Dignity

Where is the energy to summon forth the dead
Where is the spirituality to cut off heads
Where is the protection, the amulets of gold
Where is the recognition for the ways of old

Naught comes forth with a smile and an axe
For too many have past from a dying lack
Of care and attention of hygiene and salt
To cleanse and clean with sanitation’s cult

They live like animals, wild and unhoused
On the streets, huddled in their shrouds
They live like animals, mired in filth
In squatter camps of shacks they built

The homeless and destitute without shelter
Are many throughout our City of Congella
The parks and the pavements are their homes
Why haven’t they been housed away from cold

The homelessness must be a health emergency
We must hospitalise the homeless with certainty
They need medicines and treatment for disease
They need care to counteract their griefs

The city must establish homeless shelters
And make vagrancy a crime in all weathers
Thousands of homeless exist without dignity
The do not pay rates as they have no property

They started in 1987 to build informally
To settle from outside of Durban casually
Some chose to build near the townships
Other chose vacant land for constructions

No water and sanitation to keep homes clean
Without dignity there can be no self-belief
No cleansing and waste removal for sanity
Just muck, garbage and bacterial prosperity

How do you raise children without electricity
When the world demands life without inequality
Where is the justice for those dwelling in shacks
When there is no dignity in their squatting in fact

To enable dignity the city must work properly
Providing all of its services with efficiency
There should be in each ward a ward committee
Representing each voting district equally

We should have a primary health clinic in every ward
That is open 24 hours a day, every day without a word
Of complaint from anyone, anywhere about anything at all
Just provide the healthcare for the people to stand tall

The ward councillor’s office should be attached
To a Durban Metro Police station so well matched
That the people have access to the City at all times
And don’t need to travel into town and stand in lines

Real dignity means building starter homes on land
Allocated so as to clear out the squatter camps
Then a moratorium on building bye-law violations
No more building without permits and authorisations

Do not wait for the National or Provincial subsidies
The City must build housing to be rented out cheaply
To finance this building we must collect what is owed
Disconnect illegal connections which steal from the load

The City must become the foremost provider of housing
For the destitute, the homeless, the poor in surrounding
Areas that enable integrated socio-economic development
Also for the unemployed and the shack dwelling resident

For dignity to have meaning it must apply to all folk
The young, the old, the disabled and even the broke
It must be defended and evenly protected in all places
There cannot be violence in the form of abusive traces

Our women and children, our elderly and the infirmed
Must be protected from the harsh treatment not earned
That is visited in abuse and the violation of rights
And which is considered abusive in any and all lights

Furthermore and finally we ask that there be schools
For education is the best enabler of dignity and rules
Civilised and educated, with dignity guaranteed in hand
That will make our City the very best in this land!