RIP, Dennis Brutus.

Activist and poet Dennis Brutus died on Saturday at age 85.

South African poet and anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus died yesterday at age 85.

Brutus was instrumental in pushing for the exclusion of South African sporting teams from the Olympics and other international competitions-a movement that served as a backdrop for Invictus, the recently released film about the Springboks’ 1995 Rugby World Cup victory.

He also elegant, haunting and beautiful poetry.

My personal favorite is the poem, Somehow We Survive, which serves as the title for Somehow Tenderness Survives, Hazel Rochman’s anthology of works by Southern African writers.

Somehow we survive

Somehow we survive
and tenderness, frustrated, does not wither.
Investigating searchlights rake
our naked unprotected contours;
over our heads the monolithic Decalogue
of fascist prohibition glowers
and teeters for a catastrophic fall;
boots club the peeling door.
But somehow we survive
severance, deprivation, loss.
Patrols uncoil along the asphalt dark
hissing their menace to our lives,
most cruel, all our land is scarred with terror,
rendered unlovely and unlovable;
sundered are we and all our passionate surrender
but somehow tenderness survives.

He will be missed.


3 responses to “RIP, Dennis Brutus.

  1. Dennis Brutus was one of my favourite authours.. His passing is indeed sad and heartfelt… His poem A Troubadour I Traverse somehow captured the mixture of restlessness and admiration that defined my teenage years…

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks, Danny, for your comment. I am not familiar with the poem, but will check it out now.

      Good luck with your project!


  2. thought you & your readers might be interested in a new documentary, Fair Play, which tells the story of the anti-apartheid movement sports boycotts he played such a key role in. Here’s a trailer:

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