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Monday, 15 February 2010

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asafor

George Ngwane good piece.This should be a call,a reminder for Cameroonians from the North to South, West to East,without fear in their hearts,assured of their inalienable to human dignity,to rise up as one man and say no, to the present regime in power.Their firmness in the helm of power and not willing to relinquish power is unacceptable.PAUL BIYA MUST GO>

Nji

If Africans think apartheid was cruel why still allowing whitemen dettermine the future of our continent?I think is time for African to take a stand against white oppression in our own very countries throught our leaders.Africa is too big for whitemen to control, we are too many for that to happen but that does not mean that will stop if we don't act against.Act now or your children will suffer what you are suffering.

Deela Khan

I wrote the poem below to celebrate the life of the greatest, most charismatic leader our country had produced and whose memory has sadly been neglected. Deela


REQUIEM FOR ROBERT SOBUKWE
for
Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe
(5 December 1924-27 February 1978)

Rocked by an orchestral
sleepsong nightly practised by penguin,
gull & sea, your log & iron cage
patrolled by canines conditioned
to rip the life from even a firefly
and guards raised on Terblanchian patriotism,
you strode the boundaries of your prison plot
pondering the constellations
that showed themselves indifferently
and night-walking, feet pacing across
fractured shells & moon-pearled sand,
you conversed with the spirit
of the island and all who transcended the
illusion of incarceration,
the myth of chains,
all the scorched ones
who dared unshackle their spirits and
beckon that distant freedom
with the lodestones of their yearning—

By day your walks took on a harsher
complexion. The spirits of your night-talks
fused with the sunlight and the moon
hung palely against an erasing sky.
You were still there;
fence, guard, dog, still in place—
Soles crunching the iridescence
of sequinned pebble, shell & sand
you ruminated upon the loss of yet another
ritual of cormorants and gulls on fire
winging eternity loops above the daybreak water―

International outcry turned your wooden
cage to brick but you still remained untouchable.
Was it your verve that secured your interminable
quarantine? Deemed far too combustible to mingle
with fellow-islanders, you were held on this lonely
lot to hold soirées with the creatures & shades
that crept into your encamped piece of wilderness—


You lived with sea surrounding you,
could hear it but could not go near it―
You lived close to the mountain,
knew it was there but could not see it—
You lived so close to your comrades,
could see them pass but could not touch them,
could not hear their voices—
With daylight uncloaking the crimes of rulers
through time, silenced, isolated, forced to exist
in the continents of the skull, you strode away
six years of morning-walks in acute reflection―

Mangaliso, like the kings & warriors
before you and your co-prisoners locked away
apart from you, declared a perpetual danger
to a match-stock citadel of peace,
you had to lose your tongue, face & space
on the continent that had borne you―

Yet you, graced with the greatness of heart,
incisive wit and a presence that melded
you into the memory-banks of Time,
you, whose pictures would not be printed,
whose words could not be quoted,
you, muzzled orator with the gift of fire
that could mobilise millions,
spoke your wordless liberation chants
as grains of shell & sand trickled
through your fingers when returning
comrades, from quarries or bent
under loads of seaweed passed by.

Acknowledging their muted greetings,
eyes following their raised hands,
your hand turned hourglass;
its grains drifting groundwards
spoke of the ancestral soil we’re all part of,
told of the turning of the times—


Deela Khan, August 1997
Poem from
Engaging the Shades of Robben Island: Realties 2002, p.35

Deela Khan

Amidst the Fifa world cup euphoria that has gripped our country I remember June the 16th, 1976 and paste the poem I wrote on its first commemoration 33 years ago:

EULOGY
for
Hector Petersen & the
Brave ones who died on 16 June 1976

The first blood to flow in Soweto
Blood that plunged into grief and tragedy
The 16th day of wintry June was from
The limp, gun-blasted body of
Hector Peterson, boy warrior who
Strode the streets of Soweto, a faceless
Child, amidst a defiant mass of kids,
Struggling for their rights,
Demanding their lost identity,
Resisting a System of Black
Learning constructed on
Lies, deceit and inequality,
Oppressing them,
Brainwashing them,
Gagging them,
Rendering them invisible.

Carried along with the great river
Of youths under fire
He marched, shouted, and sang out loud
The litany of children robbed of their rights.
In courage and recalcitrance
He lifted his daring fists against
The Government starving him,
Branding him,
Enslaving him,
Dehumanizing him,
Murdering his fragile body, but
Unable to erase his face from the
Bloodied annals of History.

Deela Khan
June 1977


Deela Khan

CLOUDWALKING IN A SHIRT OF STARS
for
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

You stood in Isaac’s painting,1 head in the Milky Way,
Wrapped in a starry shirt of indigo, your open hands
Releasing a pair of white doves bearing olive twigs.
You were cloudwalking in a shirt of stars—
“What do you think?” Isaac asked.
“Has it captured the spirit of the Rolihlahla?”2
“It has more than stirred me, it has spirited
My breath away”, said I, mesmerized.

Now, can I understand why my poem for you
Refuses to arrive. How do I write you, colossal
As you have grown, our Madiba?
Where do I gather pristine words to celebrate
You with a hint of freshness. You are alive, your legend
Continues, competes with the ever proliferating oceans
Of words chanting your praises, ululating your lives.

You have lived too many lives, you have been
Too many faces, you have witnessed the passing
Of too many seasons; now life has seasoned
You with the gifts of seer, of Universal Healer.

Portrayed for posterity as cosmic traveller, Rolihlahla,
The painting bares you as gentle soul attuned to animals,
One with the elements, as cloudwalker walking the
Starways, turning with the music of the spheres,
As icon, now property of the global community,
Dragging an olive branch over the chasms that
Split our nations, able to resolve the irresolvable
And obliterate the wars and suffering
Afflicting our people with the magic of your presence.

Hero of every kid and every grown kid I know,
Inspiration, Role-model, Grand-father
Of the world for generations to come,
History captures you as bearer of Hope,
Deliverer of Sunbeams, Slayer of tyrannies—

DeelaKhan
April, 2000

1 Isaac Makaleni, the painter/sculptor whose painting of Nelson Mandela painted during the 1997 Robben Island Artist-in-Residence Programme)
inspired the poem.
2 Dragging a branch across the earth, sweeping away, stirring things up – a troublemaker.

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