Fallist art (in memory of Bongani Mayosi)

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Bongani Mayosi (picture: YouTube)

Fallist art
(In memory of Bongani Mayosi*)

Bongani’s soul, his sister said,
was vandalised, the insults
cut him to the core, he changed,
withdrew, spoke less and less
and killed himself. He suffered
from depression, known
locally as punctured heart.

All you licking, fawning bastards
who saw pure sunlight shining
from the rad-est Fallist arses, why
are you so quiet now? Many deans
became unhinged, the yes-men
fled with blessings and paid
leave after having wrecked
their faculties. Some rectors fucked
off to America, others started
drinking in their dens. And that
is not the worst. You might
think the damage came to
seven hundred million, but
not only the replaceable
was burnt, not simply
part of the infrastructure
lost, the hurt was more
than that.

His soul, Bongani’s sister said,
was vandalised, the insults
cut him to the core, he changed,
withdrew, spoke less and less
and killed himself. He suffered
from depression, known
locally as losing heart.

You Angels of the New Dawn
who butchered your departments
for a Renaissance in Africa, why
are you so what-the-hell on the self-
destruction of a gifted and committed
scientist? Have your latest anti-
depressiva now taken proper hold?
Is that the reason for your barren
smiles and quick-fix catwalk banter
on vile “assemblages of whiteness”?
Is that why you can gaily hack
the Heines, Bachs and Becketts from
curricula – wait for the Mbembes,
Butlers, Lalus – as though they are
makwerekwere, best to be macheted
out of town? Not that the parallel
will strike you as significant in your
fully junked up state of gown.


And me? I’m still digesting
what my colleague friend,
the famous painter, said.
(She sat on that committee
that covered up so-called
offending art: from this fertile
rupture new things will surely
sprout. As though the universities
were coral reefs, and Fallism
a moderate disturbance
that like a supertide would foster
in its wake a wonderful
diversity of species. (Fascists
always reify as nature
manipulated class eruptions,
if you want my view of this dainty
lady’s formulation.)

I see instead of cultural
florescence a closing down
of minds, not least in the assembly,
and the rising in the ranks
of rabid thought police. I hear
a host of conman academics
cashing in on stories of
the Promised Land dished up,
once more, by elites, to wasted
people of a wasted land, I hear an all-
pervasive mouthing of formulaic
English phrases and brace myself
and hold my poet’s breath from
falling, remembering
all the while:

Bongani’s soul, his sister said,
was torn apart, the insults
cut him to the core, he changed,
withdrew, spoke less and less
and killed himself. He suffered
from severe depression, known
locally as fallen heart,
a major work
of Fallist art.


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  • Avatar
    Loekie la Grange

    Ek is ontnugter en kop in die sand. Ek gryp na die positiewe, maar worstel met die negatiewe. Afgestomp, defaïtisties.

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    Andrew van der Merwe

    Yep, having a good cause doesn't save one from being a poepol. There's a great movie set during the French revolution that deals quite movingly with that precise problem. Chouans! (1988)

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    Ferdi Greyling

    Marlene, dalk is daar 'n poëtiese soort argetipe wat deur mense se kulturele verstande loop solank daar mense is.
    Een wat iemand momenteel aan dieper waarhede kan konnekteer as wat ons aan gewoond is in die alledaagse lewe.
    Ek dink Brecht en Neruda het by tye kontak daarmee gehad.
    Nou het jy.
    Jy sit nou saam met hulle.

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    Suenel Bruwer-Holloway

    I usually learn a lot from Helen Moffat. What a pity that she missed the point ... or misinterpreted the tone of Marlene Van Niekerk's poem. Her letter to Cyril re his appalling behaviour at the Women's Day Celebrations was pertinent. We have lost our way; truth is being sacrificed in order to uphold a narrative that is PC at literally all costs. Freedom of speech, creed and association are things of the past. We now have prescribed speech of a very narrow kind. This death of a fine human being is a casualty of the clamp down - different names but the same texture I experienced in 1976.

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    Wilhelm Fourie

    The sad fact that many students today reject Nelson Mandela is enough evidence that Marlene van Niekerk's prophetic words of the possible future rejection of leading African academics is unfortunately quite probable.

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    Gerhard Scheepers

    Its sad the sad the fact today that many students reject Nelson Mandela for the wrong reasons.

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