Arcadiana

A Blog about Literature, Culture and the Environment

From Apartheid South Africa to Climate Apartheid: Mongane Wally Serote’s “City Johannesburg”

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In one of the most recognisable South African poems of the twentieth century, Mongane Wally Serote’s“City Johannesburg” (written circa 1971), the black narrator of the poem searches through the pockets of his trousers and jacket for his passbook as he mockingly salutes the city of Johannesburg, the sprawling metropolis that developed out of the discovery of gold in the surrounding Witwatersrand gold reef in the 1880s.