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Honoured for their fine writing

By unknown | Aug 08, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

This way I salute you: My hand pulses to my back trouser pocket

This way I salute you: My hand pulses to my back trouser pocket

Or into my inner jacket pocket

For my pass, my life,

Joburg City.

My hand like a starved snake rears my pockets

For my thin, ever lean wallet,

While my stomach groans a friendly smile to hunger,

Joburg City.

My stomach also devours coppers and papers

Don't you know?

Joburg City, I salute you;

When I run out, or roar in a bus to you,

I leave behind me, my love,

My comic houses and people, my dongas and my ever-whirling dust,

My death,

That's so related to me as a wink to the eye.

Joburg City

I travel on your black and white and roboted roads,

Through your thick iron breath that you inhale

At six in the morning and exhale from five noon.

Joburg City

That is the time when I come to you,

When your neon flowers flaunt from your electrical wind,

That is the time when I leave you,

When your neon flowers flaunt their way through the falling darkness

On your cement trees.

And as I go back, to my love,

My dongas, my dust, my people, my death,

Where death lurks in the dark like a blade in the flesh,

I can feel your roots, anchoring your might, my feebleness

In my flesh, in my mind, in my blood,

And everything about you says it,

That, that is all you need of me.

Joburg City, Johannesburg,

Listen when I tell you,

There is no fun, nothing, in it,

When you leave the women and men with such frozen expressions,

Expressions that have tears like furrows of soil erosion,

Joburg City, you are dry like death,

Joburg City, Johannesburg, Joburg City.

Author Mongane Wally Serote's poem, titled City of Johannesburg, was published in 1974.

The former MP and 42 other emerging and established authors were honoured through the South African Literary Awards.

Nation-building partners are Sowetan, the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, the Arts and Culture Department, Nutrend Publishers, SABC and wRite Associates.


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