When Helen Zille announced recently that she was not going to stand for the DA Leadership again this year, the reactions were many and varied. Colleagues used the opportunity to praise her good work for the party, opponents (generally quietly) celebrated and thinkpiece writers fell over themselves to write thinkpieces, having been starved of opportunities for
years hours since the statue debacle and not knowing that the lucrative magic porridge pot of xenophobic attacks were just around the corner.
Very few people turned to the medium of poetry. And that, dear readers, was a shame.
Surely someone must have gone down the versificational route to express their feelings on this momentous event. Yeah, there was plenty of interpretive dance, but I was after metrical composition, and I could find none. In fact, it was only on page 2 of the esteemed Southern Suburbs Tatler that I found appropriate balladry documenting Zille’s decision. Only right, then, that having found Charlotte Caine of Claremont’s The Three Helens that I share it with you.
I’m on it. Doing it right now.
The Three Helens
Charming and friendly
Yet firm when she needs
With vision, courage and purpose
Is how this first lady leads
Voted “The Best Mayor in the World” [Is this going to scan? – Ed.]
Always giving her extraordinary all [No. No, it’s not. – Ed.]
She has always steered the way forward [Double use of ‘always’. – Ed.]
In showing us how to stand tall [Utterly dreadful. – Ed.]
She’s a person who knows how to plan
She’s a woman who knows how to work
No matter how arduous the task may be
She’ll face it; she will never shirk [Semi-colon = extra points. – Ed.]
She has gone from strength to strength
She stands above the crowd
She always goes the extra length [It’s ‘goes the extra mile’, ne? – Ed.]
She has made this country proud [Double rhyming couplet special bonus. – Ed.]
Completing an industrious trio of Helens
Helen Suzman, Helen Joseph, Helen Zille [Keller? Mirren? No? – Ed.]
With dedication, intelligence and determination
Each one a warrior; each one a winner [This doesn’t rhyme. Just saying. – Ed]
Helen Zille is a phenomenal woman
She has earned her place in history
She personifies an invincible spirit
And leaves an indomitable legacy
[Rather awkward and stumbled a bit towards the end. A bit like her, I suppose. – Ed.]
A couple of points here. Firstly, that since (I’m assuming) the Southern Suburbs Tatler must have been near inundated with several (or more) poems saying how great Helen Zille was, this is ever so slightly disappointing on the quality front. How poor were the others? Were the rest of them just racist outbursts from angry, privileged, Southern Suburbs, white-bearded men? Well, yes. Yes, they were.
This is surely the only reason for fielding these six stanzae.
And then secondly, that in this isibongo, there is no mention of Helen’s continual Twitter meltdowns. And yet this makes up at least [a lot] of her legacy, indomitable or otherwise. So here you go:
Of course she has her dark side too
Like when she rants on twitter
And calls Simphiwe Dana
An ill-informed, arrogant critter
Yeah, I know. It was rushed, inaccurate, it doesn’t scan, it’s rather forced and poorly laid out. Fits right on the end of Charlotte’s work perfectly then. Hashtag seamless.
I’m almost (almost) tempted to write a whole Helen Zille poem, but right now I have to go home and build a flat pack table (uThug Life) so that’ll just have to wait.
Enjoy your long weekend, SA. We’ll be back with more tomorrow. And the day after. And on Monday. No rest for the well wicked, innit?