Shabbir Banoobhai

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In the following essay, I will be analysing the poem When the first slave was brought to the Cape written by Shabbir Banoobhai in 1998. Shabbir Banoobhai is a South African poet. He was born in in 1949 in Durban. Shabbir Banoobhai’s poetry is spiritual, political and personal and he has written about both personal and South African social issues, from a Muslim perspective. Shabbir was part of apartheid and he shared the same fate as the larger black community of South Africans and his poetry reflects on the struggles the faced. ("Shabbir Banoobhai." KZN Literary Tourism) The Dutch colonized in the Cape in the 17th Century and they brought Muslim slaves, from Indonesia, with them. In this poem, the main topic is slavery and it is handled in…show more content…
The metaphor in stanza 1, “…mountain which roots us” (Banoobhai line 2- 3) is used to show that we have a place to call home. The metaphor in stanza 1 “…eternal beauty” (Banoobhai line 3) can be associated with heaven, but in the context of the poem it refers to post- apartheid and the beginning of democratic South. The metaphor in stanza 2 “this mountain is more chained than i am” (Banhoobhai line 6) is a comparison of the relative freedom of thought, desire, and a life he/ she enjoys, which is something the mountain does not have). The metaphor in stanza 4 “…treasures i carry…” (Banoobhai line 13) refers to the value he places on his identity (his religion in line 8), the future he has envisioned for himself, his deep desire for freedom and the memories of his former country and people (lines ten to twelve). There is also a simile in beginning of stanza 2 “i am as free and as tall as this mountain” (Banhoobhai line 5). The slave is set free and the poet compares the freedom of the slave to the mountain because the mountain is bound to the ground but still it does not belong to anyone, thus the mountain is free. The slave being as tall as the mountain, compares him/ her to the mountain which is able to rise above its surroundings ("Lecture 4 When the First Slave Came to the Cape and The Reasons for Gatsby’s Death, Dishonesty in Gatsby." English…show more content…
There are different types of poetry and one can even write protest poetry when you don’t agree with something. Shabbir Banoobhai’s poem When the first slave was brought to the Cape gives me a deeper appreciation for the life I got. It made me realize that I am very privileged and when I am complaining about the little things, there are people out there in the world who are in abusive homes, are homeless or even victims of slavery and they still find the courage to find the beauty beyond their circumstance. They are still hopeful and they can see a better future for themselves. In this poem When the first slave was brought to the Cape the slave is forced into slavery in a foreign country but still feels free within himself, even when he belongs to an owner, because of the beauty of the mountain he feels that he has treasures inside himself that no one can take away like the memory of his family and his

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