To what extent are the poems, 'Nothings changed' and 'Half-caste', a message of protest.

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To what extent are the poems,  ‘Nothings changed’ and ‘Half-caste‘, a message of protest.

        The two poems, ‘Nothings changed’ by Tatamkhulu Afrika and ‘Half-caste’ by John Agard, both deal with issues of race. ‘Nothings changed’ describes the return to district six after the apartheid in South Africa it presents a voice angry that nothing has changed since the apartheid has been abolished, and that racial segregation still exists. ‘Half-caste’ also communicates a protest against racial prejudice. It questions the use of the term half-caste and promotes more open views. The discontent behind both messages is clear in their tones.

        From the start Afrika sets a bitter and angry mood, “the hot, white, inwards turning anger of my eyes” the use of how deeply resentful he is about what is going on. Also the alliteration of the strong ‘t’ consonant enhances the frustrated quality of this phrase.

        On the other hand ‘Half-caste’ challenges the reader with a mocking phrase “Excuse me standing on one leg I’m half-caste”. This appears to set up a more relaxed atmosphere in first three lines. The poet makes this more assertive with his use of imperatives such as “excuse” and “explain”. Throughout the poem he continues to play with the term half caste but the light atmosphere is soon over ridden by the seriousness of the message.

        ‘Nothings changed’ is written in six main stanzas which draw attention to the harsh reality of district six. Interestingly there is a mini stanza of two lines “no sign says it is but we know where we belong”. this could show the racial segregation enforced and illustrates that although it is not official everybody accepts the unwritten rule.

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        Afrika uses the power of three “and the skin… and the soft… and the hot…” to demonstrate how complete and overwhelming the anger is. Also use of the refrain like phrases “no board says it is” and “no sign says it is” continue to emphasise how embedded the segregation is in society.

        The structure in ‘Half caste’ is less obvious although it has strong implications. For example the unequal line lengths “so spiteful deem don’t want de sun pass/ ah rass” suggest an odd untidiness and imbalance. As in nothings changed Agard uses refrain to reinforce an idea, “explain ...

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