Friday, 27 November 2015


© Farouk Asvat

     South Africans are completely devoid of love.  Besides being completely materialistic, there is absolutely nothing spiritual or philosophical about them.  The only things they are interested in are shebeens, sports, soap operas and sex - in that order. 

     They are also completely ungrateful, as evidenced by their lack of appreciation for the Cuban doctors and health workers sent by Fidel Castro to help with the inequalities left by the apartheid regime.  They were also completely critical of a series of international soccer coaches that came to prepare them for the world cup - dismissing all of them within a short period, complaining that these renowned coaches did not understand them, that South Africans knew better.  In both cases displaying a complete unwillingness and inability to learn. 

     This was most evident when the white regime was exchanged for a black regime, and people who had spent years in prison (and one would suppose would have had infinite time to reflect); and people who had spent years in exile in the west and in communist countries (and one would suppose would have learned from the wide world out there) - returned to the country, and were soon sucked into the parochial mentality of the natives - instead of the exiles influencing the locals about what they should have learned from being abroad for decades. 

     Furthermore, all the communist, socialist and left wing politicians became capitalists and billionaires overnight - co-opted onto the board of directors of the multinationals, in cahoots with the western governments. 

     Oppression and tyranny, by creating an inferiority complex in people by a self-proclaimed master race, leaves deep psychological scars in the people, which might take generations, if ever to be healed or eradicated.  This has obviously not only been the case in South Africa, but also in eastern European countries, (Rumania for instance) - so that the worse the oppression, the worse the psychological trauma.  

     South Africa must be the only country in the world that did not celebrate one of its writers receiving the Nobel prize for literature.  Instead, the banner headlines all over the city were about some rugby player and his woes.  To add insult to injury, Nadine Gordimer, who had never helped or promoted Black writers throughout her life, suddenly made sure that she should be on all the state-run tv news channels that evening, announcing that she had set up an organisation to help young black writers.  Not a word about J M Coetzee. 

     In spite of the fact, that just about every South African has the attitude that he knows everything about everything - slamming their fists on the table to emphasise their point - the most arrogant people in the world must be the South African Transvaal Indian Muslim businessman: they are perhaps a little less ignorant, but are even more arrogant than the average American.  Being extremely petty, making it a point of knowing everything about everyone in the community, they are always judgemental, always knowing what is best for you.  And even if something is revealed to them about an incident that actually happened to a person, for instance saying, "I was attacked by a lion," they would immediately answer with a "Are you sure it wasn't just a cat," soon converting the whole episode into a joke at the expense of the victim.  Moreover, they have never opposed the oppression in the country - (then or now) - and are quite happy, as long as they can make money. 

     A reflection of this mentality is most evident in the richest Indian township under apartheid, Laudium, which once boasted the highest number of Mercedes Benzes per square kilometre in the world.  It is the dirtiest place I have ever come across - while there are all these mansions owned by rich businessmen, the streets and pavements outside their homes and businesses are littered with garbage - the owners not even bothering to order their many servants to clean up the mess. 

     South Africa - the only country without a name - is a country abandoned by God.  Instead of the wise people at the southern tip of Africa described by Marquez at the beginning of One Hundred Years Of Solitude, it is a godforsaken country without the faculty for reflecting and pondering. 

     Already in the 1980's South Africans began striving for mediocrity, by the 1990's they were striving for stupidity, and by the beginning of the 21st century, they were thriving on a combination of mediocrity and stupidity.  Unfortunately, with the ubiquity of the internet and stupid phones among all those who can afford it (or not), the whole world is now wallowing in this ignorance, mediocrity and stupidity. 

     It has always taken outsiders who have been in the country for a short period only, to see who South Africans really are.  Basil Davidson's Report On Southern Africa (1952), which gave an amazing insight into the people of South Africa, with a profundity that South Africans themselves refuse to acknowledge and are always reluctant to appreciate.  The book was obviously banned in South Africa throughout the apartheid era, and Basil himself was considered persona non grata after his visit, and was unfortunately never able to return to the country to give the people of South Africa another valuable insight into themselves during its many years of turmoil. 

     Another extremely incisive and perceptive view in capturing the essence of South Africa and its people in the 1985-1987 period, was the letter/poem, Where Blue Skies Cry In The Afternoon, by Jill Townsend.  I included it in my anthology, The Wind Still Sings Sad Songs, - (though it should rather have been part of A Celebration Of Flames, which captured the events and emotions of the mid 1980's in South Africa) - since I felt that Jill's poem was an essential part of the portrayal of the country, its people, and its turmoil. 

© Jill Townsend

The sun scorches
Where blue skies cry
In the afternoon

The land breathes
In cross-currents of emotions
Collisions of oceans and winds
Reflect the minds and spirit
Of the people

Complexities and contrasts
Flourish and divide
Into pockets of resistance
Spiritually uplifting
Emotionally draining
Ebbing away into vast flatlands

Tall towers mirror
Dark secret places

There is corruption in power
As there is corruption in suffering
Breeding greed, betrayal and guilt.

Today is negated
By tomorrow.
Today is always more important
Than yesterday.

Uniforms and rhetoric
Disguise the soul
Masks fit every face
But never the eyes
- The eyes
   always tell
   another story -
So that every truth
Is also a lie

© Jill Townsend
# composed: 10.03.1986
[Carlton Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa under apartheid].

Where Blue Skies Cry In The Afternoon was previously published in:

     The Wind Still Sings Sad Songs (piquant publications, p106, 2006);
     The Wind Still Sings Sad Songs (kindle, 2014);
     The Wind Still Sings Sad Songs (amazon paperback, p103, 2014). (27.05.2014).

© farouk asvat


work in progress

posted: 27.11.2015

original composed: november 2010.

NEW: the anthology I Dream In Long Sentences by Farouk Asvat
is now available on amazon: paperback @ $10 & kindle @ only $5

the NOVEL Sadness In The House Of Love by Farouk Asvat
is now available on amazon: paperback @ $15 & kindle @ only $5

the anthology The Wind Still Sings Sad Songs by Farouk Asvat
is now available on amazon: paperback @ $10 & kindle @ only $5

the anthology A Celebration Of Flames by Farouk Asvat
is now available on amazon: paperback @ $10 & kindle @ only $5

the anthology The Time Of Our Lives by Farouk Asvat
is now available on amazon: paperback @ $10 & kindle @ only $5

the anthology Bra Frooks … by Farouk Asvat is now available
on amazon: paperback @ $10 & kindle @ only $5

© farouk asvat.  All rights reserved.

Farouk Asvat asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means whatsoever, or transmitted in any form or any means whatsoever, mechanical or electronic, including recording, printing, photocopying, or via any computerised means or media, including the internet.  This publication shall also not be stored in a retrieval system.  And the writing shall not be sold, lent, hired, resold or circulated in any form or binding or cover other than that in which it is published,
without the prior permission of the author in writing.
Permission to publish or reproduce the writings in any format can be obtained from the author.
Reproduction of this work without permission, except for scholarly & nonprofit purposes,
is liable to a payment of 10, 000 ren men bi or US$ 1,500.

farouk asvat can be contacted at:

[] please check out my blogs @:

farouk asvat - poems:

books by farouk asvat:

[] also link up on:


amazon kindle author @

the NOVEL Sadness In The House Of Love by Farouk Asvat
is now available on amazon: paperback @ $15 & kindle @ only $5

#love #literature #fiction #novel #poetry #southafrica #apartheid #books
#southafricans #cubandoctors #soccercoaches #nobelprize #gordimer #jmcoetzee
#transvaal #indian #muslim #businessman #laudium #mercedesbenz
#shebeens #sports #soapoperas #sex

No comments:

Post a Comment