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GCSE: Tatamkhulu Afrika: Nothings Changed
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Tatamkhulu Africa's biography
- 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 He was a member of the African National Congress. He was arrested and forbidden to write or publish anything for five years
- 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 He was born in 1920 and died in 2002.
Things you need to know about 'Nothing's Changed'
- 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 Nothing’s Changed is very tightly controlled and is written in the first person.
- 3 There are six stanzas. The sentences can be one stanza or two words long which creates a rhythm.
- 4 Imagery includes wasteland, the restaurant and the working man’s café.
How effectively do Tatamkhulu Afrika and Chinua Achebe both convey their feelings and attitudes towards society?
Afrika's poem, "Nothings Changed," is about the life of coloured people in South Africa. He also talks about the minor differences between the black and the white community in the road and the caf�. Achebe was born in Nigeria and is also well known for his novel and poetry writing. He studied English Literature at the University of Ibadan. When civil war broke out in 1967 his friends were severely punished. This is reflected in the poem when he talks about Belsen concentration camp. The theme of his poem, "Vultures," is about a family of vultures that scavenge for food and then changes to describe the Commandant at Belsen Camp, a concentration camp during the Second World War.
- Word count: 1525
In the following essay I will endeavour to compare the two poems. Nothing changed by Tatamkhulu Afrika and An Old Woman by Arun Kolatkar. I will specifically look at the theme as well as relationship between people in their environment.
The voice of the poem is the poet's voice and it is angry in tone. This continuous through out. The deep anger he feels makes him want to destroy the restaurant - to smash the glass with a stone, or a bomb. 'Nothing's Changed' is an angry poem. It was written in the 1960s, when South Africa's policy of apartheid (or separate development) the government declared District 6 a 'whites only' area, and began to evacuate the population. Over a period of years the entire area was raised to the ground. Most of it has never been built on.
- Word count: 1255
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
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
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
feet are seen treading on the stones, as the same clothes are worn apart from the shoes which are white, the change from man to boy is quite subtle and hardly noticeable to the audience but quite effective because if it is noticed it gives the viewer an idea that the film is going to alternate between man and boy throughout the film like he is looking back on his life. The alternation between man and boy not only continues throughout the film but it becomes more obvious, maybe this is because 'boy again' is not mentioned until the end and instead of just springing it upon us, the director has decided to gradually show it to us.
- Word count: 2609
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
In the first verse the girl tells us all the work she had to do for her master. The last line: '...and I scrubbed till my hands were raw' is probably most impressive. The girl is only seventeen years old and the usage of the word 'raw' strongly describes her suffering. As a whole this verse only focuses on what physical work she was expected to do. The next verse goes on to show the distinct contrast between the lives of the rich and the poor. She initiates an argument about the fairness of the social system that in 1800s is considered out of question.
- Word count: 1430
Now there were no fires to put out so the firemen had to be given a new role: "And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes." Their new job was to, instead of put out fires, start them to burn books because books were thought to corrupt and distress people so the government decided they needed destroying, and reading books was made against the law: "'Did you ever read any of the books you burn?'
- Word count: 402
He sees a new restaurant that is built in the area, which is expensive, stylish, exclusive, with a guard at the gatepost. But then he thinks about the poverty around it, especially the working men nearby, where people eat straight from a plastic tabletop. This makes him reflect that despite the changing political situation, there are still huge inequalities between blacks and whites. Even though South Africa is supposed to have changed, he really knows the new restaurant is really 'whites-only'.
- Word count: 951