Wednesday, July 20, 2011




It was an Alice in Wonderland world,
A very strange enigma,
In which everything one touched
Was tainted by the stigma.
I was one of the lucky ones,
With a skin of pallid white,
And so I could hardly imagine
My African neighbour's plight.
Not that he really was 'neighbour',
He lived 'over there' somewhere,
And we knew, in a vaguely complacent way,
That the way of life wasn't fair.
We weren't allowed in his township,
So we never came face-to-face,
With the shanty-towns in the distance,
The national disgrace.
Then, one day, I was on a beach
Where Blacks did not belong,
And 'Biff!' it suddenly hit me.....
Apartheid was so wrong!
I looked along the golden beach
Bathed in the sun's bright light
And all I saw were White bodies;
Everyone was white!
I knew I was living in 'Wonderland',
Where Carrol's Alice found
That everything was crazy,
Upsidedown and turned around.
I left South Africa very soon,
Although I loved it dearly,
And I left with selfish motives,
I see that very clearly.
I was part of a strange experiment
That now is history.
But the fact that it ever happened at all,
Is due to folk like me.


           Brenda Bryant

Take your partner! Do-see-do!
Swing her high and swing her low!
Circle her till her eyes are popping,
Never ever think of stopping.
How your petticoats are swirling!
You dazzle us with all that twirling!


Christine said...

Hard to imagine people/we lived like that, but somewhere else on this planet, there is another kind of apartheid, and we will be writing about that too down the road.

That Janie Girl said...

Poignant writing.

When I read "The Help" I was affected in somewhat the same way.

Kim, USA said...

I think some part of world still experience apartheid. Which is sad to know. ^_^


Lmkazmierczak said...

Awesome post♫♪ That you tackled an important subject with rhyme takes talent!

Anonymous said...

It is scary to think of some of the atrocities humans have perpetrated against one another. I'm so glad you've been honest enough to share your experiences.

Judie said...

Brenda, this is a deep and thoughtful piece. I still remember the day that I realized just how wrong segregation was. I grew up in the South.

Cheryl D. said...

What a great poem to tackle such a heavy subject! I bet you're glad that apartheid has ended!

anitamombanita said...

Great piece on apartheid. My hubs lived in S. Africa for 2 years in the 70s. He loved it there in spite of all its problems.

KDL said...

Thanks for sharing this troubling piece of history in an interesting way. Bravo!

Jenny said...

Wow. That is quite a powerful read. I wonder what it would take to truly abolish apartheid from the face of the earth?

And the last little ditty? Gosh, I loved that. My daughter had square dancing at her wedding and that made me think of that lovely event!

Thanks for sharing this!

You are amazing.