What Is The Poem When The First Slave Was Brought To The Cape Essay

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“when the first slave was brought to the cape“ is a powerful poem by Shabbir Banoobhai that tells history of slavery in South Africa which the naked eye cannot see. It is a poem that uncovers the thoughts of the oppressed slaves. This poem shows slavery in a very different light than other poems do. This is a positive showing of slavery. The poem, in my opinion, is a form of protest poetry to empower those who were considered others. This poem tackles a social issue of the others being seen as lesser. Banoobhai brings up the slaves so that they are not seen as others. He speaks for them and goes against what society would have thought at the time.

This poem appealed to me as it had a meaning, which could be seen just by reading the poem.
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This relates to Shabbir Banoobhai’s poem as Banoobhai does exactly this. He tells a history unknown to us about what slaves may have been thinking at the time of slavery in the cape. He also gives voice to this slave and shows a completely opposite mentality of the slave than we thought. This is a great idea as no one can really speak for how the slaves were thinking back then, so it does not stop a person thinking that the oppressed were optimistic about life, even in their state.

Religion plays a big part in the poem. The slave is very proud of his religion and aims to make it known in this new country to him. He wants to say the Adhaan on the top of the mountain. This slave is proud of his religion and wants to make it known to the reader. With his strong embrace of his religion he connects to his community. But this slave lives so far away, so this religion he hopes to build a new community in this new land he will call home. He wants it to be a small part of this new land he is now
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When performing a ‘close-reading’ I found imagery through similes such as “I am as free” which is a good comparison with the mountain. The mountain and the slave are both bound to one place, but do not belong to anyone. The “eternal beauty” seems to be associated with heaven, but I see it to be associated with post-apartheid society. This seems to be another reason why I think this poem is a form of protest poetry. This opens a whole new reasoning behind this poem being protest-poetry as it this poem makes a reference to apartheid so it protests against it by stating how post-apartheid era will be eternal

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