When Night Has Closed Its Doors

Essay by Afzal7864u February 2007

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The heavy metal door clanked behind me. White fluorescent lights filled the corridor. Black beady eyes darted from behind the bars as I walked across the hallway. Someone new walked passed me with a blanket tucked under her arm. The clatter of cutlery across the cold iron bars echoed down the eerie passage. I stared at the stained floors and picked up my pace as my feet nimbly carried me away from there...

The morning I was robbed of my freedom began as any other usual one in my little village. Woman hung up their washing, chatting amicably. The robins chirped happily hopping from tree to tree. Children played animatedly squealing with laughter- an age of innocence. The old people basked in the sun cleaning rice or just reading leisurely. Mothers were singing to their babies as they prepared the mealie-meal. The men were at work on the fields or in the hustle and bustle of the city, seeking employment.

Then it happened. The earth shook as they wheeled it with army trucks. The dust from the gravel path filled the air. Our eyes stung as a white snow-like gas was released in the air. People gasped for breath! Their boots thudded on the soft Earth as they whipped us and screamed out verbal insults. I could taste the blood that dripped down my bruised lip and trickled slowly down the warm brown ground. Babies cried, women sobbed hysterically, the old people moved in a trance-like state and children kicked and screamed.

They hauled us into trucks and as we crawled around the valley I watched our homes, now like tin doll houses, with smoke still bellowing from its chimneys. I stared at the great old trees that listened to our folk tales and our heartache and pains. The leaves dropped in sadness as a silent breeze crept around the valley. We were imprisoned for occupying 'white man's land'. What had been our homes for generations had suddenly become theirs. The prisons were dirty and cold and the foods were tasteless-almost inedible. Cold showers and long hours of toiling in the sun sapped our strength and some even lost the will to live. The laughter, gaiety and sunshine in our lives were left behind at the valley we once occupied. Only pain, suffering and misery existed here in this tunnel of death.

1994- the release of Nelson Mandela from prison produced a ray of hope for us all. As we walked away from here-free-seeing the glorious sun smiling down at us, it seemed that this was when night had closed its doors. It seemed as though the sun had crept its way into our lives. Joy, happiness, and rejoicing was in the air. You could taste the freedom of an entire nation. A nation was set free from injustice and inequality. We were set free from the shackles of darkness that occupied our lives for as long as we could remember. This sensational and jubilant feeling will guide us into our bright future. Finally, for the downtrodden citizens of South Africa, the night has closed its doors.

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It was completely done by myself