A poem dedicated to Sharanjeet Shan
Published: March 6, 2017


for Sharanjeet Shan

i. Feisty

 “By the third year of school

all their inborn and creative joy

is knocked out of our children.”

Blake’s schoolboy’s a bird in a cage,

I reflect, and Serote’s black boy

becomes a docile cigarette, burning;

Mtshali’s lad swings in his problems;

Duiker’s Azure learns his things

on Cape streets, and in the beds of men.

We still get it wrong, on such scale.

“Their work is derivative, driven

by artless ideas of accuracy.

And it’s too easy to slap down

tedious administrative yokes. Our kids

grow confused, and are uncreated.”

“Yet learning,” bluntly, she enlarges,

“is their right.  Each single person

who denies education to children

‒ specifically a teacher ‒

commits a crime,

and should face the law’s charges.”


Today I think of her:

at ten thirty the children are already dismissed,

milling around, learning nothing

but disrespect:

for themselves, for their teachers,

for each other, for the grounds, the environment,

the timetable, their learning:

the poor young groundsman takes us on a tour

of his ineptitude, pointing out elements

of shame: and the great pile of broken desks

left to weather in the sun, and the rain .  .  .  .

One child greets me, “Hoe’sit, oubaas?

and seems to say everything.

iii.  Mercurial

There’s energy in the school air

that’s not focussed, or creative:

I can’t catch it when I’m there

treading the morning grounds

‒ some hopeful Friar Lawrence, ill-fated,

longing to untangle things, easy and slow,

and, oh, to mentor somehow

the wild misdirected, loveable, loyal,

the tragic and ardent Mercutio.

Brian Walter


Mandela Day – Rise UP Against Hunger Event

Mandela Day – Rise UP Against Hunger Event

Dear Colleague’s  We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for putting in their 67 minutes for Mandela day on Friday the 15th July 2022. It is without a doubt that UBS SA with the Maths Centre team made an impact. We...

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