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Analysis of ''Boy on A Swing''

Slowly he moves
to and fro, to and fro,
then faster and faster
he swishes up and down.
His blue shirt
billows in the breezelike a tattered kite.
The world whirls by:
east becomes west,
north turns to south;
the four cardinal points
meet in his head.
        Mother!Where did I come from?
        When will I wear long trousers?
        Why was my father jailed?

About the Poet
Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali (born 17 January 1940) is a South African  poet. He has written in both Zulu and English. He studied at Columbia University. He now lives in Soweto.

   The poem, ''Boy on a Swing'' is about the bitter experience of  a growing child in the defunct South Africa Apartheid government.Like  every other infant in the playground whether at home or at school,the poet is having fun on a swing. He enjoys the excitement,the swinging,whirling,the accompanying breeze and the company of his mother. From stanza 1 to 3 he is happy with himself and the world around him. But this contentment was for a while,his happiness ends only at the playground. The south Africa apartheid does not let him live happy as a growing child.
   In stanza 4, his joy is short-lived because he remembers his limited place in the society. He has no father to cuddle him when he returns homes,he has no hope for better clothing,he doesn't know his ancestral home because his people have been uprooted from their homes  and relocated in slums. This stanza is a summary of the destructive consequences of apartheid on the poet.

    Oswald Msthali tells an exciting but painful  story of a growing South African child.

   Themes in'' Boy on a Swing''
1. Hopeless of the black child in South African apartheid government
2. The value of self awareness
3. The carefree world of innocent children
4. The dangers of racism
5. The loss of ancestral roots

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