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Rassool Snyman

Synman is a writer, poet, documentary filmmaker, social activist and entrepreneur. Born in Greyville, Durban in 1954, he was self-educated after leaving school in protest at the imposition of Afrikaans. He was involved in The Struggle and is currently involved in the land campaigns.



 Three Poems

The death of dreams


He watched his dream
Slide into the abyss
To erupt as a child
Of racism bigotry tribalism and hate
Wrapped in garments
Of hypocrisy
and false smiles
Liberal colours
Painted on cold masks
Hid the malice
And narrative of doublespeak
Darkened hearts and silver words
The Judas of the day;
Treacherous traders
Who wear glass slippers
Till the stroke of midnight
And betray with a kiss
Farewell Biko
Your dreams are dead
Crushed under the heels
Of new boers
And political Calvinists
New ghosts from the past
Awakened from the dead
Black faces white masks said Fanon
White faces black masks life echoes
Who are the new wretched he asks
The Dalits of the day
The socially untouchable
The political pariahs
On whom hatred is spewed
With reckless abandon
And malicious will
Malcolm weeps
Luther laments
Verwoed smiles
At the child of his creation
The extension of his will
A product of his design
Hamba Kahle Biko
Your dreams are dead
Murdered in the womb
By two faced killers
And condescending liberals
Apartheid still lives
In the ghettoized minds of liberators and liberated
In the movement of people
You hear its voice
And feel its presence
It drips venomous words
Poisoned letters
Written by ethnocrats
Technocrats and tribal practitioners
Sharpened quills
Dipped in inkwells of putridity,
Corruption and perversion
The un-blind see it
As it slithers insidiously
Through the corridors of power
And other like institutions
Speaking the language of equality
Cloaked in respectability
And social credence
Betraying Jah and Rasta
Espousing Fanon and Marx
Malcolm and Luther
But killing the San
Dispossessing the Khoi
Preaching racial purity
Hiding daggers in its bosom
With murder in its eye
Farewell Biko
Thus fall great dreams
And thus are nightmares spawned
Sons of the conscious unconscious
Children of abuse abusers
Victims of crime criminals
Farewell Biko
Your dreams are dead
In your eye I see a tear
Political Pharisees
Racial turncoats
And tribal sycophants
Don’t give a damn
Paint they all and sundry
With brushstrokes of racism
Xenophobia and skin tone
In their smiling mouths hidden fangs
At their fingertips poison pens
Tap-tapping into cyberspace
Hate filled missives
Of racial superiority, slave mentalities
And bankrupt philosophies
Hamba kahle Biko
Hamba kahle





I buried my conscience last night
I wrested it from me
Dragged it to the pit and flung it there
It cried piteous cries
Bellowed in rage
Begged and pleaded
I hardened by heart
Closed my ears
Silence I commanded
And shoveled the dirt over it

I shall never forget its eyes
Those eyes
Those eyes
Those piercing damning eyes
They accused me
And etched themselves
Into my consciousness
Scorching themselves to my very core
The nightmares came upon me
I tossed and turned
Cold sweat dripped from my brow
By the gods
Why can't I be like my brethren
And sleep like child

They came that night
Dragged us all into captivity
My brethren and I
Silent grim men
With guns tanks and insignias
Swastikas and stars
We screamed
And screamed into the cold night
No one listened
No one heard
They sleep
Like child




I Rage


I rage
I rage
I rage
I rage against
The gods who let the world spin out of control
I rage against the system that deceives us
I rage against the machinery that destroys
Fed by silent people
And trickery
I rage because we should rage
And not be subdued
Or pacified
Or patronized
I rage against the system that watches with glee
As we tear ourselves to pieces
Become monsters that howl at the moon
With bared fangs
And steel claws
I rage because silence kills
I rage because a vote is sometimes
A death warrant
For someone somewhere

I rage
I rage
I rage because our instruments of peace
Have been co opted
Are skewed
Are unjust
And far less than peaceful
I rage because we resurrected Rome from the dead
And gave it powers
To kill
To maim
To create havoc
To veto peace
And turn us all into bloodthirsty beasts
I rage because the colour of my skin
Determines whether I am grieved for
Or ignored
Or blamed
For my own misery and death
I rage silently
I rage openly
I rage with my pen
I rage with my thoughts
I rage
I rage
I rage
I rage because we feel pity for the emperor
And none for the victims
Who litter the fields
I rage because we are willfully blind
Consciously deaf
And grieve selectively
I rage at our hypocrisy
And false values
At our double speak
And undying
Love of Rome
Love of the emperor
Love of the slave master
Love of the whip
And love of our own humiliation
and descent into bestiality

I rage
I rage
I rage
I rage because children die
Bullets fly
Because we kiss our sanity bye bye
Politicians deny
Because widows cry
Bling-bling reflected in every eye
Should I fold my arms and sigh
I rage
I rage
I rage
I rage because I must
I rage because history
Is not changed by submissive men
Or silent men
But by angry men
Who rage at injustice
And spit in the faces of oppressors
And stand by their truths
Like mountains

I rage
I rage
I rage
I rage
I rage
Till I revolt
And burn both palace and dungeon
Come brother
Give me your hand
Rage with me
The silence is deafening
Apathy kills
More insidiously than bullets
Let the drumbeat
Of justice
Pulsate deep within you
Let your blood boil like lava
And your anger like flames
Flare to the sun
Outshining it
Dwarfing it
For it is so that
Temples of vanity
Are burned to cinder
And power destroyed

I rage
I rage
I rage
I rage
I rage
Until justice is done
And the future of the child assured
Until peace is like the air we breathe
And the fields grow flowers of joy
Until every oppressor
Is harnessed
Fears the rage
Of the people
Until then I must rage
You must rage
We must rage
For perhaps it is through rage
That a better world will be born


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