Today I am broken (A true story)

Warning: Words and scenes related to violence and aggression contained in article.


I wake up and look
To my beloved
Country of birth,
In turmoil.
6000 miles away.

A man, erstwhile
A president,
Trailblazed a path...
Of corruption and fraud,
Moral and financial
Coffers emptied.
Sentenced to jail:
15 months.

Protestors march.
They loot,
They riot.
They come to destroy.
Protesting incarceration
Is the excuse,
The cloak they hide behind.

Shattered glass
In every unkept pavement crack.
Smoke billows spew,
From malls and factory hats.
Burnt out,
Cars litter the road.
People lie...
Dead by it's side.

Anarchy reigns.
Gunpowder lingers in the air.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

Another volley rattles.
Men and women scatter...
Into the red mist of night.
Trolleys brimming,
With the spoils of their hunt.
Homeward bound.

An old man cowers
In the sanctity
of his bedroom.
He hears the Zello chat.
THEY might be coming back.
Shops exhausted,
Are homes next...
On the shopping list?

A man,
The President,
On the tv.
To a nation
Under fire.
The army will deploy...

But, there is no State
of Emergency.
Politics at play...
Once again.
This evening,
Madiba turns in his grave, and I...
I cry...
For my family, for my friends,
For my beloved country.
For she is broken.

This evening,
I lie...
6000 miles away,
With one eye and one ear
To my phone.
Alert to it's constant beep.

I am so tired
Of the corruption.
Tired of the ineptitude.
Tired of the hatred.
Tired of the violence.
Tired of the futility.
So very very tired...

But this evening,
I am broken...
And I cannot sleep.

Copyright asserted 12 July 2021 Samantha Smith


I share this poem with you; my thoughts on the chaos and destruction that has consumed South African provinces today and throughout this evening, and is still ongoing. I live in the UK and haven't been able to work today. I am unsettled and constantly distracted by the needless aggression swallowing my homeland and the fear for my loved ones. So, I haven't read much, curated much or commented much today...on anything. It didn't feel right. But, I needed to write this to do something. To say something! And I found it cathartic in a way to express my feelings.

My father is the man in the bedroom in this poem and I can't even begin to imagine his deep rooted sense of vulnerability and fear. I feel so helpless and I am so worried for his safety and that of my family and close friends who are in a real lockdown fight to protect their lives and their homes. The local communities are standing up to the rioters and looters but the fight is far from over and they are very outnumbered. I am on the Zello app which is a kind of walkie takie/CB radio style phone app, listening in to the constant messages in the community, the calls for help, the responses, the constant swing between calm and storm. I am also on a number of local community whatsapp groups monitoring the situation so that I can do what I can to help my family from afar. Please pray with me, and if you don't believe in a higher being, at least send positive thoughts for a nation and people in need of your strength.

Blessings everyone.

Photo credit: David Geib

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