Willem Boshoff
Anarchist Poems
Soldier's poem, Children's song



2003

micrography

2 lithographs, 62 x 51cm

edition of 25 and 2 artist's proofs, the editions of 25 will form part of a boxed set of work by a group of South African artists
who worked together at the Statens Voerksteder for Kunstog Håndvoerk in Denmark in February 2003


Each lithograph shows, at a glance, the universal sign of anarchy. Hidden within the crude lines of the anarchy signs are microscopic words which one has to look at closely to decipher. The first sign contains a children's song from the South African War. It is probably the best-known children's song in Afrikaans. Its rather shocking and senseless words are:
Siembamba - mamma se kindjie (Siembamba-mommy's little baby)
Siembamba - mamma se kindjie (Siembamba-mommy's little baby)
Draai sy nek om gooi hom in die sloot (Wring his neck and dump him in the ditch)
Trap op sy kop dan is hy dood (Stomp on his head and he will be dead)
The second anarchy sign hides a soldiers' poem. The poem declares just what was expected of the British soldier at the time of the South African War - never to question any orders and a senseless surrender of conscience:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1855)


© 2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.