In this essay I will be exploring, the different themes of the inequality, democracy, segregation and racial discrimination which are expressed between the two poems; Tatamkhlu Afrika’s “Nothing’s Changed” and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Two scavengers in a truck, Two beautiful people in a Mercedes. In this essay I will compare and contrast the themes, language, structure and style among these two poems. Tatamkhlu Afrika’s “Nothing’s Changed” was written around 1990 and has been inspired by his own personal up-bringing when he was younger; it is entirely an auto-biographical poem and political poem.
That expresses his bottled up anger and hate towards society. Tatamkhulu was born in 1920; In Egypt then came to South Africa as a very young- child. He was brought up in District 6 which was which was unfortunately demolished in 1966 and the site was never properly rebuilt on and many people lost their homes. Then after the area was declared as “whites only” in the 1960s and the community was destroyed. His parents died of flu shortly after coming to South Africa in 1923 and he was raised by an English Methodist family under a new name John Charlton.
He did not know his family background. Until 17, he found out; he was an Egyptian born and he had an Arabic father and a Turkish mother. With an Arab father and a Turkish mother, Afrika could have been classified as a “white”, but he chose rather to embrace his origins, become a Muslim and refused to be classified as a “white. ” By 1948 an “apartheid” which means “apartness” was held in place, this segregated Asians, Whites, Black’s and coloured people from working together, socialising, and being educated and hospitalized.
At the same time “Pass laws” were introduced this meant that you were privileged enough to travel in “white areas. ” In 1948 he joined the African National Congress, which led the struggle against apartheid, and in 1987, he was arrested for terrorism and banned from speaking or writing in public for five years. But he reverted back to his ANC name; which enabled him to write in inconspicuously under the government and carry on writing this poem during a time of hope, in which his poem became an autobiographical verse.
In “Nothing’s Changed” Stanza one, Afrika invites the reader to stand in his childhood shoes and observe the on goings Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born on March 24, 1919. Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers situated in New York Ferlinghetti on the other hand had a much more privileged up-bringing or childhood, which enabled him to at ease to become successful poet and writer, without having the deprived childhood Afrika had.
Instead he had better education and earned himself a Doctoral Degree which is a high qualification to show your understand or knowledge of poetry and its take many years to achieve, this shows he had the money to go to university and study. He moved from Paris to San Francisco only to find out the “beat generation. ” In 1953, he co-founded a publishing house and bookshop called City Lights, which specialised in Beat poetry and became a meeting place for poets and artists. Now the city light is one of the most famous bookstores in the world.
His had diversity in skills; doing “double-time” as a business man and poet, be published his own books called the “pocket poet series” which is a cheaper and more affordable way of buying poetry books for middle or the lower class society who enjoyed poetry, who cannot meet the expense of actually buying it. Lawrence Ferlinghetti is a very politically minded man and he is aware of the political issues in America, and he cleverly illustrates this by using the City of San Francisco to show the difference between the rich and poor.
The poet reflects all his emotions in “Nothing’s Changed” This is due to his life up-bringing, as he experiences’ the injustice of segregation and how black people are the under-belly of society and the “white people” condone their horrid actions. He finds the prejudice of society when he was arrested for terrorism in 1987 and was banned for publicly speaking for 5 years, however he carried on writing despite the ban and he wrote “Nothing’s Changed” under his new ANC name in 1970.
He expresses his bottled up anger and criticizes the government and the authority given. He invites the reader to live in his shoes, and to experience the same pain he went through. In the poem Afrika addresses the privileges of white people and the deprived black people he compares and contrasts them both in the poem from the way they eat, their manners and standard of living. It states in the second stanza his bottled resentment and fury circulating his body and his “hot, white, inward turning anger of my eyes.
” In lines 1-16 he describes his hometown in District 6 of how it looks and how he feels, we get this sense of dry, harsh, barren, unwanted and empty wasteland. Even though the old sign has gone, he sense’s where he is and his anger begins to rise this is because he is being forced out by the government because of his skin colour, his anger is repressed inside “hot, white” if he releases it to his oppressor he probably would have been penalized. “No sign says it but we know where we belong”, so this indicates he has nowhere to go he is poor, powerless, deprived and repressed because of his race.
Inequality yet stands out again, even though there is no “whites only” sign he knows he is not wanted he is isolated, emotionally, mentally physically due to the chartered streets, which have been brainwashed with racial discrimination. For example he illustrates this by analysing how black and white people eat; “new, up-market, haute cuisine” so already the word “haute cuisine” indicates it is an upper class exclusive restaurant, with the finest prepared divine food. “Guard at the gate post” this specifies high status, authority and wealth and how they have the money to be selective.