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After the battle by S. E. K Mqhayi

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The poem I’m going to analyse is after the battle, I’m going to look at the impending colonisation and also discuss the poetic features of the poem so that we can see what Mqhayi wanted to advice or counsel the readers about. After the battle is about British colony invading South Africa (colony is a group of people who leave their native country and go to another country and form new land for themselves.) It’s about a war with the Xhosa’s and how the writer of the poem warn but also advice the readers of the poem. The view how Mqhayi looked at impending colonisation was that the British people though that the black South Africans has no worth (quote from the poem) “It’s me that’s talking a man of no worth” It’s me that’s talking, a man who knows how to talk” Mqhayi had a view that the British people that came to South Africa thought they were stupid, and beastly were he said and I quote “what kind of creature do you think I was.” He felt the country was in pain because of the new invaders in the country he was so angry towards them, he felt that South Africa doesn’t need the new invaders.

I quote: “Today it’s as if Gilikankqo’ll be born”. In my opinion the writer is also angry about the British people who brought English, Christianity and western education they brought the new beginning of modernity and the writer is upset because he believe South Africans should of stayed in their culture and believe and their traditions and I quote; “In the land of Rharhabe all things are in turmoil, Shame and disgrace have befallen the Xhosa. Oh the things that occur on this earth!” Looking at the title of the poem it states “After the battle” while clearly in the poem you could say the battle is still going on the physical battle is not over neither is the emotional battle I as reader say this because in the last stanza the writer says repeatedly “Go home and be watchful, there’ll be pools of blood.

Go home but stay watchful, mankind will come to an end. And so forth the emotional battle that the writer is experiencing is by screaming Hoyini! He screams it in the first two words and right through the poem you can see the hurt and emotional turmoil the writer is experiencing you can see it through the exclamation marks that’s being used. The next thing that you can see the view of impending colonisation is that we begin to see a substantive experimentation with style in the poetry and sharper articulations of political resistance to colonisation. I quote; “today the country is in labour; today the land is in pain”.

There are a lot of poetic features that’s being used the following was being used to give the reader some advice, Allegory was used in when the writer wrote “Go home and stay watchful the country in in labour” allegory was used by writing one thing such as when someone or something is in labour there is pain but actually means another the labour what the writer is talking about is the new beginning of a new era the people should expect of happening.

Another poetic feature that the writer is using is alliteration to show his anger he have towards these people that is invading his country example of the alliteration is “beast enraged” and “sacramental slaughter” the other poetic features that is being used are the following; connotation is used to describe the anger but also the disappointment the writer has in the things that is happening such as “ how could the child sidle up to his mother” this line can mean the children ran to their mothers something would happen to them that’s why the sidled or the other meaning could be that they sidled up to their mother so that they can have the change (the modernity) that the British people brought with them, so in this way they sidled up by creeping (their mothers wasn’t expecting the change the children wanted) this made the writer angry because if it was meaning number one why didn’t they fight against the British people for their land they were scared of the British people or he can be disappointed because why did the Xhosa children want to be part of a Western culture and not embrace their Xhosa heritage.

The other thing is a lot of figurative language is being used in this poem to express writers why of how he feels but also to advise people what they should do giving them guidelines what to do but in a figurative way such as ”Go home and be watchful, mankind will come to an end” or “Haven’t you heard of these flowing-hair nations!” or “we saw the flames flash from his eyes” all of this and more in the poem are figurative speech that the writer wants the people to get the idea they must be careful but be on guard because the people are coming for the battle. Imagery is seen through this whole poem the writer uses imagery so that the people his giving guideline to can understand what he trying to say but also to express himself better so that everybody can understand his urgency he has such as in the whole last stanza he says “go home and be watchful after he says those words he says there will be pools of blood, mankind will come to an end or you will sell your fathers and so on through that imagery he gives an urgency of be careful looks what’s happening etc. a metaphor is being used to describe the gun shots that’s being shot at the people e.g. “today they’re flashing like lightning the other metaphor they are using is to show the anger the people have towards each other e.g. “today those brows are like clouds on a thunderous day.”

Lastly is the tone, it’s almost like the tone is screaming but also with a urgent tone he the writer just want the audience he is speaking to, to listen what he is saying and to “obey” what his saying so that they can overcome this invasion of colonisation. In this poem there were a lot of urgency but also guidelines that the reader could of used that is if they could understand the urgency of the writer there was also a lot of anger towards this colonial invasion and the writer was angry about it but in the middle of the text he was not just angry at them but also angry about the fact that modernity came in and that the Xhosa’s took some of this modernity and made it their own turning a bit western and not keeping the tradition of the Xhosa but at the end you could see the writer just wanted to guide them and help them with the things that are coming.

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