Freedom Street (AShort Story)

Reads: 535  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Want to get rid of these ads?

This is a fictional write exploring life in South Africa. The world celebrated the defeat of apartheid. The question is now, what has changed? To get inside the thoughts of the ghetto is the challenge for this writer. I have taken artistic licence to be a resident of the ghetto. Caution some people may find offence, as the tone at times is sinister and religion is hit too.


I am in your living room, but do not fear, for I am the news that comes with your dinner. Watch as you eat your steak. Another murder and another riot, these townships of violence know no better, and another Emmy is awarded to Cambridge man. The drama is good, shocking to some, but the advertisers smile, the audience is booked and we can look down in disgust because the camera would never lie.

To see this revolution when brothers kill their own with Goodyear necklace and a lynching from mob justice. Are they the enemy within? These eyes of brown that mirrors do not see for poverty is nothing new to Africa, and the hand of government looks on, pleased with the news today, one for the Man. He who lives beyond this smell, this dealer of lies, who talks with serpent lips spouting democracy from poison script, while hidden claws take the food from red cross house.

My Brother Cain, the business man, though bwana would be better for his plans, and me, you know as ghetto man, though secretly you wish to call me by boervolk way. “Never the twain shall meet old boy “is probably best, the civilised way. For us both would kill each other, when you look away.

Criminals I hear you cry, I know what I would do, hang them all and let god sort them out. We are so easy to condemn.
For we have been condemned for centuries, though change is all that you can see, and didn’t Mandela set you free? Ah sit awhile longer and break some bread with me.

Mandela you say. They freed him, and the world saw apartheid fall, but this is a hollow victory to me. I am not part of this. This solution to take my country into western plans. This bourgeois illusion of equality falls on deaf ears, for money walks on the other side of the street. And money will command the way to jail my existence, away from moral values of what should be. Apartheid was not conquered, it moved to a better district. To reign from the minds of the chosen few, where the secret vaults of man's ambition can breed the plans that keep me impaled in poverty's clasp, the decay of their sewers is all that is given , for my presence will always offend them.

And the world will see the word freedom written on these Mandela walls, these walls of tin that once held this black gold of wealth, but only the smell remains for me. And my pagan gods, which you are not worthy to see, are kept behind these shanty doors, the only thing that believes in me. For your God who gave us this cross, this cross that named me heathen, that resides in cathedrals of splendour, for the oppressors of his kin to scheme, these Christian saints who know what is best for ghetto man, preaching forgiveness spewed on their silver platters, but there will be no lick for me. And the sun sets the years over Africa sky and I am still the enemy.

While grown men in filth collect the plastic bottles of wealth’s decay. These bottles filled with western values to change the image of them from me. These scraps of them we fight to own, while croissant and coffee watch from their diamonds in the sky. These buildings built on the glitter of rock that sprawl this coast, hiding the world from me that dwarf the homes that I reside, that confirms my place in your Mandela land.

And Child of Mine they will not play, for pride is in his hands. To recycle blisters behind dollar dreams, the sandal for you and the whipping for them, and the prayers are bought for the market is up and another piece of my country belongs to their coffers, now sailing away to tax haven bay out of reach of me.

But I can walk on spoil heap clay, for all that glitters is gone, stolen from my mother’s womb, and I must hurry for everything is owned, and trespass could be a bullet for me. I cannot get lost for the fence is my guide; a reminder of what lies on the other side, the day I walked with bride under a lover’s moon, now stolen by possession, and my footsteps have been washed away by African violets picked by dollar scissors for a condoms brew to please.

For this belongs to a savage beast that eats the dollars from tourist pocket,
And gorges on food that inflates the price on baby's bellies, for empty pockets are for me.
And still they come to paradise lost and bathe in sun for free. The beach is their play, but to me it is my country's prostitution that has soured this place, this sand of my ancestors where once we sang in celebration to harvests from the sea. And now we watch from behind the fence, with eyes that they would fear, for hate belongs to me, and they will not go too near.

And in the distance The City streets are paved with gold, gold from the heart of this land, the rand is the hammer which will be used to kill me, this force behind the shine, this death squad pill
And within the dead body laying in Morning Street another crime is solved. The morning rush is safe and they can walk in shopping malls and talk of decadence.

But within all the wrong that has been done to me there is a kingdom where they cannot go.
For I live on Freedom street, these streets of brown that comfort me. For he who strays from oils embrace will know the shadow of me. Do not bring your graven idols, those precious things that you cannot eat. These baubles of gold that glitter from necks, that adorn the whores that you possess, for your life is mine to take and your God will not blink for you.

And when they look to find the corpse in this tin of drum. This shanty, this wealth of poverty
They will not find the memory of you. For Africa has dried the blood of better than you.

And when the armoured mercenaries arrive with hidden faces and guns to shoot.
The eyes of Brothers will protect, and fear will lie in Judas heart,
for they cannot shoot all of me.

My god will protect me for he was born with lion’s courage, fought in victory to roam this land
We hunters are the blood and our ancestors the soil. We will rise again, we are Africa,
and elephant and leopard, lion and prey will all know my name.
For I bring freedom to those who share with me. Who sleep the dream of equality?

The jackal’s time is ending; this decay is your last feast and your God that does not blink will know this man who comes from African womb. Know the man who has nothing, but holds everything in his hands, and you, who holds only fear and a grave that bears the cross, bears the cross of the suffering that you gave me.

This God that you all worship who turns his back on ghetto man, for us poor cannot build his cathedrals, we were never ambassadors to his realm, though preacher spouts a camel’s song.
In death he will deny me to sleep in hallowed ground, amongst the thief’s and whores of Country's rape, these epitaphs of marble queens.

This God who sends these plagues of Aids and dysentery. Which would burn me against my wishes?
For the rubbish of the world is fires only worth, and the nights grow cold for me. And if I slipped past your pearly doors, heaven would always question me, an eye for an eye your Bible says and my presence would offend, just as it is on Soweto streets, where only the rich can stand

But in my being I am free, and your values cannot chain me. Fear the child, and fear the man for we are one, and you will sleep with one eye open, for I will always hovers around your dreams.

These eyes of brown will watch and wait, just beyond your sight, below the tree that holds your dreams, that never included me,

For when this land can give no more, you can fly away, back to tax haven bay, but I was born to motherland,
My tribes will rise again; the hills will feel our warrior feet. The pride of man is ours to claim and women will dance in lion’s fleece to honour the culture of my land

For the Mosquito drinks the blood of all and my Africa will see, another day.




Submitted: July 01, 2012

© Copyright 2022 steven cooke. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Facebook Comments

More Historical Fiction Short Stories

Boosted Content from Other Authors

Short Story / Historical Fiction

Short Story / Science Fiction

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Other Content by steven cooke

Short Story / Historical Fiction

Short Story / War and Military