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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Through writing tools such as sarcasm and repetition, the writer brings our attention to the absurd variations of the explanations that the police gave. Indeed, it is hard to see what questions could be asked in the exams. 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. The poet has in fact taken a series of statements from the prison authorities themselves announcing the deaths.

He was also an editor at Ravan Press. The sole exception is for educational institutions which may wish to reproduce it as a handout for their students. Christopher van Wyk JohannesburgTransvaal. There is, however, a danger in this because it limits readership to those who are already convinced.

Would you like to hazard a guess why? It was therefore obviously a lie. Be able to explain your answer. Loading comments… Trouble loading? This is by no stretch of the imagination a difficult poem. No part of it may be reproduced in any form whatever without explicit permission in writing from the author.

In Detention

Languages Deutsch Edit links. It is hy important to carefully look at the actual explanations, where one can realize that in fact the police were highly dishonest: By referring to the men as “he” and not giving any specific names, shows that these deaths occured quite often to many people.


The tone of the poem is sarcastic however works out to be very effective. This document is copyrighted. Shirley, Goodness and MercyIn Detention poem. But above all, he says, don’t give yourself away by laughing at a joke that you have overheard.

Humour, on the other hand, opens up a totally new market, even of those who might be otherwise biassed — people such as the politicians and even the security men themselves. He has then merely listed them. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Death by hanging was therefore a very complicated, difficult and painful process of twisting one’s clothes around one’s neck.

Powered by Create your own unique website with customizable templates. The windows were barred. Helping people through his website gave him no end of pleasure. He has written books for neo-literate adults, such as The Murder of Mrs.

Born in in Riverlea, the coloured township adjacent to Soweto, in the west of Johannesburg, Van Wyk shot to fame through his widely anthologised poem In Detentionwhich satirised the strange reasons given by the apartheid establishment for the deaths of political prisoners in John Vorster Square, the notorious security police headquarters in Johannesburg.

The Year of the Tapeworm is an adult novel and warns of government control of the media. The poem explores the likelihood of the three standard explanations of that time being true: It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the creator of Knowledge4Africa, Dr T. In Detention – Chris Van Wyk. He listened to all the gossip between his mother and her friends, and this found its way into the many stories which he thereupon wrote.

Lele’sLiterature_Blog: Poem Analysis: In Detention – Chris Van Wyk

If you had contact with ib and would like to leave a message, please send us an e-mail here. People could be locked away almost permanently without access to law-courts to prove their innocence. He was strongly influenced by political events particularly the Soweto uprising ofand this is reflected in his writing.


Van Wyk was born in Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. The follow-up novel, Eggs to Lay, Chickens to Hatchcontinues this theme.

The main idea and purpose of the poem is to state or show the reasons and excuses that were given by the Apartheid police for killing people in prison. The book launch was held at John Vorster Square because Charles Nqakula, minister of police at the time in a newly-democratic South Africawanted new gy recruits to understand the brutality of the past and develop a new culture of peace and democracy. Topics Books The Observer.

Christopher van Wyk

This was to win him the prestigious Olive Schreiner Prize the following year. During the literary explosion among black writers that followed the Soweto uprising in van Wyk published gy volume of poetry, It Is Time to Go Homethat won the Olive Schreiner Prize.

The variations of the explanations are rather absurd and quite frankly make no sense, showing that the police, in some sense abused their authority and were disrespectful enough to give such reasons and think the public would believe them.

When he was a little older, his family moved to Riverleaa suburb outside of Johannesburg. Click on Stanza for line by line discussion. After seeing the heavily barred cell windows from which Timol and other detainees were supposed to have jumped, Van Wyk recited his poem: During the apartheid era, laws were passed which allowed the security police to detain people indefinitely without having to give any reason.

Fortunately, Van Wyk survived the interrogation and continued to be an important literary voice in the post-apartheid era. Usually the prisoners were handcuffed and possibly even in leg-irons.