Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

A painful past lingers

Enlarge poem

Unbeknown to us, we from the dark past seek light in dark places,
And we dress in designer labels to cover gaping wounds,
Paint ourselves with stories of opulence to cover the depth of our scars,
Wearing masks of indifference,
When all we want is to be counted.

In broad day light, we denounce the names we have been called to carry,
And in the quiet of the night wolves hear us crying for names which will tell us who we are,
And define a DNA of a people, who labored at border fences,
In underground missions, and in faraway lands,
Where the sun does not sleep,
Where the moon refuses to show its face
To birth this freedom that denies us the warmth and comfort of a home.

From a sorrowful past, we look for ourselves in ponds which feed from Lepelle and Lekwa
And we see distorted reflections of a people,
Whose identity has been swallowed by the Atlantic,
To wash the keels of Jan Van Riebeck’s ship,
And in fighting for freedom,
We continue to pay a hefty price for a worn out identity.

We look to the skies to affirm a liberation thrown at us to thwart dissent,
Yet the skies remain silent,
The roar of thunder distant,
Our throats parched.

We sing revolution songs to confirm the coming of age of our liberation,
Calling upon the revolution spirits of,
Patrice Lumumba,
Thomas Sankara,
Kwame Nkrumah,
Samora Machel ,
Dedan Kimathi,
Luis Cabral and
Agostinho Neto, and

We sing praise songs to appease the ancestral spirits of
Kgosi Mampuru Sekwati,
King Dinizulu kaCetshwayo,
vhoThovhele Makhado Ramabulana
Yet the cattle refuse to bellow.

We beat the ngoma lungundu magic drums
Calling on the spirit of the Singo Kings
To protect our fragile freedom
Yet the echoing remains silent.

*Isipandla, has been shreded into pieces,
Replaced by Breitling, whose hands of time erase a history of a people
For this, history will not forgive us,
Unless we restore the names of Sobukwe, Biko, and
The many thousand faceless struggle heroes,
We omitted from our version history.

A hunger for identity remains unsatisfied
And we wash ourselves of everything that reminds us, of who we are,
Misdirecting our anger,
And at the altar of class struggles, which masquerade as service delivery protests
We sacrifice our brothers whose African fire fed the fire of our liberation.

Sleep will not come until we the people from the dark place,
Step into the light to acknowledge ourselves,
Feed the African child in us,
And restore the nests of the restless birds which loiter in the streets of Sharpeville and Kliptown.

We will be forever tormented by restless voices,
Imploring us to give back the Khoi and San their place under the sun,
And until we remember who we are,
Liberation will not keep the sun shining on our face much longer
And it may no longer be enough to guarantee our place in the shade.

*Isipandla- A wrist band made of cow’s gall bladder worn by a Zulu person who had the cow slaughtered for them.

Phomelelo Mamampi Moshapo

Featured Poem:

The Voices

Enlarge poem

Carnage spewing guns
Leave widows afraid to greet the sun, and
Children look to the hill to silence echoing bellies
Blood and tears water our land,
Yet these are not enough to quench the mineral thirsty demons.

It is better to die this way, than the slow death of being forced
To watch minerals being sucked from the intestines of our father’s land,
Or the taste of soot, while stooping in chimneys
Bare hands carving out rock.

We have stared death in the face before,
In Aurora, Marikana and every other mine
Acid mine water deprive grinding stones of maize,
Drag us underground to make enough living to keep us underground,
Chiseling out stars we’ll never see.

Our blood feed obese commissions of enquiry,
Their terms of reference to find another
Quietly to bite out the minerals out of the earth’s womb,
Silence the groveling spirits
Police did what they had to do to appease the BBEE mining magnates,
and foreign investment gods.

We use words as our shield,
Run to the fully armored death,
With sticks and stones,
Mere fathers.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (6)
  • Pride (5)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (3)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (1)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (2)
  • Sadness (2)
  • Fear (3)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

  1. ke Mamampi, ke Ngwatladi a Machika a Lethubane a mabele a sego bohloko. Mabele a go nkga tshupa

    mamathung charlotte Mahlatji

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Phomelelo Mamampi Moshapo is a lover of words. Her poetry has been published in various volumes of the Timbila Poetry Project. She has contributed to an anthology of poetry by South African Women, Basadzi Voices (UKZN Press, 2006). She also published a Sepedi collection of poetry titled Peu tša tokologoIo (Timbila, 2005). She was also one of the featured poets in Throbbing Ink 2003, a poetry collection by six South African poets.

She has read her poetry on various stages including the following: Polokwane Literary Fair 2014, 95 Poems 95 Poets Long Live Madiba, Polokwane Literary Festival 2012, Poetry Africa 2007, and Grahamstown National Arts Festival 2005, as well as the Beyond Borders Literature Festival in Uganda 2005. Her writing is mainly social commentary.

She’s a mother to Gaositwe, Mukona, and Muwanwa; wife to Segopotso Moshapo; and she holds a degree in physiotherapy

Phomelelo Mamampi Moshapo

Biography

Phomelelo Mamampi Moshapo is a lover of words. Her poetry has been published in various volumes of the Timbila Poetry Project. She has contributed to an anthology of poetry by South African Women, Basadzi Voices (UKZN Press, 2006). She also published a Sepedi collection of poetry titled Peu tša tokologoIo (Timbila, 2005). She was also one of the featured poets in Throbbing Ink 2003, a poetry collection by six South African poets.

She has read her poetry on various stages including the following: Polokwane Literary Fair 2014, 95 Poems 95 Poets Long Live Madiba, Polokwane Literary Festival 2012, Poetry Africa 2007, and Grahamstown National Arts Festival 2005, as well as the Beyond Borders Literature Festival in Uganda 2005. Her writing is mainly social commentary.

She’s a mother to Gaositwe, Mukona, and Muwanwa; wife to Segopotso Moshapo; and she holds a degree in physiotherapy

A painful past lingers

Enlarge poem

Unbeknown to us, we from the dark past seek light in dark places,
And we dress in designer labels to cover gaping wounds,
Paint ourselves with stories of opulence to cover the depth of our scars,
Wearing masks of indifference,
When all we want is to be counted.

In broad day light, we denounce the names we have been called to carry,
And in the quiet of the night wolves hear us crying for names which will tell us who we are,
And define a DNA of a people, who labored at border fences,
In underground missions, and in faraway lands,
Where the sun does not sleep,
Where the moon refuses to show its face
To birth this freedom that denies us the warmth and comfort of a home.

From a sorrowful past, we look for ourselves in ponds which feed from Lepelle and Lekwa
And we see distorted reflections of a people,
Whose identity has been swallowed by the Atlantic,
To wash the keels of Jan Van Riebeck’s ship,
And in fighting for freedom,
We continue to pay a hefty price for a worn out identity.

We look to the skies to affirm a liberation thrown at us to thwart dissent,
Yet the skies remain silent,
The roar of thunder distant,
Our throats parched.

We sing revolution songs to confirm the coming of age of our liberation,
Calling upon the revolution spirits of,
Patrice Lumumba,
Thomas Sankara,
Kwame Nkrumah,
Samora Machel ,
Dedan Kimathi,
Luis Cabral and
Agostinho Neto, and

We sing praise songs to appease the ancestral spirits of
Kgosi Mampuru Sekwati,
King Dinizulu kaCetshwayo,
vhoThovhele Makhado Ramabulana
Yet the cattle refuse to bellow.

We beat the ngoma lungundu magic drums
Calling on the spirit of the Singo Kings
To protect our fragile freedom
Yet the echoing remains silent.

*Isipandla, has been shreded into pieces,
Replaced by Breitling, whose hands of time erase a history of a people
For this, history will not forgive us,
Unless we restore the names of Sobukwe, Biko, and
The many thousand faceless struggle heroes,
We omitted from our version history.

A hunger for identity remains unsatisfied
And we wash ourselves of everything that reminds us, of who we are,
Misdirecting our anger,
And at the altar of class struggles, which masquerade as service delivery protests
We sacrifice our brothers whose African fire fed the fire of our liberation.

Sleep will not come until we the people from the dark place,
Step into the light to acknowledge ourselves,
Feed the African child in us,
And restore the nests of the restless birds which loiter in the streets of Sharpeville and Kliptown.

We will be forever tormented by restless voices,
Imploring us to give back the Khoi and San their place under the sun,
And until we remember who we are,
Liberation will not keep the sun shining on our face much longer
And it may no longer be enough to guarantee our place in the shade.

*Isipandla- A wrist band made of cow’s gall bladder worn by a Zulu person who had the cow slaughtered for them.

Featured Poem:

The Voices

Enlarge poem

Carnage spewing guns
Leave widows afraid to greet the sun, and
Children look to the hill to silence echoing bellies
Blood and tears water our land,
Yet these are not enough to quench the mineral thirsty demons.

It is better to die this way, than the slow death of being forced
To watch minerals being sucked from the intestines of our father’s land,
Or the taste of soot, while stooping in chimneys
Bare hands carving out rock.

We have stared death in the face before,
In Aurora, Marikana and every other mine
Acid mine water deprive grinding stones of maize,
Drag us underground to make enough living to keep us underground,
Chiseling out stars we’ll never see.

Our blood feed obese commissions of enquiry,
Their terms of reference to find another
Quietly to bite out the minerals out of the earth’s womb,
Silence the groveling spirits
Police did what they had to do to appease the BBEE mining magnates,
and foreign investment gods.

We use words as our shield,
Run to the fully armored death,
With sticks and stones,
Mere fathers.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (6)
  • Pride (5)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (3)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (1)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (2)
  • Sadness (2)
  • Fear (3)
  • Jubilation (0)

A painful past lingers

Enlarge poem

Unbeknown to us, we from the dark past seek light in dark places,
And we dress in designer labels to cover gaping wounds,
Paint ourselves with stories of opulence to cover the depth of our scars,
Wearing masks of indifference,
When all we want is to be counted.

In broad day light, we denounce the names we have been called to carry,
And in the quiet of the night wolves hear us crying for names which will tell us who we are,
And define a DNA of a people, who labored at border fences,
In underground missions, and in faraway lands,
Where the sun does not sleep,
Where the moon refuses to show its face
To birth this freedom that denies us the warmth and comfort of a home.

From a sorrowful past, we look for ourselves in ponds which feed from Lepelle and Lekwa
And we see distorted reflections of a people,
Whose identity has been swallowed by the Atlantic,
To wash the keels of Jan Van Riebeck’s ship,
And in fighting for freedom,
We continue to pay a hefty price for a worn out identity.

We look to the skies to affirm a liberation thrown at us to thwart dissent,
Yet the skies remain silent,
The roar of thunder distant,
Our throats parched.

We sing revolution songs to confirm the coming of age of our liberation,
Calling upon the revolution spirits of,
Patrice Lumumba,
Thomas Sankara,
Kwame Nkrumah,
Samora Machel ,
Dedan Kimathi,
Luis Cabral and
Agostinho Neto, and

We sing praise songs to appease the ancestral spirits of
Kgosi Mampuru Sekwati,
King Dinizulu kaCetshwayo,
vhoThovhele Makhado Ramabulana
Yet the cattle refuse to bellow.

We beat the ngoma lungundu magic drums
Calling on the spirit of the Singo Kings
To protect our fragile freedom
Yet the echoing remains silent.

*Isipandla, has been shreded into pieces,
Replaced by Breitling, whose hands of time erase a history of a people
For this, history will not forgive us,
Unless we restore the names of Sobukwe, Biko, and
The many thousand faceless struggle heroes,
We omitted from our version history.

A hunger for identity remains unsatisfied
And we wash ourselves of everything that reminds us, of who we are,
Misdirecting our anger,
And at the altar of class struggles, which masquerade as service delivery protests
We sacrifice our brothers whose African fire fed the fire of our liberation.

Sleep will not come until we the people from the dark place,
Step into the light to acknowledge ourselves,
Feed the African child in us,
And restore the nests of the restless birds which loiter in the streets of Sharpeville and Kliptown.

We will be forever tormented by restless voices,
Imploring us to give back the Khoi and San their place under the sun,
And until we remember who we are,
Liberation will not keep the sun shining on our face much longer
And it may no longer be enough to guarantee our place in the shade.

*Isipandla- A wrist band made of cow’s gall bladder worn by a Zulu person who had the cow slaughtered for them.

Comments

  1. ke Mamampi, ke Ngwatladi a Machika a Lethubane a mabele a sego bohloko. Mabele a go nkga tshupa

    mamathung charlotte Mahlatji

Your email address will not be published.