even students (from Amsterdam)

even students
from Amsterdam
showed up
to donate books
and equipment,

like those Cubans
who selflessly come
to help build democracy.
since some of us have tired.

though we go on
about Ubuntu and the like
posturing and grandstanding
faithfully for the sound-byte
(we are a caring nation)

even students
from Amsterdam
assisted John Nicholson,
and his backyard library
is bursting with books.

out Lavender Hill way,
a place cruelly so named
by the apartheid regime
where there is lavender
in spite of and de
Siyafunda we are reading out Lavender Hill way
spite itself

but the city fines him
for an illegal structure
when all around there is
crime and abuse
of women and children,

and our grade 4s
8 out of 10 of them
do not read at the level
they’re supposed to.

should the city, beloved
itself, not be fined?


we are reading
out Lavender Hill way

John Nicholson was heralded
a hero when he converted
the garage in his home
into a community library

we are reading
tons of books there
(financed by a donor)

it is popular with children
in the gangsta-neighbourhood
flocking in there to read
and to do their homework

kids can find anything
from fairy-tales to encyclopaedias
(I see Mr. Nicholson posing
with my favourite delightfully
illustrated English Dictionary

bought for my very own
self-indulgence, edification,
and general flaunting around.
I guard it quite jealously)

we are reading
out Lavender Hill way
whilst parents are not taking
their children to libraries
and are not buying books

(Khayelitsha parents marched
for norms and standards)


are you?