Poem Analysis: In Detention – Chris Van Wyk. In Detention. by Chris Van Wyk. Analysis by Lelethu Yeki. He fell from the ninth floor. He hanged. IN DETENTION. CHRIS VAN WYK ( -) Van Wyk published a volume of poetry,. He employs In Detention (title): During the Apartheid. Era, police. Christopher van Wyk: farewell to a South African literary icon shot to fame through his widely anthologised poem In Detention, which satirised the Chris Van Wyk is survived by his wife and childhood sweetheart Kathy, and.

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Click on Stanza for line by line discussion. Such people, by being brought to laughter, might also have been convinced of the seriousness of their crimes. Because the poet bases the poem on the words used by the security police themselves, it is also an example of satire. These include not behaving like a quiet little mouse but rather making noises, “like drinking a glass of water” or singing bits from pop songs or calling to the dog outside, or doing something like reading or writing while you are also preoccupied in listening.

What is the overall TONE of this short poem? The sole exception is for educational institutions which may wish to reproduce it as a handout for their students.

Opponents of the regime knew that these excuses were merely lies. The result is a compendium of idiotic excuses which becomes the vehicle reflecting the stupidity of these excuses that were indeed genuinely made. Content The title immediately places the poem in apartheid South Africa, and comments indirectly on the number of deaths in detention of political activists during these years at least 67 people died in detention.


Many people were tortured, some committed suicide, and some like Steve Biko on at the hands of their interrogators those who were questioning them. The Year of the Tapeworm is an adult novel and warns of government control of the media. It was therefore a most painful way of suicide and so, once again, would only have happened very occasionally, not as often as the pronounced excuses made it seem.

On the other hand, the poet has achieved his end simply by taking the three most common reasons given for the deaths in detention and has played around wykk them, mixing each with the other. Views Read Edit View history.

In this way the poem makes a very powerful protest at this gross violation of human rights. He married his childhood sweetheart, Ln, and they’ve reared their two sons in Riverlea where he has lived most of his life.

How then would a prisoner in handcuffs — and possibly leg-irons — manage to climb through a barred window and fall to his death? Many of the liberation poets adopted a tone of serious venom as their vehicle.

Christopher van Wyk: farewell to a South African literary icon

Powered by Create your own unique website with customizable templates. In Detention – Chris Van Wyk. Van Wyk has written over 20 books, including poetry collections and children’s stories. Van Wyk died in Johannesburg on 3 October When he was a little older, his family moved to Riverleaa suburb outside of Johannesburg. Newer Post Older Post Home.

In Detention – Chris Van Wyk by B Borain on Prezi

Nevertheless, here are some topics to test you. Van Wyk and his wife, Kathy, had two sons. The best tribute we can pay is to continue the work. Van Wyk told the fresh-faced young recruits, assembled alongside members of the Timol family and anti-apartheid activists, how the poem became so popular that the security police heard about it, arrested him and interrogated him in the very same John Vorster Square, threatening an identical fate.


After seeing the heavily barred cell windows from which Timol and other detainees were supposed to have jumped, Van Wyk recited his poem: He credits much of ayk success in storytelling to his love of “skinder” gossip.

N ot long after chriss death of Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer, South Africa has lost another literary icon. My first conversation with Chris was in John Vorster Square at the launch of a biography of Ahmed Timol, the young teacher who, according to the security police, committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of the high-rise building.

But above all, he says, don’t give yourself away by laughing at a joke that you have overheard. Christopher van Wyk JohannesburgTransvaal. Topics Books The Observer.

Van Wyk is famous detengion his poem “In Detention” on the suspicious deaths that befell South African political prisoners during Apartheid. The excuses given were usually the same: Show 25 25 50 All. Analysis by Lelethu Yeki.

The poet has in fact taken a series of statements from the prison authorities themselves announcing the deaths.