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The weather is miserable/ It's over Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by David Kapp, South Africa Oct 14, 2008
Human Rights   Poetry


"The weather is miserable,"
announces the 6 am radio presenter
from her Johannesburg studio.

The presenter, a woman, should know,
no, not about the weather,
but that it is December 10,
International Human Rights Day,
the end of our 16 days of activism campaign.

Perhaps it is not the end,
perhaps it has been extended
to the whole year round
as it should be, these 16 days,
which happens just for 16 days,
for some reason or the other,
allowing us to go back
to our usual behaviour
every day for the rest of the year.

The weather is miserable.
How has the weather been
for the women and children
of our country these past 16 days?
Our country broken, traumatised,
by violences of all types,
spare the rod, spoil the child.

Why am I fussing so? After all,
the sun is shining here in Cape Town.
The matriarch over the road,
protector of image and morals
didn’t seem to know of the campaign
when she chased her niece
down the road, nasty stick in hand,
somewhat nastier thoughts in mind,
neighbours a-watching, as they tend to
(a break from their busy schedules);
what anger is there, toward another?

The weather is miserable.
Spare the rod, spoil the child,
even though the child-niece is 30 almost,
unemployed, now a little bit inebriated.
How did the 16 days of activism help
her, and others like her, never mind
her imperial aunt and the neighbours,
a-watching, as they tend to, in between
other similarly stimulating activities.

And they still go on,
about the weather, on the radio.
They don’t even ask,
How it has been for you?
Has anything changed for you?
What anger is there, still?
Have you changed, anything
or anyone or yourself,
at the end of our 16 days?

--The morning of December 10, 2005, International Human Rights Day, at the end of the 16 Days of Activism campaign.

It's over

It's over, the wearing of the ribbons,
16 days of activism on violence
against women and children.

How far have we come, from
the violence of the past?
the violence of yesterday?
the violence of tomorrow?

What aggression is locked up,
still, in our minds,
ready to spill over?

What anger lurks,
still, in our homes,
ready to spill over?

What resentment boils,
still, in our kitchens,
ready to spill over?

What grudges do we bear, still,
against the old?
about the new?

How long is the road you
have traveled, these 16 days?

What have you left behind?
Ignorance? Bad blood?
Stereotypes? Male chauvinism?

Who did you leave, behind?
(or) did you get left, behind?

How long, still, is the road you
have to travel?

What about the other days in
the year?

How much further to go?
How much more official fanfare,
ribbons and road shows,
banners and (good men's) marches?

When will it be over?

--Friday evening, December 10, 2004, International Human Rights Day, at the end of the 16 days of activism campaign.



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Writer Profile
David Kapp

Who is this David Kapp

David Kapp is left-handed. He has been so for a while now. Born in Claremont, South Africa, long ago. Did a bit of primary school there. Moved to Belthorn Estate, Crawford in the nasty sixties of apartheid’s Group Areas Act, when his hair was still black. Belthorn, at some point, had an ‘e’ at its rear end.

Mom is an English teacher-activist, now retired; and is responsible for my book-wormish little habit of correcting folks’ grammar. Dad is a socialist trade unionist, now retired; and is probably responsible for my questioning everything questionable on this particular planet. My height – upwards, not sideways like certain of our politrickians – is due to my plumber granddad, my mom’s dad, with whom I share a birth date (of long ago!). My mom’s mom was English, in her ways.

School consisted of peanut butter sandwiches and football and stuff, at Heatherdale Primary (1967), Belthorn Primary (1968-1970), Athlone High (1971-1973) and Oaklands High (1974-1975) – I suddenly forget the school I attended in Claremont. Can I get amnesty for this? Drifted from Athlone High to Oaklands ‘cos he could not imagine doing Woodwork and / or Latin (there or anywhere) until matriculation. Nothing personal, you gather.

Worked as a computer operator, did lots of nightshift and plotting against the apartheid state.

Studied Adult Education at the Centre for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE), University of the Western Cape (UWC), 1989-1991, and worked at the Centre for about 7 years. Hair started changing colour. Hair also started getting bigger.

Later worked at a gender-training unit, GETNET, just over Athlone bridge, on the Cape Flats; the career centre CRIC in Kewtown, Cape Flats, and at a youth development NGO called RAG (Resource Action Group), all as a computer literacy trainer and a wannabee alternative lifeskills hack. Hair still big.

Realized – light-bulb style – in the main, whilst staying out yonder in the religiously and politically conservative, non-English territory of Beverley Park, First River (1989-2009) out in the Northern Suburbs, that “reading is the key”. Helped youngsters a bit out there with their reading, and was a “resource” and “safe space” for them to do their homework / school projects. Got myself involved as a Reading Helper / Volunteer, in 2008 (based at Athlone's Alicedale Primary School) with the NGO Help2Read.

Started writing in non-rhyming short sentences at a GETNET Gender Conference in December 2003 or thereabouts, with the naughty theories of Italian communist Antonio Gramsci humming in his ears courtesy of one comrade Ebrahim Rassool (who did an address around and about “seizing the moment”, Gramsci-style).

Thanks to this wondrous thing called the internet, I have continued to irritate and bore people here and elsewhere to this day, in a non-rhyming sort-of way.
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