Poem: Democracy Promised by Aphelele Mtwecu


I wrote this poem as I reflected on what Human Rights mean to me as a young person in South Africa.

Democracy Promised

It seems foreign to me that I today, am living testimony of the previous administration.

As I job search it dawns on me that the black and white they were referring to was deeply embedded on ‘’we regret to inform you’’

As I sit on this bus, making my way to the city,

Deja Vu hits, my migrant laboured ancestors startle, asking, ‘’Oh you do this too?’’


Auditions, Appearances, Performances, cast me in, cast me out.

Oh Nkululeko umbundisaphi? We should have stayed.

Was it mortifying? Aha…

Was it tough? Yes!

Not glorifying iniquities, but I miss the fresh salmon oppression.

Spitting no mercy, leaving no room for wonder.

But whatever this is, this ‘’ you’re not like the others’ ’it pits, shaded it looks, under toned, ‘’ If only more people were like you’’.

As if that’s not enough… come the better blacks, ‘’If you work hard’’

….I do…

I have….I did?

Repressed, confined, confused, conflicted, democracy you gifted me.

Multi-coloured bondage, you offered me, disordered rays of colour you tendered, forced me into this rainbow.

Shaded in crumbs, remnants of ‘’Almost’’, ‘’At least’’…’’While you’re busy complaining, children Ethiopia are starving’’

Well can you take me there?

I’d like to barter, my starvation of identity, self and heritage for an enemy I can see.


About the author:

I’m Aphelele Mtwecu, 2016 Activator, a 31-year-old female. As an ambivert, I am a content writer, activist, and creative. My true passion lies in youth development, transformation, and making a meaningful impact. Every day, I encounter the world, seeking healing, innovative solutions, and fresh methods to drive social change on my personal journey. My work and advocacy reflect my unwavering commitment to fostering positive change.

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