Sharp Read | After Brecht

Poetry has the power to comment swiftly, incisively and economically on the follies of politicians and skewer them in a few pointed lines. Here is a witty reworking of a classic satirical poem.

After Brecht’s poem The Solution, with apologies

After the suspension of the 5th May
The Secretary General of the ANC
Had Tweets distributed online
Stating that the ANC
Had forfeited the confidence of its corrupt functionaries
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the functionaries
To dissolve the ANC
And elect another?

(Written after the events of early May 2021 that saw ANC secretary general Ace Magashule suspended from his position because of facing corruption charges. Magashule refused to abide by that decision and in defiant retaliation attempted unsuccessfully to suspend ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.)

The Solution
By Bertolt Brecht

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

(Written by the socialist playwright and poet to satirise undemocratic authoritarianism after the 1953 uprising of more than a million East German workers against the imposition of harsh new work quotas was suppressed with the assistance of Russian tanks. It was not published until 1959.)

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