Tuesday, July 3, 2007


This is the biggest project I ever did together with my learners who are the members of Eqinisweni Poetry Society. It took me two years to put the pieces, which my learners submitted, together. Each poet had to write his/her lines and I had to work on all those lines and see if there is flow and rhyme. This poem is also included in an unpublished book of poetry which I am writing with my learners. The title of the book is entitled "Egoli Ku Ya Sheshwa". It(the book) is mostly dominated by poems written in Scamtho or Tsotsietaal. We are still looking for sponsorship to publish it. Enjoy the poem and also check the names of the contributor below. Hola majita na vo-babey va se kasie? Hi bloma eghetto. Sure! edited & compiled by ed. shishenge.

Ghetto Township

Six no Five
Amajita playin'
Ama dize
Late at night
Eating amakota for supper
Am'authi and their cherries
On da' dark dusty streets
Of our rusty township
Each other
French kisses
Which lead them to a stand-up sex
Without a condom
Spreading Aids
Hoping to take a shower
Just here
In this ghetto township

This ghetto
Spawns a generation of killers
The sport known is robbery
Sometimes car-hijacking games are played
Games never taught nor trained at school
But learnt on da' streets
Those are da' sports P.W Botha
Saw fit for a black child
Games such as bowling and hockey are taboo
In this ghetto township

Ducking and dodging bullets
Has become a custom
Bleeding drops so scarlet
On da' cold ma' father lies
Fallen cold -blooded hit by a bullet
While tryin' to help a neighbour
Attacked by the tsotsies
At her spaza shop
In this ghetto township

Flags rise together
We fight corruption
But eruption is the order of da' day
Crime not reducin'
And refusin' to end
This place is not worthy
And it should not be in ma' ranks
But still I live in the shack
In this ghetto township

Cuz of depression
We're always livin' in fear
But now we feel free to speak freely
Cuz we have freedom of speech
Inkululeko yethu
Let it spread throughout our land

As we live in this ghetto township
Sometimes we get down at dawn
The guns are like toys
Death even the kids never fear
Life is nothin', but a game
Those are the rules in ma' township

Our minds are so polluted,
Tainted with blood stains
Left by the apartheid regime
U nga hi kwatisi nyana
Hikuva hi nga ku delela nyana

House breaking we forced to do
Hansa drinking is our weekend 'special
Stealing is our new found culture
We create fashion in this township
Teenage pregnancy is the latest fashion
Famous like eloxion culture

In this ghetto
Rhythm is a regular beat
It always runs fast with the songs
Poems written in the shacks
Are of true feelings not shillings
O tla utlwa ba go botsa ka dijo
Tse galore ngi khuluma nga makota
Na magwinya
In this ghetto all you see
Ke menate, mekete, mafu
All you hear
Is the wind shakin' the branches of trees
And cheap electric wires
All you feel and taste
Soft glossy mud toes
The salty taste of fish and chips
And the watery meltin' water of an ice block

Here we have been taught
'F' before 'E'
Some say township life leads to misery
But to me it's a true identity of oneself
You better love it
It's not township because it is famous
But it is famous because it is a township

People livin' in this township
Are admired as role models
Cuz they are leaders and soldiers
The heroes and heroines of our struggle
Strong cold winds sweep through
The untarred roads of our township
But many men and women choose to call
These mkhukhus their homes
But inhalation of dust has become a habit
Killin' cockroaches is our daily exercise
In this ghetto township

They have called you ka mabitso
Still some say you are dodibox
But hi bloma ka da'
Hi lata kona rivambu at night
And never be ashamed of who we are
Bana ba thari ye ntsho

Dodibox we are proud of you
Cuz we have named a language after you
Tsotsi Taal is your brainchild
This is a place to be
The young and the restless
Become interactive
We speak our own branded taal
We great & say "Heita da"
Or "Wat se?"

Corner to corner of the township
You see cabals of amajita
Wearing Cavellas and Hugo Bosses ,
The popular clothing labels
Always they say "smoke da?
He sani a wu ri tsubise?
Never refuse
Never ask them questions
Just give them ishume to buy a loose draw
Cuz they will make you scared
And leave you shiverin' and shakin'
'Wena ntwana ke tla go roba mulala ka skrufu-driver
If you try go ri bayizisa'

But the more you love the ghetto township
It is the more the ghetto township becomes your lover
The more you are scared of it
It is the more it becomes dangerous

Rap like a township nigga
Drive like a township gintsa
Dance like a township patsula
Never forget um'nwana phezulu!
When you meet amajita a blome ekhoneni
All Star takkies is the first requirement
In this ghetto township

Ekasi lam' amajita aya phanda
U zo wa thola a blome ekhoneni
Waitin' for izingcozi za sgila to come back from school
To sell them izolo ne spinza
In this ghetto township dogs eat dogs
Kasi lam' va li biza
Ghetto township

Amajita call this place
Ghetto Town/ship
For it comprises mkhukhus
In this ghetto township
Streets are flooded
Ka vhati la masewage
Ma' sister's child wa sika
U phethe hi chuluko
Going ka da' clinic 4 i cure
Va n'wi chayela kuri a ku na medication
Only panados left
If she does not mind they can give panados to her frail child

Izincozi za se dladleni
cry because of hunger
Temptation pushes me
Kguri ki vaye ko gqekeza
So I can buy them ndzho

Entleik ku bloma egotjcini
Has become ma' custom
In this ghetto township amajita
Never got circumcised
Vari it's being insane!

Amajita va ya erowundini
But only to find out later
That va gwaze umakhelwani
Amagenge athi aya phanda
Ekasi lam' uvhaya nho nho!
Izi ngamla zi scared to come here
Cuz they are scared of car hijacking
The course leant by every young ghetto boy

In this ghetto township
When you walk down a dusty street
You feel the beat of vulgar kwaito tunes
aMajita smoke ganja
Life is rough and tough
In this ghetto townshit!

When ngi vhaya elokishini,
Called ekasi lama kasi
I see the youth wearin' the Italian shoes
Questions gyrate in ma' mind ukuthi
Why they wear expensive labels
While they sleep in the leaking shacks

Anger flows through ma' veins
Reporting the sting in ma' mind
Cuz the hungry stomachs of these kids-
Make me sick
The innocent kids
Left with a shack by their mother
Who died of aids on da' New Year's Eve

If wishes were horses
I would wish to be Bill Gates
Maybe I would help them
And build these poor creatures a house
Somewhere in Ebony Park
And send them to school in Oracle
They might become powerful citizens
Or kanjani?

In this ghetto township
Black person enjoy speakin' street lingo
Ke mo kasi mo
You see men sittin' together
Drinkin' umqombothi
While women gossip

Those who live in suburbs say
This place stinks
Balebala gore ba tswa kae
Being black is by knowin' your roots
And not forgettin' your background

In this ghetto township it's where
You enjoy skopo le sebete
It's hip and happenin'
Le di tsotsi di swara poo
Bo mamazala ba tshisa dinama
Thugs sell Taiwan,
A cosmetic name given to a fast drug
Placed in the kota
Sold for school kids
During lunch break
In the ghetto schools

We eat past-sell-by-date bread
And we don't use a doom to kill cockroaches
Just a shoe
Only if I had a choice
I would move out
Of this Township
Maybe I would eat fresh bread everyday
Somewhere in the northern suburbs
Where our leaders live
With their computer whiz kids
Warming themselves
With electric blankets
And speak
i'sngamla day-n-day-ou
with their coconuts kids

In this ghetto township
Toilets stink like a dead decaying dog
Politicians only come here
When it's election time
They always arrive
Carrying huge bags
Full of empty promises
"We will build you clinics'
Clinics without medications?
'We will build you houses'
Houses smaller than the smallest toilets?
'We will build you a better bridge'
Maria & Nokia were swept by water before the bridge was erected!

I have no radio
But I heard a scream of a little child
Raped by her uncle
Innocent girls broken-off-of their
Virginity every weekend
The reward of drinkin' n' kissin'
Maybe the prize of wearing the miniest of miniskirts
In this township

Ghetto guyz who owns taverns
With chains all over their necks
They speak beautified street lingo
To impress their stupid girlfriends
Who are young enough to be their last bornz

Here I never followed ma' cultural beliefs
Cuz I was never taught 'respect'
But the old ones said:
Ka gore sehlare sa musi ke go katoga
I would also like to move out of this tight corner

Ghetto Township niggaz
Killing and stealing is their career
They smoke, sniff, drink and provoke
Still they reason not
That is da' reason they kill
And never regret
They attend parties with the police officers
And well known politicians

They show seven phezulu
And six phansi
I tradition ya se kasi
Hunger and poverty
All niggaz survive
In this Ghetto Township

Poverty brings us together
Va maseve va xavisa swifaki na mabanana
Va oxa na ticondzo hi five-bobo each
We proudly speak our languages
To live to tell the tale
In this ghetto township
You should be fit to survive

Amajita speak in tongues
While the chicks pierce their tongues
The week-end rocks
M'authi ya spina ikara
Ku shayiwa' spinza ne zolo
Tshisa nyama braais ma' soul for supper
Every Saturday evening
At the Busy Corner

Linking shacks
Represent ma' present sorrows
Though it is a blaze of shame
This is ma' Ghetto Township
I was born & bred here
In da' Ghetto Township

Being born and bred
In this ghetto township
I learnt to speak the truth
Yes, I spit the truth
And discard the lies
Some say I utter nonsense
For I boldly say
"Township is hell on earth"

In this shantytown
Empty stomachs
Cry out of starvation
And whisper poverty
From their linked shacks

In this Township
Poverty is pronounced liberty
But through my poetry I state reality
And forget about who holds the authority

Layers of dreams already boycotted by ma' inner conscious, a vagabond
It sees reality
With the availability of poverty
I smell poverty,
And caress the presence
Of poverty
I hear the echo of dearth's sound
Bitter cries!
Through my poetry I spit reality
And forget about who holds the authority

In this Township folks know no liberty
Cuz hunger is a human slaughter
Look them pointless and penniless
In their leaking shacks
But still they put a cross on a ballot paper
Every five years
Voting for the bigger party
Endorsing one party state
Through my poetry I state reality
And forget about who holds the authority.

Fragile heart beats without hope
Intelligent brains
In deep thoughts
For a sparkling future
Future blinded by a daze of poverty
Through my ghetto poetry I only state reality
And forget about who hold the authority
I speak the truth
I spit the truth
I speak the truth
'Township is hell on earth'

Wa tlava mus' cleaver
Lights shine brightly
Brighter than the way they are supposed to
A poem of interest it's what I recite

I wanna tell you about my background
Joburg, Jozi, Gauteng, Maboneng!
It's where I am from…
There lights shine like stars
You can ever think of…

Egoli ku lapho ziwa khona
Each street is crowded
Like F.N.B. Soccer Stadium,
Which is located in this glamorous city
I mean the city of gold
Ka Sizulu bare Egoli
Damn there is so much
To tell you about it
So many townships
Surround this dangerous city
I'm talking about amakasi
Lapho ngi phuma khona
Now let me tell you about ekasi lam'
Tavern after another
Ziw a 24 hours
Sgubu waya-waya ,
Weekend special
What do you think about?

Lend me your ears
And let me tell you
About ikasi lam'
Meal after meal
Ku ya vhalwa ngo eight
Twelve- hour-service
Everyone's favourite
Bread plus fried potato chips
Mangole , Russian, Vienna
Hey, wena!
Special le cheese
Ke kota ntate!

Chicks and dogs
Move up and down
As if they are in a beauty contest,
Cuddling and hugging
Each other
Ke ma'authy le di cherry tsa bona
Abusing each other with
The famous wet kisses
On the dark streets
Of this ghetto township

At the corner the zol smoke
Causes air pollution and tb
Black Label causes havoc
Esan' i metropolice
They disappear like
ba spanisa chovo
Se ku nuka i dust
i Chuck tailor!
But it is a best sneaker
For abolova
While the Italian Cavella shoes
Is a favourite number one for amabutjwa.

That's the place I live in
Ku se kas' lam
It will never change
Li yo hlala li njhe
Just like the late Brenda Fassie said:
'Ngo hla ngi njhe'
Hayi ngi hi nja

Jump one street
At the corner
Zisha waya-waya
The gamblers have gathered in numbers
To make money
Ba khanda u cash
Hey, pop!
Hey, five plus two!
Ooh, six five!
The dice roll on and on
On the brown hardboard
Candles are still flaming
Late at night
To retrieve visibility
Ka da you become broke
In a minute
While at the same minute
Someone is getting richer
You snee/ooze you loose
That is the game baba!
You win some
You loose some
They gamble-up until at dawn
Waya-waya, non-stop!

Wa lahla ka 'utabola
Tsotsis are all over da ghettoes
Izinja za khona
Ne'ikhokho za khona
They bridge 9mm
As if they bridge a toy gun
Gun-fight is their favourite game
They give one another
Pathetic nicknames
Such as "Scroof"
"Okapi na bo bra Sparks!"
They spark fire
It's life in the ghetto!
What can we say?
It's hard to live
But it's easy to survive

M' pen runs out of ink
Let me take the red one
Usually used by abothitsha
To let the story live
On paper for ever and ever

Heita da ?
Ek praat jou taal
Ghetto Township lingo
Mamela jita
I feel the vibe of ghetto rainbow
Kere nna,
I am a linguist
I twist ma' tongue
Like abomrepa
Preaching hip hop ekasi
Through their hip hop jargon
Ngitshi mina
Ngiyatiqhaba nge lwati lwam
Phela ngi muswati mbamba
Ngi tshetsha sona
Le si phuma esqojeni
Sa se kuseni
Gepha ngi buya ekasi
Kere nna ke mojapere
Empa ke tswa
Ko Ghetto Township
Bashanyana bare ke ko kasi
Entleik mfowethu mamela
Ku se kasi laa
Uya ngi frustana
I life ya lana
It is just flowin' like
I vhati
Izinto za mzukwana
'Tsotsi Taal'
That's the way
The way of life in rainbow ghetto township



Ellen said...

I love this poem, are you still looking for sponsorship for publication?


magaza said...

The ghetto township poetry like this should be made available all youth and leaders altogether. And should be incoporated into the school curriculum. This a reality.

Nkateko forget Chauke said...

what a nice poem

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