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Stone Thrower Dreams

Stone Thrower

The crowd hushed when

Out of the shimmering haze

The first armoured car appeared.

You flexed your arm

The crowd waited

Your anger coiled in your palm.

You hurled your stone

Gunfire scattered the crowd

You fell to the ground.

Stone Thrower

What of your dreams?

Only your blood ran free.


The Dream


Across the plains

In twos and threes they came.

Into the earth they dug

They searched for their dreams.

They fought, they conquered

The land they subdued.

By the sweat of their brow

They built their dreams.

They had everything

They wanted it all.

They crushed the dreams of others

Who longed to be free.


Now they dream no more

Stone Thrower

You have taken their dreams.


That Great Day


You stand on an outcrop of burnt rock

You watch the river rushes by in full flood

Your people have no water.


You walk through the shanty town

You see their faith, sense their impatience

Your people wait for their promised homes.


You stop at a fence

You smell the rich land beyond

Your people have no work.


That great day came and went

On one small piece of paper

You cast all your hopes.


Stone Thrower

What of your dreams?

Will you prevail?







I was part of a consultancy team working on a UK funded project to strengthen local government in the Northern Cape between 1998 and 2000, a few years after the ANC was elected in 1994.  There was hope as millions of people cast their vote for the first time but also anguish as the new administration grapple with meeting the people desperate needs and aspirations with little experience and resources.


The poem is based on my encounter and conversation with the young Mayor of a township outside Kimberley with no infrastructure on barren land. One thing he said stuck with me.


“I only know how to throw stones.  Now, I am a Mayor?" 

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