City Face Blues
In these Jozi streets, one can get mugged in broad daylight while street vendors continue to man their stalls and call out to their would-be customers, while people brush past the crime scene, with others rudely asking you and your muggers to step aside and while traffic clogs up and momentarily eases and hoots and speeds by.
Afterwards, spread out on the cold cement pavement, gasping for air, your body paralysed by shock, this indifferent city continues in its frantic scurry.
Gone are the days when after a mugging a woman with a figure, demeanour and churchly sympathy of a black mother whose heart breaks into tears at the suffering of innocence would leap out of nowhere and douse you with ice-cold water and then with a stern yet gentle voice order you to gulp down the trauma with whatever drops may be left.
Gone are the days when others would gather around you and in piteous murmurs tell others who might not have witnessed your demise about what had happened a few moments ago while pointing in the direction the ruffians fled.
We seem to care less and less about each other and more about ourselves.
What happened to the marvellous and distinctly African spirit of Ubuntu we proudly spoke of while we decried the ravaging of our humanity?
What happened to the “gift” Biko wrote about? The one which he said would come from Africa, “giving the world a more human face”?
The face of this city is inhumane, its character is boorish and its people are a ravenous offspring that feeds on agony and pain …