coming up: 21 Poems for 21 Years of Democracy

zamantungwa | July 21st, 2015 | editorial | No Comments

the first poem goes lives at 1pm South African Time

South Africa is official an adult… That is democratic South Africa where:

We, the people of South Africa,
Recognise the injustices of our past;
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and
Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.
We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to –

Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;

Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;

Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and

Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.[1]Preamble to the South African Constitution, 1996

Many, from the president to the ordinary woman on the street, have opined on the state of our nation twenty one years later. Are we where we should be? Did we gain freedom? Have the injustices been address? When will the gap between the rich and power narrow? How long does it take to right the wrongs of a long and sordid colonial past? Can’t we just get over it now?

These and many more questions have bothered as we searched for the poems that capture out state of being these last twenty one years.

So now, we are proud to present to you:

(continues after image)


Twenty one poets present twenty one poems, written in the last twenty one years that reflect on South African. Th poems give insight to what it is that some of the finest poets  of South Africa have on their minds.

A poem, accompanied by an illustration will be released weekly, these last twenty one weeks of the year 2015. Illustrations are by Johannesburg-based fine artist, Wesley Pepper.

Look out for the first poem at the end of the week.

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1 Preamble to the South African Constitution, 1996