Gert Strydom

Gold Star - 30,073 Points (03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

Zimbabwe Frightened You - Poem by Gert Strydom

Zimbabwe frightened you,
Zimbabwe where we could be alone
and in a way I felt at home.
The dark black faces,
the savagery, hunger
and wretched poverty
were more than you could take.

You panicked thinking
that the unruly young teenagers
and so-called war veterans
would not just drive
the farmers away,
but were sharpening
their Panga-blades
even for white tourists.

Everywhere you looked,
you saw death, destruction
and black rule taking its toll
and the ever hungry
begging people
was like a prophecy
of what in the future
may be waiting for us
at home.

Visiting the places
we had dreamed of,
the Zimbabwe ruins,
Mana pools, Kariba lake
and the Victoria falls
was like a nightmare to you.

Even the African art carvings
of people and animals
and rural paintings
of the Ndebele people
hardly caught your eye
and you would rather die
than stay a day longer.

African dancers screaming
around a fire
and dancing like shadows
on the beat
of ancient drums
drove the fear home,
so that you wanted to get into the car.

[References: To Minette, of whom there is just memories. You Hated Spain by Ted Hughes.]

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, August 28, 2010

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