The Weekly Dissident: Writing against the canon

On the Weekly Dissident today, MPHUTLANE WA BOFELO brings you a poetic contribution entitled “Raising bastards”.


our teachers and priests

scouts & the best

among our parents

played their role

to teach our children

relevant songs & appropriate chants

specific gestures & particular looks

special faces

for specific occasions

how to stand

in salute of the flag or the officers

how to pose for

inspectors & government ministers

& which postures are

in order for national anthem


our pedagogues

& curriculum developers

were very meticulous

about which events

to leave out

due to space

constraints in textbooks

the choice of repertoire

& pitch of nursery rhymes

which intonation

what lyrics

to strike off

the song-books

how to tell

the sound of music

from primitive sound

& how to discern

the aesthetic from the anesthetic

after all this

smart & hard-work

such monumental

civilizational achievements

what is it with our boys and girls?

see how they trade

the accomplished poise

for base moves

& ditch the courtly suit & regal tie

for saggy denims & baggy golf-shirts

what an insult to such a royal sport?

what’s wrong with our children really?

first they wanted

too much clarity

on matters as complex

as the distinction

between a freedom fighter

& a terrorist…

should they even

have raised

such a stupid

question as when

does conscience

call for one

to break the ranks

at the time

when their country

needed them the most

at the borders

(or at least in the laboratories)

all our children needed to do

was to raise high the flag

sing the wonderful songs

we spent so much money & time + energies

teaching them at home

on radio & in homebrewed movies

at school & in the military

the church & our patriotic media playing their role too…

but now our children have the cheek

to ask too many questions

as irrelevant as

the price of war(tanks)

& waffle a lot of gobbledygook

like bread & butter before bombs & bullets

don’t these kids know?

a true nation

defends its bread & butter?

help us o lord!

our kids ask questions about

the food we are eating

we were grateful

to our parents

(and the state & the cooperates)

we licked our fingers

after we ate the food


our kids raise silly queries

rather than appreciate

they have three meals a day

(and some children don’t)

they grumble about

what grain of maize

which stock of chicken

& who owns the fishes in the sea


what kind of audacity is this?

running around

with a can of paint

invading public walls

with funny scribbles

tearing our eardrums

with senseless jabbering


now the bastards

want to stand against the gods

they are writing

against the canon

or my god!

our children

are writing outside the canon

hell no!

this venomous

verbose is neither writing nor rewriting

even un-writing

would be better

we would write back in combat

these rebels write on the hearts

& read from the head

the street & the open

microphone is their publishing space

now they are killing the free market

they are doing away with the middle-man

selling on car-boots and soldier bags

& delivering mouth-to-ear




& city-to-suburb

poet-to-the people


prophet to the masses