Gert Strydom

Gold Star - 32,647 Points (03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

The Dying Beggar (Refrain Stanza Sequence) - Poem by Gert Strydom

(after C. M. van den Heever)


Cursed is the day for him
and all of life is dim
where he is unshaved and rough with fear in each eye
diffident bashful and shy
while he enters the park the chance of help seems slim
like every other person he expected a better life
but he sleeps in the open during winter and his world is at strive
but at a time he had lived life to its brim
and all of life is dim


He had lost his life and his home
where no one still do to rescue come
where moments he lingers at cigarette buts do shiver
struggle on with a very high fever
and for years endlessly now he did roam
his need for food and medicine is great with pain in every breath
he lurches at the edge of death
his existence has become painful and gruesome
where no one still do to rescue come.


Memories bring a beautiful time back
where with great pain he does cough and do medicine lack
and then the hurting recollection do come with disgust
of the Aurora mine bosses that no one can trust
and the police did not those black men track,
he remembers the food parcels at the church
but that was long ago and staving he does lurch
but he does not a person's attention attract
where with great pain he does cough and do medicine lack


The money for eighteen months of work he did not receive
and that he is dying he does perceive,
with affirmative action he could not find any income and it's sad,
worst is the pain of lost of a living, the hurting in his heart does sting bad,
where his life hangs on a thread and they did him deceive
and as a young man he was sent to war,
at a time a wife did him adore
but for years he has waited for it to end as no solution he did receive
and that he is dying he does perceive.

[Reference:"Dood van die bedelaar (Death of the beggar) by C. M. van den Heever.Poet's note: This problem of the Aurora mine has not been settled yet and for some people it will be too late when one day a solution does come:
"The need for aid to workers of Aurora Gold East Rand is stronger than ever, following the recent suicide of Marius Ferreira. Fifty-two-year-old Ferreira, a respected fitter in the mine for many years, gave in to the pressures of ongoing non-payment of salaries over the past 18 months. Taking his own life by drinking ant poison, he passed away at Far East Rand Hospital on March 29, along with the last inkling of dignity and pride he once possessed. A loving father and husband, Ferreira's death devastated those who knew him most of all his wife, Susan. A resident at a retirement village in Krugersrus, Susan's struggle to come to terms with her husband's death has only being heightened by the ongoing struggles that she is now forced to face alone.They went from a comfortable living.Marius earning on average R16000 a month depending on overtime to one of pure struggle, explains a close family member, who prefers to remain anonymous. "They were forced to sell everything. They were forced to move to the retirement village as they could no longer afford the house they were in. They lost their cars and were eventually at the point where they even had to sell their bed linen and cutlery just to put food on the table, " she adds. Ferreia's death appears to have sparked a string of potential suicides, with no end to their seemingly never-ending struggle in sight. Johan Cronje and his wife Chané, together with their three children; aged 11,10 and six; are on the same dark road as Ferreira.Johan having attempted to take his own life no less than three times on Thursday evening. "I was busy in the kitchen when I went looking for Johan. I found a rope tied on a noose already set up outside, " explains Chané. Calming her husband down, Chané kept a weary eye on him through the night not daring to sleep for fear of waking up to find his lifeless body. He attempted to hang himself twice more that night. "We were comfortable once. Never would we have expected to find ourselves in such a position, " says 32-year-old Chané tears threatening to break. A qualified winding engine driver,36-year-old Johan's R18000 salary allowed Chané to fulfil her role as a full-time housewife at their Groot Vlei Village home, caring for their two sons and daughter. Losing their vehicles, furniture, dignity and hope as salary problems persisted. Johan's failed attempts to find alternative work is considered the main reason for his suicide attempts.¦The couple is R48000 in arrears on their home, recently receiving a eviction notice. Chané says that the last payment received from Aurora was at the end of January a meagre R1800,10% of one months salary." The Springs Advertiser Wednesday,11 May 2011.
"Zondwa Mandela and Khulubuse Zuma, accompanied by an entourage of friends and advisers, decided at the five-star Beverly Hills Hotel in Durban in March 2009 to set up a company that would take advantage of laws favoring black investors in mining. They didn't put up any money.Six years later, Nelson Mandela's grandson and President Jacob Zuma's nephew are fighting claims alleging fraud amounting to almost 2 billion rand ($164 million)in a civil case after gaining access to two mines near Johannesburg without paying for them. About 5,000 workers have lost their jobs, operations ceased five years ago, equipment has been sold for scrap — and almost $10 million of gold is missing, court documents show." Biz News June 2,2015
"The high court had in June last year found that Zuma and Mandela, along with their co-directors - Thulani Ngubane, and father and son Solly Bhana and Fazel Bhana - were to be held personally liable for R1.5 billion damages at Pamodzi Gold Mine. Khulubuse is President Jacob Zuma's nephew and Zondwa is the grandson of Nelson Mandela. According to Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann of the high court in Pretoria, all five were reckless and incapable managers whose conduct led to the deterioration and collapse of the two mines.The Aurora directors made their first failed attempt to appeal that decision in September before the same judge, who predicted then that they had no prospect to succeed in another court."Business Report Economy 13 May 2016 Baldwin Ndaba.]

Topic(s) of this poem: life and death

Form: Stanza

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, February 17, 2018

Poem Edited: Saturday, February 17, 2018

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