Color Bar

Color Bar is by Lawrence Otis Graham.  Graham speaking about Breyten Breytenbach, who is a former South African political prisoner.  He was caught reentering the country during the apartheid regime.  In prison he was kept in a small area.   Breytenbach elaborated on how all he had to look at was his 6-by-13 cell and all colors of grey variations.  He spent his days looking at people come and go whenever that moment came.  Breytenbach said throughout his time he, and many others, developed vitamin deficiency issues.  He felt his eyesight going downhill.  The moment Breytenbach realized his eyesight was worsening, was on his transportation to a different prison.  During the transportation, he looked out the cracks in the air vent, and he saw the outdoors.  When looking at the outdoors, he realized his eyesight was miserable.  Breytenbach was transported to a prison the inmates nicknamed “Beverly Hills”.  It was nicknamed for its high execution rate.  In the prison, Breytenbach explained that time could not be measured and all inmates did was use their ears to see what is ahead of them.  While no inmates ever saw the execution room, they all could hear it.  The inmates knew the bodies were hung in the mornings, and could hear the coffins being built.  As for perspectives, the inmates with a few days of life left, those inmates would sing at night.  No other inmates would speak, but Breytenbach said you could hear that each inmate was listening to the singing inmate with such emotional respect.  The life in prison and the life in an execution prison, heavily affects perspectives.  In prison, the inmates are zombies.  When released, the inmates notice that the real zombies are the free individuals that do not realize what it truly like to be free.  Breytenbach concluded by saying now when he walks around, he focuses on the little things in life free people take for granted.  Breytenbach stills looks back on his prison days in a nostalgic manner rather than tender memories. 

The podcast is very touching because the descriptive words allow for the listeners to visualize the scenes being described.  When Breytenbach says the inmates use their ears to see, it emphasized for the listening audience to do the same.  I also enjoyed this podcast because of the visualizing description of the execution prison.  The description of Breytenbach’s experience in the execution prison heightened the perspective of the ongoing political issue of execution laws.  The perspective shined a light on how the prisoners behave and feel, which is very touching to listen to.