Praise poem for Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Jeannie Wallace McKeown
Locked in by concrete and water,
a whispered name for so long
yet you walked far enough
to become a face,
danced in joy
to become a president,
loved and forgave
and became a father.
You lived long enough to become an icon,
one whose legacy is enshrined.
How lucky are those of us
alive while you were alive,
what a history we have lived in,
what a journey we have travelled.
Here we pause
to let you walk ahead,
leading us, always,
preparing the way we will all,
Hamba Kahle Madiba
Show and tell 1963
Ronelda S. Kamfer
Toe ek klein was het my
ma my stories
vertel oor my pa
sy het gesê hy is brave
hy veg vir vryheid
my ma het vertel
van wrede mense
wat ander mense onder druk
met wette en geweld
my pa is een van baie ander
kinders se pa’s wat nie bang
is nie wat opstaan en veg
my pa is ’n goeie mens hy
kom van ’n plek met heuwels
en ryk landskappe
hy is slim en sterk
my pa is my held, ek mis hom
hy is weg van ons geneem
nou sien ek net sy foto in koerante
my ma sê eendag as ek groot is sal
vir nou skryf ek vir hom briewe
maar ek dink
nie hy kry dit nie.
He opened his weary eyes
There were mechanisms all around
He knew he was on life support
Graca was at his side,
love of his life
He heard the toxic whispers of others
He sighed a shallow breath
He heard whispers about the graves
of his poor dead children
He sighed again
His daughter called the public and press
He hoped the beaks were not on the family birds
The Saviour of South Africa
Allison-Claire Hoskins feat. Mihi Matshingana
Steenberg and Pollsmoor
for Ahmed Kathrada,Walter Sisulu, Alan Boesak and, of course, Nelson Mandela – thank you Madiba!
In Tokai in Cape Town
A road divides Pollsmoor Correctional Facility
From Steenberg Luxury Golf Estate.
It is not a very busy road
But the activity is enough
To mark the stasis
Of each opposite.
Stasis is what’s required
For cream and scum.
Steenberg has the stronger fence, of course,
Electrified and automatic, high voltage technology.
It is rusty old spikes and barbs for the scum.
The cream has smarter guards too, with nice white collars,
And they themselves have nice clothes, even a little variety,
Not quite uniforms.
Their buildings are identical though
Just like the scums’.
(Identical with each other, that is,
Not identical with the scums’.
I mean, who’d want to live in a prison?)
I guess cream is good and delicious,
And scum smells bad and is undesirable.
But “undesirable” “bad” “delicious” “good”
Are all value words, and it is possible to be more objective.
(and about time, I’d say)
So you could say cream reflects more light,
That is, it’s whiter,
And you could say that scum has lower density,
That is, it’s lighter.
So while cream is lighter in colour,
It is scum that is lighter in mass.
Which means, as we saw in 1988,
Through mire and murky waters
It has the greater ascendancy,
And can rise above it all.