He was born in Sophiatown,
or Alexandra, I am not sure,
but certainly not in Soweto.

He skipped school
during playtime
to hock sweets
peanuts, shoelaces,
pilfered in town,
caddied at the golf course.

He can write –
Only his name;

He can read –
The World:
‘Our one and only paper.’
The Golden City Post –
murder, rape and robbery.

He has served time
at the ‘Fort’.
Prison is no shame,
just as unavoidable
and unpleasant
as going to a dentist.

He’s a ‘clever’
not a ‘moegie’;
he never says baas
to no bloody white man.

He wears
the latest Levison’s suits
‘Made in America’;
from Cuthbert’s
a pair of Florscheim shoes
‘America’s finest shoes’
He pays cash
that’s why
he’s called Mister.
He goes for quality, man,
not quantity, never –
the price is no obstacle.

His furniture is
from Ellis, Bradlow’s, exclusive.

Nothing from the O.K. Bazaars
except groceries
and Christmas toys
for their kids.
‘Very cheap!’ says his wife.

Yes, his wife –
Also born in the city, Orlando!
she’s pretty,
dresses very well :
costumes from Vanité or Millews.

She’s very sophisticated,
Uses Artra, Hi-Lite
skin lightening cream,
hair straightened,
wears lipstick
a wig, nail polish:
she can dance
the latest ‘Monkey’.

He married her
after he had fathered
two kids
to prove her fertility.
There’s the occasional
domestic quarrel:
he punches her
a ‘blue eye’
to show her
he’s the boss.

He takes another cherie
to the movies
at Lyric or Majestic.
They dine at the Kapitan
and sleep at the Planet.

Maybe they go
to a night session
in a posh shebeen:
jazz, booze
knives and guns.

The wife sees
a ‘nyanga’
to bring her man back home.

He runs a car –
‘60 Impala Chev.
Automatic, sleek

He knows
he must carry a pass.
He don’t care for politics
He don’t go to church

He knows Sobukwe
he knows Mandela
They’re in Robben Island.
‘So what? That’s not my business