Friday evening found me strolling through Rhodes University down into town. Weathered buildings and hundred-year old trees bracing themselves as winter and long nights set in.
A kink to the left at Somerset and down New Street. When Thomas Baines visited the town in March 1848 he reported that: “… we entered the town by New Street which seemed, by far, more prolific of canteens and … retail stores, than of private dwellings …”
So New Street is far from new but it remains a hub of Grahamstown’s nightlife and revelry. I joined a stream of students slipping down to The Rat and Parrot and other haunts. Others – in the village for the St Andrew’s College reunion – branched in en-route to a fine meal at Haricot’s (Karoo lamb-chops by favourite) or gourmet burger and craft beer at The Rustic Route before storming off to The Highlander.
I ambled past the Old House (under loving restoration) to Cafe D’Vine and the Reddits Poetry evening. A lively evening of poetry and, unusually, music in the form of Chris Mann. The gathering – about 40 strong – is a cross-section of the Grahamstown community brought together by their love of language and creativity through the written and spoken word.
Harry Owen welcomes all and provides nudges of insight, encouragement and wit. He’s compiling an anthology of poetry from writers and poets closely associated with Grahamstown. Have a look at his Facebook page for further details but – linger not – the deadline is 1 June 2018.
With the kind permission of Harry, we will be publishing a “Reddits” poem each month. This month we have selected “Egazini” by Dudu Saki. Thank-you to Dudu and Michael Robin Wynne who filmed Dudu reading his poem. If you’d like to purchase a copy of Dudu’s book “Do Men Wear Clothes” (well worth it at R100) contact him on 076 602 1345.
cattle wander the barren ground
with red soil and dust
bullet scars are still evident
in the crossfire of schools and hospitals
my heart weeps for you
rise you fallen warriors
rise in defence of my land
rise between the bloody pages
of my poem
and wash this land of its plagues
arise and see in disgust
the monument erected in your memory
a place where drunks puke
stray animals wander
and urchins play truant
arise you warriors
to knock yet again
at the rusty doors of our memories
lest we forget
that the struggle continues