Poetry: Forced Removals, Township Life

The three poems that follow focus on forced removals, and the way they fragmented communities and livelihoods. ‘Promise!’ describes how new love was broken when people were split up into different townships. ‘The Start of a Removal’ captures the violent and sudden nature of a forced removal, while ‘Living in a Flat in Eldorado Park’ explores the difficulties of life in a township.

Promise!

Poet: Mafika Pascal Gwala

The Start of a Removal

Poet: Sipho Sepamla

The removal had started.

Questions on ‘Promise!’ and ‘The Start of a Removal’

  1. How did Apartheid affect the life of the person speaking in ‘Promise!’?
  2. ‘The Start of a Removal’ hardly tells us anything about the removal itself. Why do you think this is?
  3. ‘The Start of a Removal’ focuses on a neighbourhood in the early morning, getting ready for the day ahead. It only mentions in the last few lines that the community inhabiting the neighbourhood is being forcibly removed. What does this holding back of important information in the poem tell us about the effects of forced removals on families and communities?

Living in a Flat in Eldorado Park

Poet: Fhazel Johennesse

Questions

  1. Describe the challenges of living in Eldorado Park raised in the poem.
  2. What do the descriptions of the other people in the poem tell you about life in this community? Is it hard or easy? Give reasons for your answer.
  3. Do you think the speaker is sincere when he says life here is “not bad at all”? Why or why not? Why do you think he says that?