Nothings Changed is about an area in South Africa during the time of apartheid, when black and white people had different sets of rights and were forced to live separately from one another. Black people were seen as second-class citizens, and had inferior living conditions. The poem expresses the author's anger about how he was treated and how black people where treated. In nothings changed the poet is comparing the Africa from when the whites where in power, to now when black people have power, and nothing has changed in how black people are treated. To make this point he says that all the things are the same and it might have changed the government be the normal black people are still treated the same, like dirt. The writer shows this by using words like “squats” referring to the new upmarket restaurant that opened in his neighbourhood. This is showing us that the restaurant is not welcome their. He says it has a guard on the door, which is as good as saying “whites only in” this proves the point that nothing has changed.
They are treated like filth compared to the wealthy white people in South Africa. He says “amiable weed” meaning that they are friendly and it is like his home this tells us that the writer is black and comes from this region of Africa. He then goes on to say that “but my feet know, my hands know, and the skin around my bones, the soft labouring of my lungs, and the hot white inwards turning of my eyes” in this section the writer refers to “District Six” which is a deprived part of Cape Town. The lines are getting longer in this part of the poem this reflects that the writer is getting more and more worked up and angry about the situation in this place.
He compares the new restaurant to the one down the road where his is more at home. He says “linen falls” about the tablecloths but he compares it to “plastic tables” at the other eating-place. Then he says the café is “in the bone” we now no that he is much more at home in the café than at the fancy restaurant.
This poem makes you think about how it was for black people growing up in Africa with no rights and getting treated like scum. The writer was called Tatamkhulu Afrika and he lived in south Africa and he wanted to speak up about how the black people were getting treated so he wrote poems thinking the government couldn’t stop him yet they still found a reason to put him into jail. The government in South Africa at that time were the only power and if anyone questioned their authority than they would be killed. I would like to think that the country has moved on since then yet some dominant figures are still controlling and not giving people the right to vote or choose their government.
This is a very upsetting poem and made me think about how we as a nation treat people from different racial backgrounds. I think this country has a very good approach to racism and try’s to be a accepting environment for everyone, no matter of race, shape or size.
Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes is about how America is meant to be a democracy, but is not. The writer compares a garbage truck worker to a beautiful couple in a Mercedes. The first verse is describing; the garbage men, how they look, the time and place. It says that the garbage men are wearing “ red plastic blazers” this is a cheap and not very nice way of dressing and distinguishes them apart from everyone else and diminishes them. It also says “looking down on into” this is not meant to be a good thing as it shows that the garbage men are high up and the desired level is in a sporty car close to the ground.
The second verse goes into detail about how the “elegant couple” look. The writer describes the man “in a hip three piece linen suit” this tells us that the couple are richer then the garbage men as there is a direct comparison between the “red plastic blazers” and “hip linen suit”. The author writes “the young blond” this is showing a sign of wealth because only the rich could afford to die their hair blond. Also he says they are “ on the way to his architects office” this shows wealth. Not many people have personal architects and a poor person could not afford to hire and architect.
The third says how one of the bin men is old and has grey hair and the other is the same age as the man driving the Mercedes. The older man was described by saying he looks like “gargoyle Quasimodo” this means he is hunched back and look old and hard done by. The younger one has many similarities with the Mercedes driver as the both have long hair and sunglasses, and are around the same age.
The final verse says how the bin men were longing to be the people in the car and how if things were different they could be. Its also says, “holding the four together if any thing was possible” this is saying that anything could happen if only the bin men had had the same chances and opportunities.
The poem was written to show how America is not a democracy. The young bin man could have had the same chances as the Mercedes driver so this is backing up the point that the country is not a democracy.
Throughout the poem he compares what the rich couple have and what the poor bin men do not. If the country was a democracy and every thing was fair and everyone had the same chances, and obviously they didn’t have the same chances. The theme through out is what some have and what others don’t and this is shown by how the people have different possessions.
Both poems show how writing a poem can express a message to all its readers and show how a good poet can use words to change peoples feeling about everything, and anything. In Nothings Changed the rhythm is very strong and the author repeats the word to create onomatopoeia, to a great effect. Although in Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes the writer doesn’t use rhythm or onomatopoeia, yet it still creates a great poem.