Soweto's children

I wrote this a while back about the Soweto youth riots. I added it to my play "Waste" but just thought I would put it here by itself as well.

The children are singing. Their songs run strong through the streets of Soweto. Their feet, bare and dusty, hit the dirt roads sounding like drums, matching the passion in their hearts. The men shuffle in agitation and fear. Grown men struck pale by the thought of children. Hundreds of children, wanting to say something, wanting to be heard.

There are mutterings and curses shooting between the lines of men like bullets ricocheting on statues. Sweat drips down the marble facets of the soldier’s faces.

The sun burns down, fiery and hot like the children’s defiance. They come. In ragged stitches of clothes they come. Their skin shines, their feet stomp and dance to a passionate song not of our tongue. They are singing. Not our songs, but theirs. Tribal songs that have their roots buried in time. The songs tell of sadness and of restraint. They come. They stand before us dancing... singing... chanting. The men tense.

“Afrikaans is the language of oppression” the children shout, and their dance echoes their words.

The men raise their guns, their eyes fierce and cold.


Red floods the street like the setting African sun. The song, once clear and true, fades in the screaming of the wind…

The End

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