Some things you cannot write about publically, so you quote other people who say similar things in other contexts. Perhaps that is why Lomba "plaigerized" poetry to send to Janice--those “message[s] in a bottle, thrown without much hope into the sea,” were for himself, "perhaps, written by me to my own soul, to every other soul, the collective soul of the universe" (38). He could not directly scream out against the prison, so he used other people's symbolism to indicate his position.
You feel hopeless, so you toss out the message, knowing there is nothing, really, that anyone can do about it, but it helps to have it out there, in the ocean, in the waves. Here's my quote for the bottle, from Helon Habila's Waiting for an Angel:
As soon as they [the state intelligence] were gone, Auntie Rachael left the bed and came and sat on the arm of my seat; she put her arms round my neck, resting her chin on my head..... Finally, she pulled back. There were tears in her eyes.
"Kela, my son, you must be careful. Never ever show them you are brilliant. They'll kill you. Don't you know that lightning only strikes the tallest tree?" Her eyes left me and went to the wall. And I saw it now: what I had missed all along. The soldier's picture was not on the table close to her bed any more. It was up there on the wall with all the others.
"Poor Davou. He was like that, too. He never learned to keep his head low. He was always standing up for something, for someone. He was among the very first to volunteer when the war broke out. They killed him." Her voice was low and whispery. Her print dress smelled of camphor. Her eyes were not red any more these days, and the tell-tale smell was totally gone from her breath.
"Go," she said, standing up, "and always remember, our land is a land of pygmies. We are like crabs in a basket; we pull down whoever dares to stand up for what is right. Always remember that."
As I left her, I recalled Joshua's words at the hospital: that some day I too would have to stand up for something. But did that mean I'd be pulled down when I stood up? I toyed with the question for hours, but I was unable to solve it. I finally abandoned it, deciding that perhaps I was too young to answer it. "Not all things must be understood immediately," Joshua had told me. "The important thing is to see and memorize all the faces and ideas and impressions, and one day they will begin to make sense to you." (Pp. 186-187)
Habila, Helon. Waiting for an Angel. New York: Norton, 2002.