Mark Seymour – Kliptown Mud


Version Length Source Availability
Studio  3:49 Mark Seymour Slow Dawn album. Moderately common. Available new in digital form.

 Recommended Version.



Australians travelling in South Africa led by a young male guide, into the guts of Kliptown. A vast shanty of open sewers, public showers, thousands of huts made of bagging and corrugated iron. Into a tiny two-room hut. An old woman sits at a table, next to her a vase of Proteas in full bloom.

We are shocked into silence, suddenly exposed to a life utterly alien to us, surrounded by the grinding poverty of generations. The old woman’s eyes are filled with grace and calm.

They cut through, as if to ask, “Now how do you feel?”



Through Kliptown mud we walked in shame
Nervous animals in the African rain
Step this way follow the guiding hand
We were rich and well in a wretched land

Old woman calls to her one-armed child
Follow the drains deep into the wild
And on her table the proteas in bloom
Welcome to the dark side of the moon

The floors were clean and the beds were all made
Pillows stained where generations laid
Rise to work in the cold crack of dawn
To reap a whirlwind huddled in the storm

You shouldn’t be here so how does it feel?
To touch the hand that knows misery is real
Her eyes smiling in her tiny room
Welcome to the dark side of the moon

‘Cross the Rand they’re digging deeper by the day
Somebody said “I couldn’t live that way.”

How could you know? Where have you been?
In the year of terror Two Seventeen
Your best-laid plans are like proteas in bloom
Welcome to the dark side of the moon