February 15, 2016

Poet Don Beukes Responds to "Entangled"

Poems: The Ghetto Chronicals, Child of Colour, and Belhar High 1985

"Entangled" by Shameeg van Schalkwyk

The Ghetto Chronicles

Born into inherited prophecised

spiritual poverty uncertain longevity

a soulless society welcomes yet another

unplanned oddity – ignoring their declining

moral depravity whilst

wicked whispers spread by toxic jealous

vipers spit vicious raucous rumours

of future man-made tumours able to infect

an entire species most heinously

ignoring various opinions deliberately

turning a blind eye to gangster small-fry

unable to prevent a freak wave of revolutionary

societal anarchy – hoping to derail a politically

engineered gravy train halting historical elitist

gain going against the grain ensuring relief of

centuries of generational pain

shameful scarlet stain preaching deliverance

in vain – their conscience offering a foretold

solution in the shape of a celestial confusion

misunderstood bound by a judgemental

neighbourhood unable to discern between what is

evil and good dismissing potential healing soul

food idly standing by whilst each believer cast their

own stone eye to the obvious carnage around failing

to stop the deadly decline of a nation going blind

sudden realisation mankind not that kind – hoping

to finally find a chosen saviour sent to miraculously

heal disintegrating devastating behaviour

not denying personal faltering failure – the

chokehold confession of each sinful act bound

by a crucifying chain reaction born from man's

fleeting earthly mansion preventing liberating escape

of a people on their knees hoping to find some spiritual

release – even willing to listen to a ghetto Mary rapping

of an unknown future reciting forgotten scripture trying

to once again nurture against their nature –

a hope to be able to cope and release

their self-imprisoned beautiful beast

yearning to be invited to the

celebratory promised feast

obtain the eternal keys

to at last experience

everlasting peace

Child of Colour

Earthly existence

universal persistence

one species our

own nemesis

divided development

colonial entrapment

human currency

dented democracy

north south east west

land grab 

mankind's best

authoritarian test

enslaved fest

cursed skin

historical kin

generations asking

self – appointed king

desperately seeking

foreign fertile shores

settling scores

drawing borders

barking orders -

divisive policies

dismissed heritage

insecure feelings

shady dealings -

self-made apartheid

decades of racial 


melting heartache

cunning cultural rape

my beloved Cape

masking my 

child-like hate -

beneath the shade

of Table Mountain

my life-giving

historical fountain -

Born from a mixed

mother I have no

shame being branded

child of colour

Belhar High 1985

My inaugaral secondary education
twenty five years after a horrific mass
demonstration township massacre -
Sharpeville still an unknown childhood
mystery – Nelson Mandela
a household whispered revered enigma,
My childhood world cacooned in media
blackout – Secondary education commencing
under an invisible brewing explosive
revolutionary choking cloud.
Lasting new friendships cemented although
confidence still dented – Strange whispers
of discontent swirl and coil, feeding my
uninformed confused generation causing
a sickening dreading sensation
of an imminent imploding warring nation.

A normal morning playground conversation -
just me Heinrich and Gavin acclimatising to
an educational haven – Becomes a
life-changing teargas assault initiation
sudden realisation of draconian racist military
intimidation at our coloured only institution -
The Casspir visible at the front gate
no escape, a slow motion scene so obviously
obscene – Yet no retreat as we stared frozen
on our feet, the unidentified camouflaged
lily-white soldier positioning his shoulder -
Balancing a weapon of mass destruction
suspended in mid-air just for a fraction,
Explosive pop maybe a real shot
our faces suddenly burning hot – Unknown
nuclear sensation eating our skin causing
instant inflamation lack of information,
Realisation this is no ordinary situation -
Momentarily blinded shocked dumbfounded
surrounded by a battlefield grey cloud – The
piercing shouts our forced revolutionary
freedom shroud – Cape Town city a foreign
unfamiliar beauty reserved for whites
what's it all about ?
Teachers guiding many of us whining others
seperated hastily gated treated with facial
oily treatment – Confusion delusion despair
nothing quite clear, each to their own
increasing military drone – The playfield now
a hazy killing zone

caught up in the aftermath, forced daily
mass meetings preaching current racist
autocratic apartheid teachings – Still
confused our gaze rather obtuse so much
to lose, we really had no clue who is who
what to do ?

The school knell once again announces
the remaining few to return home our
mothers testifying to a choking teargas dome
yet they do not want us home – Daily police
school raiding squads order those present about
unable to return home sprayed with identifying
colour foam – This is no fun fair our racial
incarceration unfair, another shooting victim
laid bare illuminating our cadaver stare.

Generational despair blinding global media
glare – PW Botha in the misguided driving seat
unleashing his minions onto a teenage killing
field – Religious leaders insist we kindly resist
the urge for revengeful abyss, to atempt
ultimately defend our right to an educational
first year end – Torn between generational scorn
a hopeful liberated dawn,
Exams written under ironic military protection
the pen now our liberating weapon – sudden
splintered glass classroom filled with scornful
brick missiles our peers increasing our fears.

Now thirteen our lives warped like a living corpse
devoid from personal emotion angry contortion
split devotion twisted religious notions – Brief
revolutionary relief, subsequent educational
consequence our future of increasing significance,
The news still showing shocking
township necklase murders but not missing
freedom fighting fathers, enemies of the ruling
state cadavers – Mismatched political lovers.

Another decade of revolution
our educational gap
no illusion – An era of frustration
who will save our broken nation ?

References ofr Belhar High 1985


1960 massacre after 5000 black township residents marched to the local police station to protest against the apartheid regime's 'pass laws' which forced black South Africans to carry at all times a pass book to identify them as 'black' and which was to be their ticket to crossing internal provincial and city borders as well as a document to get employment. 69 people were shot by police.


According to South African racial laws, this term was given to those of 'mixed race heritage' and along with black africans and whites, had a unique Identity Document number to identify them as such.


A military combat vehicle manufactured and used in the South African army and police originally to detect mines in war zones but increasingly used during the student uprisings between 1976 and 1992 to stop the revolution.

P.W Botha

Leader of South Africa from 1978 - 1989 He ruled under apartheid and fiercely tried to prevent any uprisings against the racist government.

Necklace murders

A 'black' township street justice execution of 'political' enemies within their own communities during daylight executions in townships mostly in the north of the country during the 1980's political uprisings, by burning a petrol douced tyre around the necks of 'accused' traitors to the 'people'. A practice widely abhorred and shunned by the rest of society, no matter which racial group, even by their own political leaders.

~Don Beukes

I was born, raised and educated in Cape Town, South Africa in the last two decades of Apartheid and also have British and EU citizenship. Now a retired teacher of English, I am following my passion to write poetry and hoping to share my literal mentality with our global village, hoping to make global citizens check their moral compass now and then in an ever changing world. As a person of mixed race heritage, I want to share my experiences whilst growing up, living  and working in a totalitarian racist regime.

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