Hugh Masekela – “Stimela”



drilling for dead yellow nuggets,

hacking coughs,
bodies bruised, scraped,
the dust of a million years clogging lungs,

drilling, chipping away with hammers,

never knowing when the rock may crumble and fall.

Miners trapped beneath the land of the ancestors, as the lights go off,

entombed alive,

a thousand human beings, their lives meaningless to the corporations of profit at any cost.

Miners trapped beneath, wracked by fear of never seeing the African sun again, of not seeing their wives, their children playing in the rain.

Miners breaking stones, their backs cracking, wielding that hated drill,

ripping out chunks of the innards of the earth,

for dead yellow nuggets,

for cold shiny crystals,

for those above to sell,

for those above to covet,

for those above to look away, conveniently oblivious of the human pain, the agony, the death,

wreaked so that fingers and necks and ears may glisten with sickening pride,

choosing not to see, choosing not to know,

that for every dead yellow nugget,

for every cold crystal torn from the earth deep in that hell underground,

numberless shattered bones,

innumerable dead souls,

countless agonised screams,

abound and resound.