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This is our land

by ThePatchworkPilgrims

A/N: This poem is 1) the English version of a poem I am writing for the Translature Literary Journal, and 2) based on the recent acts of vandalism to the statues of British and Afrikaans historic figures in our country. For the words you don't understand, I shall add a short glossary as a comment.

This is a land of freedom,

a land of Mzanzi, Voortrekkers

and Safari trips-

This is a land gold and diamonds.

This is South Africa,

and this is a broken land...


When our forefathers landed here,

they were welcomed by your kind

We brought them gifts of cloth and gold

in trade for food and water-

Yet now you use those mighty pioneers' name

as scapegoats for your problems.


Then came the Hugenots from afar,

fleeing from the iron blade and bullet

They brought democracy to this land

so we could live as equals-

Yet now you've twisted that sacred tradition

into a facade for your "retribution"


When the limeys arrived

seeking the riches of this land,

we drove them back


Yet now your hate has turned to us,

the ones who bled to free this land


Apartheid followed closely then,

dividing us once more

Yet our ancestors stand together still,

united in bronze majesty-

But now you seek to defile our heritage,

all for the sake of your idle misconceptions


This is the land of freedom,

the land of Kruger, Dingaan

and Mandela-

This is the land of the Rainbow cultures

This is South Africa,

and it is our land too

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806 Reviews

Points: 1883
Reviews: 806

Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:25 pm
Aley wrote a review...

Hello again,

I'm not really going to comment on content for this one since it is a translation work and I'm not sure if you wrote the original in Afrikaans or if it was someone else's poem that you're translating. Since I don't know, and I want to review, I'll just treat it like you're taking someone else's' poem and posting up the translation you created [even though it is probably yours since you don't credit the original].

That being said, I don't have a lot to say. You have a good way of building through history for the poem, and the language you're using here is helpful for the reader to create an understanding of what's going on and where these different pieces of history come into play. Like I said, I can't really comment too much on this since I don't know if you wrote this.

What I can say that as a translation piece, you have the ability to take an artist's license and try to make this the same feeling as the original. Because of that, you can add and remove things that are required for the exact translation, and match it more to the connotative language that you have in the original poem you're translating. I think you could do better with this because you have a lot of conjunctions and adverbs that are really slowing this poem down.

For instance look at all of the places you have "yet" and "but" and consider each one carefully. You probably don't need any of them. See what you can take out and don't be afraid to let the poem's flow get a little choppy because of it. The poem needs to have a bit of chop in it because of the content. It's going to work better with more declarative sentences and less hedging. Also watch the use of words like "your kind" because that's a lot better put as "you" without sounding like you're being derogatory and I don't think this poem was attempting to be derogatory.

Overall, I think you did a nice job. You need to clip it here and there for effect, but otherwise it reads very well in English and provides a nice overview of what's going on. I agree with Ark. I really like hearing about other countries too, and I would love to read more of this sort of thing.

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Points: 307
Reviews: 6

Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:40 am
Selena1016 wrote a review...

hey, i really liked how you shared your personal views and perception of the situation in south Africa. i always find it really interesting to hear a situation interpreted by someone that lives in the region that it occurred in. Now, i know you did not live during apartheid but you do live in South Africa post apartheid and i find that very interesting. I would love to hear more from you on the topic and hopefully you do another poem around the same theme.
By the way, how did you decide to use the 2 stars (not sure if that's the right thing to call it) to separate what you are saying?

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423 Reviews

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Reviews: 423

Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:53 am
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Vervain says...

Just going to comment and say that, whatever critiques I may have for this piece, I think it's really freaking cool that stuff like this has popped up because of Translature, because it's always interesting to get a look into another culture, another language, another background -- especially one that (as an American) I've only learned about in fits and spurts when my teachers have mentioned apartheid and Mandela, usually in comparison and relation to American civil rights movements.

"Interesting" sounds too cold and scientific. So does "educational". It's always somewhat... soul-baring, I suppose, because it feels like there are such strict bars set up around cultural representation and expression. And it's really awesome that there's poetry like this, to open up the doors and spark conversation about things like the vandalism in South Africa, and what it means to the country and the cultures within it as a whole.

I really enjoyed reading this piece. Like I said, I have critiques -- mostly with the punctuation, because it starts out regular and then becomes irregular, so it's distracting -- but looking at the piece as a whole, I don't think there's conceptual weakness at all, just small edits and tweaks that could have improved the delivery a little.

Sorry, I think I just went all emotional-intellectual over this xD I know it's been up for a few months, but I definitely applaud you for this. Kudos!

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Reviews: 346

Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:39 pm
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Pretzelstick wrote a review...

Heya grandfather, Pretzel here for a review. I felt like I needed to review this since you had 2 fairly short reviews, and I see that this has just been sitting here.

Anyways, let's begin,shall we?

~I have to compliment you on the research that you did about the African culture and African language. It really seems like you digged deep, and for that Imma pretty proud of you ;)


This is South Africa,

What do you mean by this? The region/direction or the seperate country in the continent of Africa.Because as you must know, there is a big difference here <,< The country of South Africa,is much smaller then the actually region/direction of the continent.

~The first stanza and last stanzas repeat "This is . . ." but I was wondering what about the other stanzas? Why don't they repeat or have some time of rhythm to it, similar like the first one.I think that you should consider this and work on implementing it ;)

When our forefathers landed here,

they were welcomed by your kind

~I was really confused by this. What people group are you talking about here? Who welcomed the forefathers/ancestors? I tried reading this over and over again,trying to make sense of the context, but I still honestly don't know what you are talking about. Care to clarify?

~Minor note, I know that spacing with stanzas in poems may be tricky, and I have personally have had problems with it too, but doing the (**) isn't very professional of noticeable. Now, this is only a stylistic choice, but I would prefer if you actually broke up the stanzas in correct formatting. Here is a guide to that: How to Format Poetry written by Aley of YWS.

This is a land (of) gold and diamonds.

~I feel like you need an of in between land to make this sentence make more sense.

and this is a broken land...

~No ellipsis here needed, it's just unnecessary and disrupts the flow (I would edit this directly in your piece ;)

united in bronze majesty-

~Word choice, or color choice comment in this line. The thing is, that as you know, bronze is a kind of brownish yellow. South Africans have mostly black skin(I have no disrespect to them) but I think that you could describe/compare this with a darker color/type of mineral or metal. Then it would be a bit more in place. But again,that's up to you since your the author.

That's all that I have for this piece. The poem was well-crafted and understandable,provided that it was originally written in another language. Awesome job Wandering!

~Peace Out~


Hey Pretz!
I actually am a South African, so this poem is naturally about the country. Also, if you wanted to refer to the region, you would call it Southern Africa, because of the confusion it may create.
Since I am naturally a Caucasian person, my forefathers are the Europeans who arrived here in 1652, aka the Dutch. They were welcomed by the San, a African race.
Also, I love the use of free verse, which means there is no required rhythm/ rhyme, etc. The usage of the "This is" in the first and last stanzas is just to link the poem (known as a circular poem then) and the middle stanzas have no real binding method to show the discord in South Africa.
I didn't notice the missing (of). Thanks for that.
The "united in bronze majesty" doesn't refer to any races, but rather the literal bronze statues of all the South African races' heroes. It is in reference to the attacks on English and Afrikaans heroes' statues by some of the African cultures.
Thanks for the honest review Pretzel. I value critique, and learn from what the people suggest, etc.
Thanks again,

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Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:07 pm
SkyeWalker says...

Only thing I noticed first time reading through. Add a period to the end.

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Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:02 am
RebelWriter wrote a review...

I liked it a lot. Way to be a voice and get out there. I don't know much about South Africa as an American and I think most Americans don't bother to educate themselves very much on other cultures, which is sad since we're not the only ones. There is so much conflict going on right now with Isis that Muslims are getting a bad rap and are all being labeled as terroristic monsters. I think that's where 'don't Judge a book by its cover' comes into play. This had a lot of emotion and detail and information and I like that(and the glossary is appreciated). Very good and enjoyable. Keep writing I'll be following for more and don't hesitate to review my work This is our song sometime and A Tragic End as well. I need all the opinions I can get to help my writing improve! Good job :)

Thanks for the review, Rebel Writer! I shall definitely go and review your pieces for you.

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Reviews: 50

Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:20 pm
Firelight wrote a review...

I, being from the U.S., don't know too much about South Africa, but I do know I really liked this a lot. You have a lot of emotion in this piece, and it's very well written. The words you used made the poem sound beautiful. The piece flows really well. I like how this poem tells the reader about history and how it has affected South Africa and its people.

I loved the repetition in the first and last stanzas. It made a sharp ending and beginning. The last two lines really gave me the chills. it was a great way to end the poem

I didn't see any mistakes, but at the very end I might take out the "...". It makes the poem sound like you want to say more and it seems like that wasn't the end. It kind of trails off. I think it might look better if you took those away. But, other than that, this poem was fantastic. I really like it.

Thanks for the review Firelight! I'm glad you liked my poem. I shall remove the ellipsis at the end (I really don't remember putting that there)

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Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:05 pm
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A short glossary for the strange words-

Mzanzi (Mm-zahn'-zee) n. - The Xhosa word for "our home" or "our country"

Voortrekkers (Foo{h}er'-trehck-uhrs) n. - The Afrikaans word for our ancestors who travelled from the Cape inland to flee British reign. Settled to form most of the large cities and towns of South Africa.

Hugenots (Yewh-guh-nots') n. - The French protestants who fled the Inquisition in Europe during the 1700s.

Limeys (lie-meez) n. (sl.)- The word used to call British settlers in South Africa during the 1800s.

Apartheid (Uh-paar(t)-height) n. - Term to describe the system of segregation in South Africa during the 1900s. It gave the white people more freedom/ power than other races.

Kruger (Crew-guhr) n. - Name of a very powerful and noteworthy Afrikaans president.

Dingaan (Din-gone) n. - Name of an infamous Zulu chieftain who betrayed several Voortrekker leaders at peace treaties.

Mandela (Muhn-dhe-luh) n. - Name of first black South African president and great freedom representative across the world.

The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma.
— Patrick Star