Township Angels


The informal settlement comes alive with fleeting images
Embedded in the memory of the unseeing retina
Under a blackened sky filled with puffs of smoke
From bruised bottom lips battered by fury and fun
Covered in make-up of mini-skirted temptation
Under a lamp-post piercing the cloud of uncertainty
With a handbag of condoms, flirting with the angel of death
Who scatters HIV like pumpkin pips rolling off the roof
Washing down gutters and racing on in the deluge
With yesterday’s blister pack of left-over ARVs
That lands a block away for another angel
Winged with maroon epaulettes, saying serve and save
By breaking through barriers of silence and separation
With a message of hope that outweighs moans of despair.

Memories of a visit to Masiphumelele stirred by seeing visually impaired artist, Rachel Gadsden's depiction of Khayelitsha at the South Bank Centre, London.

September 2012

A street corner in Masiphumelele, Western Cape