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Sharpeville Remembered—A Ghazal

The jailed visionary carved a note on the stone of his cell, gave
his life. Years of inequities passed between the blacks and the whites

Lost opportunities; for Mandela no reconciliations occurred
until students wrenched power from the hands of the whites

Education should be equal, they linked hands and declared
Things learned in schools the same for blacks as for whites

Nadine Gordimer tells of the standouts: the Kgosanas, the Mandelas,
and Kotanes. They stood up, combatted the whims of the whites

The year of nineteen hundred and seventy-eight, so recent in time,
Botha replaces John Vorster as Prime Minister, only for the whites

Soweto Students’ League presses forward, deaths in detentions
and banishments bring UN condemnation to the leaders—those whites

In April a black organization is formed: One Azania, one People
“for blacks, coloreds and Indians.” Membership closed to the whites

Years of struggle follow, continue to this day. As the fox battles for
its food, blacks claim their place in the world, shared with whites

Today in Cape Town, you can go to a spring, where in times of
drought, water is drawn side by side, by blacks and by whites*

*”In a formerly “white” neighborhood called Newlands, thousands of Capetonians line up each day to gather water from a natural spring that, save for a police booth to oversee parking, is completely unmanaged by any authority. A 42-year-old Indian man, Riyaz Rawoot, labored for 14 months to create the spring’s infrastructure—a long contraption made of concrete, bricks, metal stands and PVC hosepipes that diverts water into 26 outlets before which an extraordinary diversity of people kneel with jugs, as if at a Communion rail.” Excerpt from Eve Fairbanks’s “Dry, The Beloved Country: A dispatch from Cape Town”, Huffington Post, April 19, 2018.

Carole Mertz has published poetry in various literary journals in the U.S., Great Britain, and Canada. Her essays are currently in Dreamers Creative Writing, Page & Spine, Eclectica, and The Ekphrastic Review. Carole is a reader in prose and poetry for Mom Egg Review.

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