This is a simple poem where a poet depicts his love for South Africa, calling forth praise from the valleys,
the plains, the mountains and the sea, as well as from all the people living therein.
It is, however, poetry with a purpose: to unite the people in fervour for their country. This is not the poet
speaking of his own inner self but rather the poet striking a nationalistic tone.
ABOUT THE POET
Sandile Dikeni was born in Victoria West in the old Cape Province -- today the Northern Cape -- but
would finish high school in the Eastern Cape in what was then the Ciskei.
He made attempts at studying law at both Wits University and the University of the Western Cape but
would eventually receive a National Diploma in Journalism through the Peninsula Technikon.
Dikeni became drawn into student politics and unrest during the dark days of the 1980s, and would spend
some months in prison. It was then he discovered that poetry had a power to move people and could be
used for political purposes.
He began to conduct readings of poetry while in prison. After his release, he would continue these
readings at political and cultural events. He has, however, also appeared on international stages around
He worked as a journalist and became editor of Die Suid Afrikaan, a bilingual political journal.
Thereafter he was involved in radio with the SABC and later became the arts editor at The
His poetry, however, had already found its way into newspapers and, in 1992, his first anthology called
Guava Juice was published. This was soon followed by Telegraph to the Sky.
Initially he was known as a political poet but, after the democratic elections in 1994, he moved steadily into
themes of broader appeal.
His public recitations are always from the heart, never bound to his text and therefore always differing from
the printed versions.
Today he lives and works in Cape Town where he is still committed to poetry, with regular workshops at
the Phillipi informal settlement.
Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?