I have chosen Half-Caste and Nothing’s Changed because both discuss the issue of racism. Half-Caste is about the subject of treatment against mixed race people being one himself. Likewise Nothing’s Changed is based on discrimination, deliberating about non-whites and whites being treated differently. However John Agard comes across in a sarcastic method and Tatamkhulu clearly shows his anger and opinion in an angry mood. Both Tatamkhulu Afrika and John Agard portray racist attitudes as a unlawful punishment because of only their ethnic group.
John Agard is a mixed race individual who wrote about the half minded people who think and use the word ‘Half-Caste’. On the other hand the poem Nothing’s Changed is about the whites and non-whites in the area called District Six in the period of which apartheid was alleged to be over. Both express anger, Nothing’s Changed more than the other. John Agard expresses his point across in a humorous characteristic. Each poet is talking about the same issue, racism being the issue in this case but express their ideas and attitudes in different and similar ways.
‘yu mean when Picasso mix red an green is a half-caste canvas’, and ‘yu mean when light an shadow mix in de sky is a half-caste weather’. This being from Half-Caste shows that things that people witness are a mixture of things and aren’t looked at as half of something so why are John and others classed as half-caste. He gives many examples putting his point across, that showing us the reader his purpose. Tatamkhulu is attempting to state in his poem that the colour of your skin determines nearly everything about you.
An example is the ‘up market, haute cuisine’ in the third and fifth stanza, that being where the whites dine, then in the following stanza comments about the ‘working man’s cafi?? ‘ where the non-whites eat their ‘bunny chows’ on the ‘plastic tables top’. He describes the ‘haute cuisine’ as heaven compared to his eating place, which he describes with quick sentences and no real depth except for the bad characteristics. Tatamkhulu feels strongly about the methods of affairs that were run in the period in which apparently apartheid was ended. In the last stanza, it says ‘Hands burn for a stone, a bomb, to shiver down the glass.
Nothing’s changed. ‘ This is affective, one reason being that he used the title ‘Nothing’s Changed’ to end the poem. Both titles, Half-Caste and Nothing’s Changed, both give you a clue to what is the poem is about. Nothing’s Changed is more of a statement whilst the title Half-Caste is just quoting the issue John Agard is about to comment about. The beginning of the poems are quite different, Nothing’s Changed starts off by describing the habitat whereas Half-Caste begins off with a short stanza saying ‘Excuse me standing on one leg I’m half-caste’.
This showing that he is mixed race and using humour by assuming that if someone is ‘half-caste’ then they are half a person. The endings of each poem are quite similar. Tatamkhulu develops his anger throughout the whole poem, ‘hot, white, inwards turning anger of my eyes’. Also ‘crushed ice’ could have a different meaning from Tatamkhulu’s view as ‘crushed’ is used there, and ‘white glass’ being used to describe the ‘haute cuisine’ just brings the reader back to ‘hot, white, inwards turning anger.. ‘.
However John doesn’t express anger but turns the poem round accusing that he is not half a person but the prejudiced people who think of him and his fellow mixed race people of being a ‘half-caste’. Nothing’s Changed has seven stanzas. Every stanza has 8 lines except for four and five which is broken up into a two and six. This is because Tatamkhulu captures the reader’s attention for those two lines which say ‘No sign says it is: but we know where we belong. ‘ He develops the poem with the first two/three stanzas describing the surroundings.
‘linen falls, the single rose’ and ‘take it with you, eat it at a plastic table’s top’ are quotes taken out of the 5th and 6th stanza which describes the two eating places. He develops this anger through the poem to the last stanza showing his feelings. On the other hand Half-Caste has more of an unusual structure. All the stanzas have no similar numbers of lines, ranging from three to twenty six, although the structure does complement the poem. The second stanza being twenty six lines gives numerous examples of the different things in the world being a mixture.