An Abandoned Bundle- Mbuyiseni Oswald Mtshali
“An abandoned bundle” is a poem with a situation not only prevalent in South Africa, but across the entire world where people are forced into impoverishment. This poem is a horrendously graphic depiction of the dehumanisation of the oppressed and the ramifications that this has on the oppressed society. This poem is focused on an abandoned infant being “mutilated” by a pack of starving dogs.
The desolate title “An abandoned bundle” accentuates the lack of humanity shown to the infant. It is a comment on the immorality of society. By not referring to the bundle as a baby shows that this infant’s life has no real value, not only its mother but to society as well, and would therefore be acceptable to be discarded.
Oswald uses a lot of potent metaphors in this poem from the description of the dogs fiercely mauling the baby and their fur ‘draped in bandanas of red’ to likening the city to an infected sore that was ‘oozing’ ‘thick’ ‘yellow’ ‘pus.’
The poems effectiveness comes from its strong images portrayed by simple colloquial diction used by the “simplest people” in modern society- township people. This thus sets the mood for the poem as we clearly experience how “smothered” White Jabavu is with inequality.
It is a tale -yet a reality- that tells of a rejected infant cast in a refuse dump. The “abandoned bundle” is forsaken by its mother and left to the mercy of this cruel and disregarding world. This poem is thus accurate in its description of the status and morality of life in impoverished areas.