry
The locals find an opportunity
For jungle justice

West Street

Jalopies bulldoze their way
Through a traffic-jam
Wheels wrestle tired tar-roads

2010 is the hope of the nation
Metro police clear beaches and parks
Of aliens and vagrants and hobos
Streets of hawkers and illegal traders

Mahlathini: Breamar; Umzinto

Children jump in dongas for Jacuzzis
Salivating lips taste after-rain scent
Suck sugar-cane for breakfast
Unlucky bums will feel
The crack of the farmer's whip
Older bastards will go to jail


He spends the last cent on a bottle of brandy and a packet of cigarettes
Her salary is spent on food and nappies & stuff for the kids
Small change goes to lottery tickets & dreams for the baby on the way
He comes home to a supper of pap and chicken-feet
He throws the plate in her face & beat her to pieces
(For wasting money on bloody lotto & stupid things)

(First appeared in Bluesology and Bofelosophy: Poetry and Essays, published by Botsotso)

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