Nightfall in Soweto by Mbuyiseni Oswald Mtshali
How have two poems confirmed or altered your views and feelings?
An Abandoned Bundle and Nightfall in Soweto are both veracious poems that have enlightened me about the poverty and anguish suffered in South Africa, as well as the desperation that people in these places suffer.
These poems convey life in third world slums, and the brutal, dangerous situations that people endure.
In An Abandoned Bundle, Mtshali recounts his discovery of an abandoned child, on faeces and garbage, attacked by wild dogs. Mtshali begins the poem with very soothing image of “morning mist” over a “white city”, however this is quickly distorted by the harsh, graphic simile of “thick yellow…pus” (smog) “oozing” from the city. This is a very effective simile used by Mtshali where he compares a city where people live, to that of a gruesome contaminated wound, which effectively describes the conditions these people suffer.
Mtshali’s discovery of the abandoned child, disposed on a pile of “human dung”, surrounded by “scavenging dogs” is a jarring way to introduce the poem. The metaphoric description of the red blood stains on their muzzles and throats highlights whatever they are eating must be alive, affirmed by the phrase “squirming bundle”. This is an abhorrent situation for a newborn, and contrasts the traditional image of babies lying in a crib surrounded by loving family and friends. Mtshali makes an ironic allusion to the nativity - “Oh!, Baby in the Manger”, to magnify its violation.
The mother is illustrated as an “angel” with delicate diction and imagery, “her face glittering with innocence…heart as pure as untrampled dew”. This positive description depicts...
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...ys that he ultimately no longer wants nightfall to exist. This is a very desperate, almost metaphysical impossible situation. The gives me an understanding the true fear that Mtshali feels under the night skies of Soweto.
The poems I have read and analysed have both confirmed and altered my views and feelings towards developing countries. Mtshali has uncovered the brutal truth of life in slums through the poems An Abandoned Bundle and Nightfall in Soweto, which makes me understand the fear felt my people living in slums.
Mtshali has experienced both these scenarios, witnessing the dogs scavenging the baby, and the traumatic nightfall in Soweto, these first hand experiences give the poem veracity.
These poems have altered my views on poverty and the fierce conditions that people in developing countries live in and makes me grateful for what I have.
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