Photo courtesy The Guardian Express
People usually pay tribute to great individuals, once they are no more. However, I wrote this poem about Nelson Mandela, in order to pay homage to him, while he is still with us.
Would you soon bid farewell to this world?
May be, may be not
but darkness cannot drown your light
as you will live in all our hearts
you have done us proud
and will leave us with pride
as a prisoner, a president and
an ambassador of the voiceless!
A slave caged for 27 years
Condemned to hard labour; breaking stones
But none could break the dignity and humanity in you
Instead you broke apartheid forever
standing up with a straight backbone!
being the master of your fate
and the general of your soul!!
I also sat alone like you
in dungeons for a decade
surviving torture, trauma and tricks
keeping my back straight
and my head unbowed
full of hope and aspirations
dreaming of justice
and a better future for humanity
You kept your ideals
moving from authority to morality
walking from arms to talks
but never giving up the struggle for peace
leading your people to freedom and dignity!
I too wonder sometimes
Seeing my comrades move
from morality to authority
to build a land full of wrath and tears
destroying our ideals
have I wasted my life?
Clouds of darkness, fogs of fear
hover over my land
after years of menace and devastation
we have made a new apartheid regime
As a great man, who hoped for a better world
you destroyed apartheid in your land
made a hopeful land for your people!
Yet, in a South Africa without you
would your comrades be true to your ideals?
Our future generations
deserve a decent and better world
I hope and wish
you will never fade into oblivion
as your ideals will keep shining!
inspiring those yet to be born!
How many Mandelas does the world need
to lead us towards justice and freedom
from discrimination and exploitation?
Mandela, our Mandela
you will never be forgotten!
May your ideals never be abandoned
we live in that eternal hope!
The author was a former General Secretary of the JVP. He was involved with the JVP since 1968 and resigned in 1984.