The purpose and power of poetry

Ruth HartleyPoetry, Politics, Publication, Songs, Writing, Zambia4 Comments

At school, we learnt to declaim poetry. It was mostly heroic stuff designed to inspire patriotism and action like Felicia Dorothea Heman’s Casabianca about filial duty and Thomas Macaulay’s incredibly lengthy poem Horatius at the Bridge about courage. We weren’t taught to make poetry, and poetry was never going to be about us and our lives. Even though this kind […]

From 1966 District Six in Cape Town to Zambia and back – the start of this writer’s journey

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Family, History, Mpapa Gallery, Politics, Racism, Religion, South Africa, When I Was Bad, Zambia14 Comments

Beyond reconciliation – a virtual walk through different faiths At the start of this week, I was invited to participate in this online event by Nic Paton, grandson of Alan Paton, author of Cry The Beloved Country. Thank you, Nic! The event was organised by the District Six Reconciliation Day Interfaith Walk. It was a healing and uplifting hour and […]

Truth and storytelling, minds, hearts and history

Ruth HartleyHistory, Human rights, justice, Politics, Power, Storytelling, TruthLeave a Comment

There are those moments when something you read strikes you so forcibly that you know you must embrace it and consider it carefully. When this happens to me it’s usually for an important reason. It may throw a clear light on something that’s happening in my life or in life in general that I need to grasp intellectually. It may […]

Attempted murder, political art and Mpapa Gallery

Ruth HartleyApartheid, Art, Mpapa Gallery, Politics4 Comments

Failing brakes We were heading home after collecting our new Ford company car in Johannesburg which was then a dreadful place of police brutality, political protests and necklacing. Our long journey to Zambia was planned via a family stop in the Zimbabwe Lowveld. Clearing customs at Beit Bridge had taken hours so I was giving my husband a break from […]

Rhodes Must Fall

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Politics, Racism, South Africa, Zambia10 Comments

I was 37 when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980 – 40 years ago. I was in Zimbabwe then and I rejoiced at that change. Rhodesia had lasted a surprisingly short time. Now, as I watch the Rhodes Must Fall campaign I wonder if we will learn from this past history if we remove it from our view or if we […]