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GCSE: Tatamkhulu Afrika: Nothings Changed

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Tatamkhulu Africa's biography

  1. 1 The poet spent his childhood classified as 'a white' when he was growing up in South Africa. When he was a teenager he discovered he was half Egyptian and chose to be reclassified as 'coloured' under Apartheid.
  2. 2 He was a member of the African National Congress. He was arrested and forbidden to write or publish anything for five years
  3. 3 The poet used to live in a multi-cultural area called ‘District 6’. Under Apartheid the government decreed it was a 'whites only' area. All of the non white inhabitants were evacuated and their houses were burnt down.
  4. 4 He was born in 1920 and died in 2002.

Things you need to know about 'Nothing's Changed'

  1. 1 Nothing’s Changed is autobiographical was written in a time of hope, at the end of Apartheid and shortly after Nelson Mandela was released from prison.
  2. 2 Nothing’s Changed is very tightly controlled and is written in the first person.
  3. 3 There are six stanzas. The sentences can be one stanza or two words long which creates a rhythm.
  4. 4 Imagery includes wasteland, the restaurant and the working man’s café.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Compare the ways poets reveal emotion in Nothing

    In Night of the Scorpion similes are used to make the village seem panic stricken and frightened, unlike the anger shown in Nothing's Changed. On line 8 in uses the simile "The peasants came like swarms of flies". This simile makes it seem like anger and makes the child and the villagers seem panic stricken and afraid. In Nothing's Changed the language helps to show the man's anger and the annoyance that he feels with the people. It says "Hot, white, inwards turning anger of my eyes".

    • Word count: 718
  2. Origins: Island Man and Nothing's Changed

    Language in Island Man is used effectively to convey the man's past origin to present day. For example 'of his small emerald island' This is particularly effective as the connotations of 'emerald' reflect a precious, rare and colourful island. This is later compared to a "grey" and "dull" North Circular to show the clear contrast between the man's origin and where he is currently at now. Further, light language is used which also engages the senses of the reader to portray the island the man loved so much.

    • Word count: 654
  3. Nothing's Change

    We are informed that there are cans scattered about amidst "tall, purple-flowering, amiable weeds". The "trodden on" cans is possibly a metaphor suggesting that the cans are like the black people being trodden on by white people. Overall the area described seems to be unkempt and neglected; people simply do not care for it anymore as the whites do not care about the black people. Afrika see's a "new, up-market" restaurant which is "brash with glass". These two words produce harsh sounds, and the word brash instantly tells us how showy this place is.

    • Word count: 872
  4. Compare the ways in which the poets present people in two of these poems

    Whilst, in 'Two Scavengers', the theme is about social inequality, in which the poet captures a particular time in San Francisco in America, and notices how two pairs of people live completely different lives in the same city. One of the ways in which the poets present people is by using language. Both poets use comparison language effectively to contrast between the lives of the people. In 'Nothing's Changed', Afrika compares the lives of white and black people by using the description of the 'whites only' restaurant and the 'cafe'.

    • Word count: 819
  5. The two poems I have chosen which convey feelings of alienation and frustration that growing up in a hostile environment such as that of today's society are: "The Places Fault" by Philip Hobsbaum and "Nothings Changed" by Tatamkhula Afrika.

    In verse one the poet describes being physically bullied at school by teachers who picked on and caned him because his work was untidy. When he left the school, he was physically and verbally bullied by other children, presumably because he was overweight and Jewish. " A stone hissed past my ear- 'Yah! gurt fat fool!' " The poet uses onomatopoeia, dialect and alliteration to draw attention to the stage of events and to show how miserable he was. In verse two, ragged street children 'urchins' accuse him of being cowardly, although he appears able to defend himself against them by shouting swear words at them.

    • Word count: 984
  6. Please don't use the computer will be back soon

    Meaning people had to move out of their homes even if they were happy living with other racial colours, and move to their 'colour' zone. A lot of the meaning in this poem is conveyed through the attitude expressed towards its subject; that 'Nothings changed' and that he has lost all hope that things will change. The poem is set in District Six after the apartheid system was abolished. The person in the poem (Tatamkhulu Afrika) is going back to the district he used to live in, until the apartheid system was introduced and District Six turned into an all white area, causing him to have to move from his home.

    • Word count: 840
  7. Scavengers and Nothing's Changed. Two very different poems, written by two very different poets, both of whom write with regards to their own cultures, backgrounds and places of origin

    There's your first shared theme. Then you got the second: hypocrisy. The hypocrisy theme runs strong in both poems. In Nothing's Changed it's that this poem takes place after a law had been passed against racial discrimination. Laws change. Attitudes don't. There may not be a sign on the door denying the young boy entry, for it is an unwritten law that he is rebelling against. He is rebelling against the attitudes of the people inside the resturant. With Scavengers it is the entire American Dream that is called into question and shown up to be what it is: a lie.

    • Word count: 915
  8. Compare 'Nothing's Changed to 'Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes', showing how the poets reveal their ideas and feelings about the cultures and traditions that they are writing about.

    The poem also tells us the separations between the rich and poor. The poem 'Nothing's Changed' talks about the separation between the whites and the blacks and how the whites usually treat the black people. The tone in 'Nothing's Changed' is very angry and violent, to show the poets attitude to the fact that nothing has changed. His ideas and violent feelings are revealed in his tone. He shows a very bad attitude towards white people. The tone can be seen as that of a resigned way, as if he knows that it almost too much to hope that things can change.

    • Word count: 769
  9. 'Nothings changed'

    In stanza 1, Afrika clearly builds up a sense of his anger at the continuing injustice. As he walks through District six, once so familiar to him, he feels an outsider. He begins his poem with short monosyllabic words, 'small round stones', which adds a feeling of sharpness to the tone which suggests his anger. In addition, the onomatopoeia word 'click' emphasises his anger because of his sharp aggressive 'ck' sound. Secondly he begins to use harsh and aggressive words, for example the word 'thrust' is a very harsh and unwelcome word, and it sounds very violent and aggressive.

    • Word count: 595
  10. Nothings Changed

    Through this stanza we discovered that district six is kept a shambles "into trouser cuffs, cans, trodden on." This means that no one really cares about it anymore. Another factor mentioned are the purple weeds. The color purple is often referred to as dried blood (hence there must have been a massacre). The scattered rubbish and the purple weeds (in this case symbolizing death) are all ironic because during apartheid people were being killed/ beaten and people treated the place with no respect.

    • Word count: 525
  11. Comparative Essay, How is the theme of 'identity' dealt within the poems 'Presents from My Aunts in Pakistan' and 'Nothing's Changed'.

    She contrasts the beautiful clothes and jewellery of India with the classic English cardigans from Marks and Spencer. There is a slight pun about her aunts 'requesting cardigans from Marks and Spencer's to further explore this shared culture. The 'radiant' clothes are so carefully described to stress their difference to British clothing. When a glass bangle 'drew blood' it is an image of how she is not used to these items of clothing. She is also drawn to the loveliness of these things, but feels awkward wearing them; 'I tried satin-silken top-/was alien in the sitting-room. /I could never be as lovely as those clothes', (lines 16-19).The girl 'longed for denim and corduroy'', (lines 20-21).This shows she wants to 'fit in' so she has to struggle between two cultural identities.

    • Word count: 607
  12. Nothings Changed - Describe the irony of the title of Tatamkhulu Afrika's poem

    "no board says it is by my feet know and my hands..." As we move on in lines 15 and 16 we get the first impressions of the poet's emotions. The lines are very bitter and show his hatred and anger towards the whites. He is furious for some reason and is about to explode as anger is building up inside him. Even though Apartheid has ended, hatred against the whites has not changed. "and hot, white, inwards turning anger of my eyes" In the next stanza the poet talks about a new, posh cuisine. He tells us that a guard stands at the gatepost and it is a whites only inn.

    • Word count: 886
  13. How do the main characters in the poems "Charlotte O'Neil's Song" and "Nothings Changed" cope with change.

    In stanza two she tells us what a callous and bitter woman her "mistress" was and what differences there are between their life classes: "You dined at eight and slept till late, I emptied your chamber pot. The rich man earns his castle, you said. The poor deserves the gate." Which is saying the rich people deserves what they have earned by getting the castle and the poor only deserve the gate because that's what they have earned. This is also ironic because most poor class people have worked really hard for the money or food they get and the rich are sometimes born into money and are that tight fisted that the no wonder the poor cannot become rich.

    • Word count: 774
  14. What are your impressions of "Nothing's Changed".

    It makes the reader feel like tension is building. The poet tells the reader how he knows he's in district six by "the soft labouring" of his lungs and "the skin" about his bones, also "the anger" in his eyes. Anger and physical tension are very important in this poem. I believe it is mainly what the poem is about. To make the feeling of anger and tension build up more. The poet refers to heat a lot, for example "flaring like a flag." Words like "hot", " white", "burn" and "flaring" are used throughout the poem to keep the anger flowing.

    • Word count: 670
  15. Analyzing Longfellow - The Sound of the SeaBy Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

    The soul is first motivated suddenly towards something, as illustrated when the speaker hears "the first wave of the rising tide." This is a sudden epiphany illuminating the speaker's mind, "a voice out of the silence of the deep," reverberating in the speaker's whole body until it is like the "roar of the winds," making a strong, clear vision to the soul which will inspire it. Longfellow uses a simile (Line 7) for a direct comparison of how suddenly the soul is affected by an inspiration as it springs up "as of a cataract from the mountain's side."

    • Word count: 708
  16. How Do The Two Poets Show You Something Important About The Cultures They Write About.

    'Imagine the drip of it, the small splash, echo in a tin mug, the voice of a kindly God'. The poet shows how wonderful the sound of water is by describing it as 'the voice of a kindly God'. Imtiaz Dhaker speeds up the tone of the poem in the next verse. By doing this it shows the hurry of the water-starved people in the dry season to get a drop of water. This also makes the reader picture the water rushing out and through the pipes. 'The sudden rush of fortune. The municipal pipe bursts'. 'Silver crashing to the ground' this shows the value of water and how sacred t is because it is described as silver.

    • Word count: 972
  17. Other Cultures.

    The poet in the poem is protesting about the inequality that existed within this situation. The poem starts by showing the poor conditions that the black citizens are expected to live in at, 'District Six'. The poet gives the impressions that this area is run down and is a slum the poet shows this by saying 'seeding grasses' and 'cans trodden on'. The poet also says 'no board says it is' this means that the whites haven't said where the black people should live but everyone knows that is where they are supposed to live.

    • Word count: 990
  18. How do the writers of Charlotte O'Neill's Song and Nothing's Changed protest about injustice and discrimination?

    (Line 5). This makes the reader aware of all of the chores she was made to carry out, so that they are able to relate to the experiences she went through. It is written in past tense, which makes it look as though working for her master is a thing of the past, and she will not allow such injustice to happen again. In the next stanza, Charlotte O'Neill protests about the discrimination against servants, by comparing her poor status to that of her rich master.

    • Word count: 866
  19. Compare 'Limbo' with 'Nothing's Changed, showing how the poets reveal their ideas and feelings about the particular cultures and traditions that they are writing about.

    This shows that the blacks feel insignificant and are made to feel as though they are below the whites. The slaves also see the whites as 'dumb gods' who are powering over them but are only winning as they are the majority and hold the power. In Nothings Changed the first stanza shows the 'amiable weeds', which is that some of the black people are being forced into believing that they truly are an inferior race. Also, comparisons are made between the standards of living of whites and blacks as the whites have their 'haute cuisine' whilst the blacks are left with 'bunny chows'.

    • Word count: 776
  20. Assessing the poem Nothings changed.

    People obviously thought this was not fair and many protests against this law were put forward, but unfortunately ignored. When this was happening the poet was a young boy, he felt intense anger for this and rage at this cruel injustice. The historical influences provides this poem with what district six is like today compared to what it was like For example The name of

    • Word count: 498
  21. In what ways were the lives of Africans changed by the policy of Apartheid in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s?

    Act aim was to get rid off passes but instead more passes for non-whites. The 1952 "Native laws Amendment Act" aim was to restricting blacks movement in whites areas. Pass laws were needed to know which race they were. The pass laws meant that people could only live in their own racial area. Black men had to carry a pass if 16 or over. If blacks were found without a pass or wrong area was put into prison and lost their job. There was many minor laws called "Petty Apartheid" was to separate blacks and whites by passing laws to control minor aspects of everyday life.

    • Word count: 910
  22. Write about at least 2 poems in which the author focuses on identity - "Nothings Changed" and "Search for my tongue".

    "Small round stones click And then under my heels, Seeded Grasses thrust Bearded seeds Into trouser cuffs, cans, Trodden on, crunch In tall , purple-flowering, Amiable weeds." The poet first gets us to focus in and imagine the sounds that is making, "small round stones click under my heels," we envisage a mans footsteps but he gives you the adjectives which promote a prescise sound. Towards the end of the stanza we see a slow in reading pace as if it is the poet slowing down towards maybe something perhaps in the next stanza.But in "Half Caste" We can see

    • Word count: 626
  23. Other Cultures and Traditions

    In the second stanza, he begins to get angry. Throughout that stanza there is a repetition leading up to the 'anger of my eyes'. The poet says that there is no board or sign that says he is in district six but Afrika knows he is. Anger at this stage begins to build up inside him. In the next two stanzas it is clear that white people are treated better and that they get all the advantages. All white people live luxuriously; they eat in luxurious restaurants.

    • Word count: 887
  24. Discussing 'Breathless'.

    The title of the poem - "Breathless" tells us that the author is quite exhausted. The opening of the poem explains the title and helps to further the exhaustion of the poet by stating that his heart ached and lungs panted. The words 'dry air sorry, scant' helps the reader to visualize and experience the scarcity and dryness of the air. The line 'why at all' in line 6 gives us an impression that the poet is not sure why he is willing to go through so much suffering and pain in order to climb up the steep mountain.

    • Word count: 867
  25. Compare "Nothings Changed" with one other poem showing how the poets reveal their ideas and feelings about the particular cultures and traditions that they are writing about

    The poet Brathwaite also writes for those mistreated by people in power, in his protest poem "Limbo." It is about slavery and its effects on a society. As the title suggests the poem is related to "Limbo," but whether it means the place between heaven and hell, or the game/ dance Limbo is unclear. Afrika's motivation lay within his life experiences and influences, as did Brathwaite's. The two poets had each experienced forms of power, yet both were able to express and convey the flaws of these authorities in different styles.

    • Word count: 710

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' by Moniza Alvi and 'Nothings Changed' by Tatamkhulu Afrika - Comment on the conflict between two cultures in the poem and the way the poets express this.

    "In conclusion 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' and 'Nothings changed' are similar in the way that they show the problems that can arise when two conflicting cultures meet. The two poems show the problems in different ways. 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' shows this indirectly in the form of a girl opening gifts from her Pakistani relatives. While the poet in 'Nothings Changed' uses a more emotional direct approach to the issue. Brendan Thorne 27/04/07"

  • Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Poet's Use of Language in "Nothing's Changed" and "Two Scavengers in a Truck,

    "To conclude the poem "Two scavengers in a truck, Two beautiful people in a Mercedes", Ferlinghetti describes two classes of people as they stop at a red light. Two garbagemen "on their way home" after finishing their days work, the second set is two high class elegant people "On the way to his architects office." The garbage men's day ends when the young couples begins. The poet compares the two lives and then seems to ask, at the end of the poem - whether America really is a democracy? Tatamkhulu Afrika's poem describes the troubled past of Africa's treatment of colored people, a subject we know the poet fought against. He describes the separation in the past, before 'showing' us the present. He describes how he feels nothing really had changed and his anger makes him want to destroy all the injustice done against colored people."

  • Compare the Ways in which Old Age is Portrayed within "Old Man, Old Man" and "Warning"

    "In conclusion, by comparing these two poems it meant comparing two very different views and ideas of how old aged is portrayed. In 'Old Man, Old Man' old age is like the beginning of the end of life as in 'Warning' Joseph puts the idea that old age is a new beginning for her, and therefore the poem is more optimistic to the reader. There are few comparisons that can be made between the two poems, but there are some in that at old age there is a change of some kind. Graham Conner 11c Miss Kitson"

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