The Song of the Pick is a painting by the South African painter, Gerard Sekoto. Great South Africans like him were kept from my textbooks at school (mostly in the eighties). I only discovered him recently. This poem is my take on his painting.
The Transkei was a so-called homeland in Apartheid South Africa. Umtata (now Mthatha) was its capital. The berg winds are hot dry winds that blow strongly from the mountains of the interior to the coast.