Latin: /'vɒks pɒpjʉliː/ VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

It's Winter and we're Migrating

Exciting web developments are allowing us to migrate to an independent page of the school website within the month.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Just how expressive may artists in today's society be?" by Ellen Agnew

After reading an article on how an artwork had been rejected from a display for being too "offensive", I came to wonder about just how expressive artists in today's society may be?

With all the xenophobia in South Africa at the moment, and taking our apartheid past into consideration, race is a touchy subject and freedom of expression is being more frequently conserved as artists are having to question just how much freedom they are allowed.

Ayanda Mabulu's somewhat controversial paintings depicting apartheid South Africa and the late AWB leader, Eugene Terre 'Blanche, as a pig were brushed off as being "offensive" and were not allowed to go on display. The artist argued that it was not his aim to disrespect the late AWB leader, but rather to depict and "show the filthiness of that era." The organisers of the display claimed that they did not wish to cause controversy amongst the people working in their building and "felt apprehensive about the situation."

Although we are living in a society more open to the unusual portrayal of thoughts and ideas, controversy over our apartheid past seems to be taking it one step too far. It seems as though artists are having to pay the price for an audience's comfort by giving up their expressive freedom.

"Broken Beach" by S Storey

The sand between my toes
is reassuring,
but not comforting.
The jagged rocks taunt me;
bringing to my mind
unwanted memories.
I take another step
towards the water.

Bleach my thoughts,
taint them with hope.
Howl through my ears, wind,
and drown out my sorrows.
I feel unheard
as the broken glass and shells
cut my feet
like broken dreams
shred lives.
I take another step
into the water.

The waves wash away the blood,
the pain and despair.
The salt stings,
but cleans the wound,
A lonely seagull echoes my silent cries.
My salty tears stain my cheeks.
The waves hit the shore,
Crashing steadily,
like my beating heart.
I take another step,
My cleansed soul
finding peace.

"The Future of Tomorrow" by S Storey

People say that the children are the future.
They whisper to each other,
Murming in soft voices,
Trying to understand.
Are there too many fears in the world,
For it to be brought to peace?
Are there too many
Young hearts, already filled,
With hatred?

What future are the children?
Are they the end to war?
Are they justice?
Are they the free spirit,
That everyone longs for?
Are they the heroes,
Who help and heal?

Or, are they a future of silenced heart beats.
Silenced songs.
Silenced voices.
Silenced to death.
Are they a suggestion, or a question?
Are they an exclamation?
Are they the statement of defiance?
What are they?
They are the key,
But also the lock.

They bring questions without answers.
They bring innocence and guilt.
They bring themselves,
Wanting, only, to be accepted.
They bring hope, perhaps doubt.
They bring the dream of the future,
A future already clouded with dreams, ambitions and challenges.
A future that is no longer tomorrow.

The future of tomorrow,
Belongs to today.
Here are the children,
Knocking on your locked doors.
Welcome them;
They are all you have.

"The Youth of our Nation" by Gemma Tennick

We are today, we command tomorrow
Our words are what you should be following,
So don't that mean you got to be listening
To what we have to say?
We're the future, we've got to fit somewhere
You'll blame us if we sit and go nowhere
We're the ones who really matter,
At least that's what you always say.

You've put us in charge of climbing the ladder
But we've got no say in where that leads
You only care that we climb higher,
Cursing if we fall off course.
We speak up but you're not interested
Your version of our future is kind of twisted.
I mean, we don't really get to choose,
Does it even really matter to you?

You never know, we could have a solution
To global warming or even pollution
But you'll never know, 'cause you'd never ask
Maybe the world just lost its chance.

We're the ones who really matter
We're the ones who'll be in control
We're the ones who'll do it better
State of the world's proof of that.

Our voices are lost, just a buzz in the crowd
But still you shoult at us telling us to quiet down
On the other hand, "Stand up for what you believe in'
"Hey don't stand now, wait for the news guy to finish."
You really don't care, you're saying it 'cause you've got to
Why don't you see that's not what we want you to
We want you to listen and see our words do matter
We don't want to watch the fat cat get fatter.

Listen, we could say it a 1000 times,
A million. But our voices disappear into oblivion
You're more than just deaf if you can't hear the screaming
But don't you know you're losing, not winning.
You're losing us, you're losing what we have
Then it's our fault if things go bad
We can't be blamed if we never got a shot
To fix it all...and just give it what we've got.

Give us a voice and watch things change
It's time we moved into a brand new age
Stubbornness and pride will lead to your demise
Swallow it...teach us how to be wise.

We're the ones who really matter
We're the ones who'll be in control
We're the ones who'll do it better
The youth of our nation is proof of that.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"The relevance of school Chapel services" by L Botha

A topic of much discussion, usually on a Friday at about ten o'clock, is why Somerset College offers a chapel service for all students and interested staff members.

As those who are normally discussing the topic are students who have not particularly enjoyed - or found value - in the service, the commentary is often negative. Recently I have thought about why Somerset College offers a chapel service that is compulsory to all students, even though the College strives to be an environment that is welcoming and friendly to all religious groups. Surely favouring one religious group above the others is a contradiction to this ethos?

The first reason that comes to mind, and most likely, to the minds of others is that Somerset College is a Christian school. The College strives not only to give each student the necessary knowledge to handle the world, but also to bestow on each student a sound set of moral values that will enrich both their own and the lives of others. This is a worthy goal; surely it is worth the less than an hour that is spent on it every week?

However, as I thought further on the subject, in large part due to the inevitable discussion on the subject every Friday, I started to realised that there was another reason that the College holds a chapel service every week. Tradition. Chapel services are, not only in South Africa but in many other schools around the world, an expected part of school life. In almost every school I have heard of there are a few certainties: Assembly on Mondays, homework during the week and Chapel on Fridays.

I have never heard this reason spoken out loud before and I don't think that it is often recognized, or particularly appreciated when it is. It would seem odd for a prestigiuos school, like Somerset College, not to have a Chapel service at least once a week. Now that I have had this thought, I can't help but wonder if this isn't the real reason why we have Chapel every Friday. If this is the case, the argument that the aim of Chapel is to teach a sound moral system seems less meaningful. However, I think that there are ways to put this time to valuable use.

I don't think that Chapel should be removed as a part of College life. The moral lessons brought across by medium of religion are valuable and life enhancing. I just think that it should be every person's own choice on the way that they want to go about acquiring them. The saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"; forcing students who gain nothing from Chapel services to attend them causes resentment and achieves nothing. Giving students the choice of whether to attend Chapel or not will make it more valuable for those who do go as they can be sure that they are going for their own benefit and not in order to uphold the school's reputation.

"Fences" by Sakura Nakada

Do give hope; do give pain.
They let you see what you can reach.
They let you see the unreachable.

They are "important work" you know,
"Important do our country.
You'll understand that some day."
It's simple.
They keep them out.
They keep us safe.
They make order out of chaos.
They make life black and white.

Like the air that smothers life,
Like the smell of burning bodies,
They are here and there
They are then and now
They are the fences that weave in and out
throughout history

The chuckles of amazement at life's small surprises extinguished by the
sound of
fleeing feet,
the fight for familiar faces' freedom.

What's the difference between that side and this one? Does it matter?
Only the choice of the hand of life and death
Only the lies and stories made up
Only the depiction of propaganda's prejudice and pitying pain
Only the division
Only the separation
Only the loss of humanity

Do give hope; do give pain.
They let you reach what you can see.
They let you see the unreachable.