May 1, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Jan Truter photo



Athol Williams




By Design



Born with tattoos, the newsreader announces –

a baby is born covered in blue ink scratchings


up and down its chubby arms, across its chest and back,

around its flopping neck, even on the newborn’s face;


direct from the womb with crude markings cut into its flesh,

marks of gangs, stripes inherited from family, from place.


Policemen immediately arrest the thug, cuffed

with a blue ribbon, umbilical cord still dangling.






Devil’s Trade



Every day before the sun, KwaNdebele’s exports leave – herds

of black men and women in convoys of dirty white buses.


Every night after the sun, they return – the white buses, but not

the men and women, only their dirty black bodies.




KwaNdebele was a homeland created by the apartheid government in South Africa for the Ndebele people. Under the guise of independence, it served as a source of labour for South Africa’s mines, factories and homes.







Athol Williams

My poems have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and I’ve published 4 collections of poems and 5 children’s books, as well as my autobiography, Pushing Boulders: Oppressed to Inspired which tells the story of growing up during apartheid in South Africa and going on to earn masters degrees from 5 of the world’s top universities. More about my publications.

I have a passion for reading and education personally, and I recognise the vital role education plays in the pursuit of freedom and human development, hence my involvement in social change through education.  I co-founded Read to Rise, an NGO that promotes youth literacy in under-resourced communities of South Africa, and seeks to inspire children to want to read.

I grew up in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, and I’ve lived in Johannesburg, Boston and London.  I currently split my time between Oxford and Cape Town.

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.