Justice or Revenge


What is fame to a decaying corpse?
Lame extremities on the corner of 5th and main.
A coffin consisting of a gravel mattress,
An open casket for onlookers,
Desensitised bystanders,
Bear witness to mob justice.

Another day on the peripheries of Paradise for an abandoned single parent,
Three dead children,
Victims of the violent actions of a callous community,
Boys who were suspected,
No trial,
Convicted and sentenced.

Phangas preceded the necklace,
Splitting heads like watermelons,
The M.E. denied any examinations,
No autopsies for convicted felons.

What is mercy to a grieving father?
A farmer,
Robbed of his livelihood and daughter.
Like the lambs he sent to the slaughter.

Is this justice or is this revenge?
A way to balance the Libra scales.
Is this justice or is this revenge?
Forgiveness is a tall tale.


Retshepisitswe ‘Tshepi’ Makhatha was born in Umtata, Eastern Cape, South Africa. He matriculated from St. Peter’s College in 2009 and graduated from Rhodes University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature and Psychology. He currently lives in Johannesburg and has been published in Poetry Potion‘s 10th print edition titled ‘This Woman Is…’ His poetry has also been published in The Kalahari Review.

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