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Nightfall In Soweto - Oswald Mtshali

Nightfall comes like a dreaded disease

seeping through the pores

of a healthy body

and ravaging it beyong repair.

 

A murderer's hand

lurking in the shadows,

clasping the dagger

strikes down the helpless victim

I am the victim.

 

I am slaughtered every night in the streets

I am cornered by the fear

gnawing at my timid heart;

In my helplessness I languish.

 

Man has ceased to be man

Man has become beast

man has become prey.

 

I am the quarry to be run down

by the maruading beast let loose

by cruel nightfall from his cage of death.

 

Where is my refuge?

Where am I safe?

Not in my matchbox house

where I barracade myself against nightfall


I tremble at his crunching footsteps,

I quake at his deafening knock at the door

Open Up!  he barks like a rabid dog.


Nightfall Nightfall!

Why were you ever created?

Why can't it be daytime?

Daytime forever more?

 

a poem I discovered last week as part of my English studies in Year 12, its a brilliant poem and I've already memorized it off by heart!  its so heartfelt and dramatic, it has a lot of imagery and has a story behind it about a black man living in a shanty town fearing dark.   Nightfall is like a representation of all the evil bad things that come out at night.

deleted deleted 26-30 23 Responses Sep 8, 2008

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This is one of the few poems that have remained fresh in my memory over the past seventeen years.
The poem, to me, is a true mental picture of the inhumane apartheid system of administration.
It is well written. The choice of words, the imagery and the metaphor gives the poem a clearer mental picture than a television screen.
"Man has ceased to be" and "In my helplessness I languish" are outstanding. Baletoh, Kete Krachi - Ghana.

Makes me sad each time I read it, it's unfortunate that the events described in the poem really took place.

I studied this poem in high school (in Nigeria) over thirty yrs ago. I have been searching for it until tonight when a friend helped me out.
I wonder what the United States did while the South African people went through yrs of hell in their own country.

This is a poem that evince how south africans suffered in hands of the white beast.

This is the poem that evince how south africans suffered in hands of the white beast.

This is one of the poems that makes me love literature, it is touching. The part i like most is "Why were u ever created? why cant be it be daytime? daytime for evermore.

I had to present this poem when i was in school about 8 years ago.I remember shedding tear as I stood in front of the audience and make my presentation...i remember 'where is my refuge...where am I save' The imagery in this work is so good, maybe because its a true experience of the writer...its well written.

I want 2 say dat this poem is the most heartfealt poem i have ever read.oswald mtshali iz trying to express his feelings about nightfall.the part i love most is the part he said "why cant it be daytime daytime for ever more".marcel ese.lagos,Nigeria.

Oswald's work in the In this poem, was written around the time of apartheid in South Africa. The marauding best represent the powers of the Authority as that time in dealing with ordinary black citizens. the poem passes a lot of depression and agony of the black African not only in South Africa alone, but also all other part of the world were economic slavery and oppression are being dosed to the black race.

Oswald's work in the In this poem, was written around the time of apartheid in South Africa. The marauding best represent the powers of the Authority as that time in dealing with ordinary black citizens. the poem passes a lot of depression and agony of the black African not only in South Africa alone, but also all other part of the world were economic slavery and oppression are being dosed to the black race.

I read this poem back in my days of secondary school...my big sister use to explain it to me then

Like what you see kabiru sani bebeji is my name.The way that i know this prominent poet is in cas kano at all.i was a student of litrature some time we read the poem of this writer,at the time am not like his work because i am not understand what he talk abaut.The day that i started realising the mitshali's talent is the day that i so much love his poems.know i am aspiring to do my first degree in litrature because of analysing the poems and some novels of great writers in order to share my idea in what they have write.Let me say this are some of the poems which am very like the way they are writing,1 on drowing sorrow,2 always suspect,4 nightfall in soweto etc good night.

The most fearful part of this peom is "where do i save? not in my matchbox house. this show the condition man is facing at the hand of massacre

The most fearful part of this peom is "where do i save? not even in my matchbok. this show the condition man is facing at the hand of massacre

yeah this is the best peom i have ever read

i happened to recite the poem in my primary school days, though without knowing the meaning and it earned me the best speaker for that day. But now that i truely understand what it's all about it's touching, being an african. kudos to the writer<br />
<br />
<br />
Abbey<br />
NIGERIA

The poem itself is not entirely complete. a few lines are missing. i studied it in secondary school(some 13years back) it's always been a part of me.<br />
I love those lines which read <br />
"... man has ceased to be man, <br />
man has become beast, <br />
man has become prey...' <br />
it's so touching and it brings a tear to my eye whenever i read it and the import of its full value weighs upon mi soul.<br />
<br />
Ukuwelah Oghie, <br />
Nigeria.

The poem itself is not entirely complete. a few lines are missing. i studied it in secondary school(some 13years back) it's always been a part of me.<br />
I love those lines which read <br />
"... man has ceased to be man, <br />
man has become beast, <br />
man has become prey...' <br />
it's so touching and it brings a tear to my eye whenever i read it and the import of its full value weighs upon mi soul.<br />
<br />
Ukuwelah Oghie, <br />
Nigeria.

The poem is basically about racial oppression, man inhumanity to man, voilence and survival.......

Night, basically, means evil. But, its coming into Soweto, which is a black territory, is the advent of brutality, insecurity, horror, despair, e.t.c. to the blacks in general.<br />
It is a good poem generally, with the choice of words adopted by the poet. And the images combining with imagery, vividly shows the subject matter of the poem..........

Yep, LysKitsune is right. It had the right mood and tone for that type of subject, sad and depressing.

Really puts you into the heart and soul those who had to deal with the terrors of poverty and oppression under Apartheid.

It's kind of mean. CAUSE I LOVE NIGHT. heeh. Why? cause I think it's safe. for me anyways. people are sleeping in my house, so I don't have to worry about anything, which is rare for me. But I love the poem too, it's so creative and the words. they caught my eye the minute I laid on them. Truth is I thought you wrote it. hehe. BRILLANT!!! Bravo to who ever wrote it hehe.