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“Life is made of contrasts, that’s what gives it colour”

This was the phrase given as a starting point in our creative writing group at the weekend.

I wrote the first poem and my friend Dale Taylor wrote the second.

A home, made of cardboard and dirty blankets, a sooty spot for the blackened kettle

Big hugs

A warm, genuine welcome.

Smart restaurant, sea view, white tablecloths, delicious but expensive fish

A nod of the head

A stiff, polite, required welcome.

A conversation with a friend at the traffic lights

Selling his handmade jewellery

Snippets of his life: the pitfalls, the disappointments, the hopes.

A conversation at a party

wine glass in hand, taking in the view

Light superficial conversation: A new car or house, ‘that’s a pretty dress’, blinkered

This is Cape Town life.

Contrasting lives

Contrasting temperature of relationships

Contrasting depth of conversation


And colour


The regal mountain and the Cape flats.

The people who live on the mountain,

And the people who live on the flats.

Massive houses, empty part of the year;

Corrugated iron huts, brimming with people.

People behind security systems,

People living in community.


South Africa has the largest inequality quotient in the world.

Apparently the demographics and proportions of income levels in Cape Town pretty much reflect that of the world as a whole. We have the privilege of seeing the real situation. Others aren’t exposed to the poverty that exists and therefore can be lulled into a false sense of security and comfort. I like this city of contrasts, of colour. It’s real.

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