CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF A LIFE IN A SLUM — A POEM
Childhood memories, of a slum life in Pietermaritzburg, in South Africa. A Poem.
Standing here by this hole.
Through the wall.
Supposedly a window.
Which at night is covered
With pieces of cardboard
If we can find some
Or torn pieces of old clothes
That have seen their days
But very useful here
My eyes are caught by a beautiful storey house
Painted in white
Situated on a flat field
Down by the river
The house I am told, belongs to Joe Ngidi
Now my eyes slowly carry me
Across a river, and up a hill
Where I see many houses
Monotonously built for a shanty town.
In a mixture of corrugated iron sheeting
Cardboard boxes, mud, wooden planks
That people can lay their hands on
Just to have a shelter above their heads.
I long to be in Joe Ngidi’s home
Even though his house has some space
Its neighbours are massive slums
Then, I turn around and see
Where I stand
It’s all shambles; cardboard boxes
Turned into homes for so many of us.
This is Machibisa!
The notorious, largest
Down and out slum of Pietermaritzburg.
Children playing in dirt
Surroundings stinking, flies buzzing.
Sanitation is the worst hazard.
I wonder forlornly, how long this will go on.
Had I been born a man, I would certainly have
A house like Joe Ngidi’s
I would have boxed like him
Just so I could escape this living hell.
© Nomanono Isaacs 08/20
Thank you for taking the time to read these words. Stay Blessed.