Bryanston-Johannesburg

Walking in the quiet streets of Bryanston, Johannesburg
Does he belong, yet every day walk the streets he must
Passing runners and joggers and strollers and their dogs
They reflect proof of ownership in their bearings
Nods and glances exchanged amongst them confirm approval
Of one and each, even if no words are spoken
Coded non-verbal certainty speak tons
Of who is part and who is without
They are in, he is out.

Walking in the quiet streets of Bryanston, Johannesburg
Does he belong, yet every day walk the streets he must
Does he belong to the leafy, quiet streets
Where big homes swallow big cars through stern gates
Flowers and lights form majestic rows alongside wall fences
Bearing electric crowns marked ‘danger’ for emphasis
Protecting valuables whose origins question silence
Trees are part shade part shield, of gleaming sky blue pools within
They have it, he has nothing.

Walking in the quiet streets of Bryanston, Johannesburg
Does he belong, yet every day walk the streets he must
Made stranger by looks of interrogation
Even by owners who yesterday he greeted with large toothy smiles
With whose home staff he shares talks and lunches on street pavements
With whose dogs he grins and laughs loudly in fear when they bark at him
Walking in the quiet streets of Bryanston, Johannesburg
Does he belong, yet every day walk the streets he must

The streets where his ancestors called home but worked as labourers
The streets where his parents worked as child minders and gardeners
The streets where he is gardener to three homes, coming and going
The streets where he hopes his children will drive and not walk; dreaming?

By Bunmi Makinwa

April 24, 2014

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s