Monthly Archives: September 2013

Westgate, Extremist Hate

The world watches in horror as Al-Shabaab Militants from Somalia lay waste to Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

Kenyan Soldiers arriving at Westgate Mall to fight their way through ranks of Islamists. Photo: Ben Curtis/ABC News

As I write these words and rhymes,
Al-Shebaab maniacs commit horrendous crimes,
So far, more than sixty-eight dead in a Nairobi Mall,
The worst act of terror in recent times.

Blasting away security with grenades and machine-gun fire,
The situation grabbed the world’s attention and the straits were quite dire.
Reciting a prayer to Allah, your ticket to freedom,
But failing the test, execution…liar.

Kenyan troops (and Israeli’s as well?),
Continue to fight through the Mall-Turned-Hell,
Through mannequin forests and cities of stores,
Democracy is a product the West is struggling to sell.

To Be Continued-Kellan Botha


Romain must Remain far away from us. Forever.

Springboks lost out to the All Blacks, by 29-15, and though the New Zealanders may well have been a better team, the entire nation is seething at the poor decision’s made by the referee, such as illegally benching Bismarck du Plessis.

Here we see the rare ‘Pink-bellied doofus’ in its default defensive position.

Romain Poite,
You incompetent a*se,
Of the Rugby Champs clash,
You sure made a farce.

I’m feeling upset,
Though I’m no sporting fan,
Because you screwed the Boks over,
You horrid French man!

-Kellan Botha

Four seconds, four taxis

A recent traffic-accident in Pinetown, Durban, which resulted in 22 deaths when a goods-truck smashed through four taxis and a Volkswagen, has been called South Africa’s most horrific accident in recent years.

The trauma which ripped open five vehicles would have been felt in full force by the occupants. (Picture: Sapa)

Hurtling toward the intersection,
What must the driver of that metal hulk thought,
When his breaks seemed to fail him,
And in his line five vehicles were caught?

Twenty-Two lives extinguished,
In the darkness of that sultry Durban night,
And lit only by the traffic lights,
The grotesque shreds of the crash-site.

Twenty-two counts of murder,
Does the Swazi driver now face,
And while his rich bosses try to save their skins-
-By saving him-, he’s still the one being tried in this case.

-Kellan Botha

SA Strike Force One

Striking Season is in full swing, with almost every sector of the South African economy being affected. Whilst the validity of most of the strikes has divided the nation, the recent events at Walter Sisulu University has elicited outrage amongst many.

“RED HOT RAGE: Walter Sisulu University staff members went on the rampage yesterday, burning tyres at the College Street and Chiselhurst campuses. They have gone on strike over salary increases and absorption of contract workers. Picture: MARK ANDREWS” – Daily Dispatch

It’s seems it’s that time of year once more,
When the worker’s grievances are brought to the fore.
There are strikes left and right,
And the labourers fight,
For wage-increases as inflation does soar.

NUM and Amcu for the miners that handle,
Strain underground a year after the Marikana scandal,
While Numsa brings autoworks and fuel-pumps to a halt.
Yes, they need cash, and being poor’s not their fault,
But SA’s about to burn out its economic candle.

But in bankrupt Walter Sisulu University,
A strike has just ended in a slightly increased salary,
“Putting the students first” finally, after hitting the sixth week,
Though having missed a whole term, the future looks bleak,
For the students of the highest-paid lecturers in the country.

-Kellan Botha

Blue-light Bully Boy

Joseph Semitjie, the driver of former Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi, appeared in court today for a road-accident in 2011. Thomas Ferreira, the teenager who was brain-damaged as a result of the crash, was claimed to be at fault by Semitjie’s lawyer.

Don’t suppose the MEC wanted these ugly stickers ruining his shiny BMW…

The driver of the VIP, eventually sat in court,
For the carnage he’d created,
His lawyer stood and for him fought,
But what was said was soon quite heavily debated.

The attorney had some balls,
Pretty large ones, I’ll admit,
When he told the court that it was all
Thomas Ferreira’s fault he was hit.

They claimed their motor’s blue-light,
Gave them special right-of-way,
And the injuries of Thomas on his bike,
Are because in the safe-zone he did not stay.

But soon the lawyer was silenced,
When it was found the driver was a crook,
Who did not pass his driver’s licence,
It remains to be seen if he’ll be brought to book.

When the crash had happened on Krugersdorp’s tar,
Witnesses report,
The driver stopped to check his car,
but not the boy who was hurt.

-Kellan Botha

[A]rson [N]ot [C]ounted-out

ANC Headquarters at Albert Luthuli House, catches fire after a strategically placed bottle filled with volatile chemicals explodes.


Albert Luthuli House,
The ANC’s Jozi HQ,
Grew inflamed and smoke-filled,
And soon emergency workers came to douse,
The fires of a chem-bottle which blew.

All the parties stopped their fighting,
And for once showed unity,
At the outrageous act of violence,
(Which, though no-one was hurt, remained frightening,)
Against the ruling ANC.

“This is not the way to act,
In our great democracy,”
Said the representative Mthembu,
But this did not alter the fact,
That his words carried great irony.

For though the NP-government was far from fair,
And the MK’s actions were called for at those times,
To call out bombers for treasonous acts,
seems odd when they also dare,
put their comrades’ names on road-signs.

-Kellan Botha

Welcome home, Madiba

On 1 September, former South African President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was discharged from the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital after almost three months of intensive treatment.

Welcome Home, Mandela, Be Safe.

We thought you were gone,
Mandela, great man,
But your light shines on,
As bright as it can,
And for a divided nation you stayed strong.

Your family’s antics,
Brought shame to your name,
And the media’s madness helped not,
Dividing and guessing on what would come next,
But you weren’t yet gone, they forgot.

Far abroad, they believed you had passed,
While at home we thought that your health could not last,
Oh, you are weak now, and getting so frail,
And we all must be nearing the end of your tale,
But not yet, Madiba, not yet.

-Kellan Botha

Monthly Review: Chelsea Flower Show

I’m quite pleased to present FPP’s first ever monthly review. This month we will be looking at the 100th annual Chelsea Flower Show, specifically the stunningly arranged South African exhibit which won us our 33rd gold medal in the competition in May 2013.

A little slice of South Africa in the far North

The exhibition:

“100 Blooming Years” was intended as a celebration of the centenary of the Kirstenbosch Gardens in the Western Cape, which opened in the same year as the the British flower-show in Chelsea in 1913.

Situated in one of the oldest areas of the display area, the walk-through exhibit sought to recreate key parts of the gardens in miniature, making use of cycads, strelitzias, aloes, and of course, dozens of species’ of fynbos, of which the most iconic were, of course, the crimson and piquant proteas.
Exhibit designer David Davidson (What a name!), involved with the South African entries at Chelsea for two decades, told the Mail & Guardian in May that “the display features some of the ‘centenarians’, our oldest and most distinguished residents. These are plants that have been growing at Kirstenbosch for a hundred years or more, or were introduced during the first five years, from 1913 to 1917, and are still here today.”

Of course, the vast majority of the plants featured this year were cuttings, rather than live flowers, as the importation of soil from South Africa to Britain is restricted by British environmental authorities. The fact that Davidson and his colleagues managed a medal with mere cuttings against some of the world’s most spectacular live flower displays in the world is an achievement in and of itself, with gold being perhaps only the icing on the cake for the South African team.

The team that recreated Kirstenbosch.

Flowers as art:

Flowers and flower arrangements have been considered an art form for centuries, starting with the earliest depictions of lotus flowers on Egyptian motifs. By the late middle-ages, flowers started appearing in paintings and tapestries, with different varieties beginning to symbolise different emotions, messages, or themes. This trend continued in paintings, throughout the renaissance up until the present, and can be seen in a very wide range of paintings around the world.

Carvings and paintings were one thing, but actual flowers were quite another. Cuttings of wildflowers would wither and die soon after being picked, and maintaining an ancient garden in a time before complex irrigation systems was probably somewhat of a challenge for our ancestors. For this reason, gardens were historically considered symbols of wealth and power, and is probably why Buckingham Palace, Versailles, and South Africa’s Union Buildings have been adorned so magnificently. It is why the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were counted as one of the wonders of the ancient world, and why the Biblical account of creation takes place in a garden (If you think your deity is all-powerful and know that gardens mean power, then it makes sense to portray him as having had the universe’s first ever garden).

Not bad…

And as for the flower clippings, what better way to show your devotion to your lady-friend than toiling in a hot field all day, collecting blossoms as naturally beautiful and delicate as herself (though it was a time when giving her father a fat pig may have been a more surefire way to get her into bed with you)?

If only if only, Mr Yelnats, if only.

As national and global transport routes became more efficient, short-lived bouquets became more commercialised and cheaper, with arrangements of varying shapes and colours being made to suit your every need. The reasons flowers meant something has thus been all but abolished, but their symbolism remains potent to this day. Likewise, gardens have become much more affordable, and anyone who can afford some extra land can find themselves tending a small garden at minimal costs.

The Score:

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show was a big one for the South African team. Their use of colour and shapes made for a truly magnificent display, whilst the arrangement of flowers and flower types elegantly and subtly represented the great diversity of South Africa, and the Western Cape in particular. The proteas, however, while gorgeous, were perhaps too much of a cliché. What do visitors expect of us every year at the show? Proteas! Excluding our national flower would be a travesty, as would even relegating it to a minor role, but there are countless other genera of flora in Southern Africa and perhaps it is time one of them take a turn in the limelight.

Overall, I give this year’s South African gold medal display Seven Petals out of Ten, and I look forward to seeing what happens next year.

Don’t agree with 7/10? Leave a comment below and let’s get talking, or go see the exhibit for yourself, recreated at the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town, on display until 24 September.
Welcome to FPP’s first monthly review, and welcome to Spring.

-Kellan Botha