Archive for April, 2018

a taste of you

tasting you, breathing you,

feeling you,

                    exquisite bittersweet touches,

undulating, swaying in the johannesburg breeze,


  just knowing you,

       infuses emotions of mirth,

of simple joys,

                         of peace.

Freedom Day 27th April 2018

Freedom Day 27th April 2018 …

The shackles have been cast off.

The chains broken.

A people once squashed,

under the jackboot of Apartheid,

are free.

Free at last!

Freedom came on the 27th day in that April of 1994.

Freedom from prejudice.

From institutionalized racism.

From being relegated to second-class citizens.

Freedom came and we danced.

We cried.

We ululated as we elected

our revered Mandela.

President Nelson Mandela.

Our very own beloved ‘Madiba’.

Black and white and brown and those in-between.

All hues of this rainbow nation,

rejoiced as we breathed in the air of freedom and democracy.

Today we pause.

We remember.

We salute.

The brave ones whose sacrifices made this day possible,

on that 27th day of April,

24 years ago.

Today we dance.

We sing.

We ululate.

We cry.

Tears of joy and tears of loss.

Of remembrance and of forgiveness.

Of reconciliation and of memories.

Today we pause.

We acknowledge the tasks ahead.

The hungry.

The naked.

The destitute.

Today we reaffirm,

that promise of freedom.

From want.

From hunger.

From eyes without promise.

Today we also wish to reflect.

On unfulfilled promises.

On the proliferation of greed.

On the blurring of the ideals of freedom.

Today we say:

We will take back the dream.

We will renew the promise.

We will not turn away.

Today we pledge:

To stand firm.

To keep the pressure turned on.

To remind those in the corridors of power,

that we the people need to savor the fruits of the tree of freedom*.

And till that time,

when all shall share in the bounty of democracy,

We shall remain vigilant,

and strong.

And we shall continue,

to struggle.

And to sing out loud,

“We shall overcome”


take a stroll with me

come take a stroll with me, to our piece of heaven,

the bylanes of our childhood, the alleyways of our youth,

come take a stroll with me, to our abode of peace,

a gurgling brook trickling down distant mountains,

the roar of the oceans lappin our feet,

come take a stroll with me, down blinding highways of lost smiles,

across empty deserts, traversing far too many miles.

come with me, and I will stand by you,

come along with me,

where we may be,


free to be

a love enough

a love enough …

She threw her arms around me, hugging me close.

“Why do you love me?“, I asked her.

“Our love is unfettered. uncaged.”, she said.

“I have nothing to offer you.”, I said, my eyes drowning in hers.

“Your love is true.”, she said.

“That is enough”.

“And it will always be”.

love unrhymed

Kiss by the Hotel de Ville, 1950 by Robert Doisneau

love unrhymed …

you have sown the seeds, of an exquisite garden – in a tucked away part of my heart – where wild roses bloom, their fragrance infusing my entire being.

you have begun to flow through the synapses, the dendrites, the neural network of my mind – electrifying me beyond measure – a fusion of love sublime.

you rest within my all – my soul finding a soulmate – and as our fingers touched, a fire was lit, consuming my days and my desolate nights.

you have breathed life into me, your presence a whispering stream – the cool waters offering respite from this worlds heat – as thoughts of you swim through my veins.

yes, you have breathed life into me.

is there anything more that I can say?

pure romantic mush

Pure romantic mush …

My love for you knows no bounds, it rises high in our shared sky, soaring above the mountains, mingling in the streams,

my love for you lives in the air that I breathe, in the beating of my heart, in the flourishes of my sketched dreams.

My love for you is a flaming torch, a light guiding me through the crevasses of daily life, a lighthouse inviting me when I get lost in the fog,

a beacon of hope eternal, a constant feeling of bliss, afloat on the clouds, reaching down to lift me up, when I get mired in my desolate bog.

My love for you races through my veins, the furnace of desire scalding my lonely nights, in moments when for a kiss I desperately ache,

having tasted the nectar of your lips, our tongues swirling in a passionate dance, your fragrance infusing every breath that I take.

My love for you is honest and true, not a mere passing phase, not a temporary trance, but all-enveloping and felt deep,

healing my wounds, encompassing us both in the coolness of the shade, through the years, as time nudges us forward, while the shadows of age in the distance creep.

My love for you is difficult to express, it is a sprinkling of the truest emotions, laid bare for the world to see, my yearning heart in the cauldron of your love, exquisitely simmering,

a continuum of passion, surpassing the years in between, firmly rooted in my soul, as our wrinkled hands remain clasped, beneath the stars that have never stopped shimmering.

Our love has faced many a test of time, though we have walked together, the fragility of this life never taken for granted, and as we look back on this bond that has knotted us together,

as the twilight beckons us, we walk towards the horizon, as we have always done, holding each other close, through the rains, the storms, the sunshine, through it all, however harsh lifes’ weather.

Cricket, The Beatles, and You …

I remember those scorching summer days, on the bus home from school,

as exhausted as I was, when I walked past you, I tried to look so cool.

You sat on the steps to your block of flats, engrossed in your book,

hardly noticing me at all, while my heart thud-thudded and my legs like jelly shook.

I remember every night as I lay in bed awaiting sleep,

you swirled in my mind, your silence a well which was so unfathomable, so very deep.

The sweaty days of summer didn’t deter us at all, flinging our school bags and racing to the park,

cricket bat in hand and thoughts of you reading you book, simmering within me, an undousable spark.

The friends were always waiting, setting up the cricket field, stumps in the ground,

while I took my position as fielder on the boundary, to keep stealing glances at you as the park erupted into cricket’s familiar sound,

the crack of leather on bat, the ball racing for a four,

always trying to loft a six, for the ball to come to a rest at the steps of your door.

My friend loved your cousin across the street, and I loved you dearly as teenagers do, so we hatched plans to speak, him to your cousin, and I to you.

After the cricket and when most friends drifted away, my best friend and I sat underneath our tree,

strategically chosen so that he may catch a glimpse of your cousin, and I of thee.

We sang Beatles’ songs until we were hoarse,

belting out ‘All my Loving’ repeatedly of course.

My friend and I sat under that tree for years, our love an unrequited ache,

as we whistled ‘Careless Whispers’ meant just for your sake.

We often day dreamed of futures of love and joy,

while the hearts in our chests thud-thudded on, the simple love of a besotted boy.

Well the years passed as they always do,

I still managed to never say a word to you,

my friend as well remained silent as a church mouse,

as time took its toll, and as we drifted away to other cities, moving so many a house.

We often reminisce about those carefree days, when life was so much more innocent, when cricket and you consumed my world,

while through the years the ravages of time have dimmed that spirit, as the reality of true life before us unfurled.

So it was a thrilling moment for my friend and I, as we arranged to meet,

all grown up now, but back in the old neighbourhood, the first to arrive would sit under our tree on our old street.

We met at last, our bellies a bit heavier now, our hair greying with age,

as we sat down beneath our tree, just the two of us, back on our centre stage.

We sang old Beatles’ songs and we whistled ‘Careless Whispers’, thinking about all that could have been,

of how life tamed our wild hearts, of how nothing resembled the nostalgic shades through which we had those olden days seen.

We talked and laughed as evening crawled by, our hearts heavy with emotions of days gone by,

even as we bid our farewells, and promised to keep in touch, we hugged as felt time fly.

Yet as I walked passed those steps where you used to decades ago sit, engrossed in your book,

I must admit, my heart thud-thudded, and my feet like jelly, once again, shook.

art by banksy

talkin’ humanity on the rocks blues …

I’ll have my blue label whiskey neat, while the 99% search for tossed-out leftovers to eat,

I’ll shuck my oysters while all around me people dig for scraps in the much,

I’ll wear my crocodile skin shoes, while to everyone I bemoan the stock-market blues,

draped in haute-couture, I walk in suits of fine silk, while on capitalisms’ teat I suckle and milk,

my friends and I on golf courses close many a business deal, and just like woody said – we cackle as with our gold-tipped fountain pens we pillage and steal,

I’ve flooded markets with stuff made in sweatshops where teenage girls are shackled, while against more market control I have consistently prattled,

my home is a palatial mansion, and just one of the many that I possess, while billions barely live in slums that don’t even have an address,

I smirk and smoothly do the television rounds, hailing deregulation, while maneuvering for neo-liberalism to run rampant, without any bounds,

I bribe the vulnerable, and do so around the clock, to further my interests, while I wear the mask of mock-shock,

I walk and I talk with conceit, my arrogance far too gone to be shed, as I lay conformably with the governments and corporations with whom I share a bed,

and I know that my image is all important for the markets not to stutter and never to shake, so I make grandiose pronouncements of the charity I give, though always carving out a healthy chunk for a beneficial tax-break,

yes this is me, the capitalist who sees only profit for profits’ sake, my eyes never wavering from the ticker of shares, bonds, and stocks,

while I, and all of my ilk bash humanity in all its forms, harshly and cruelly, in perpetuity, against the jagged rocks …

e m o t i o n s

the sum of all emotions …

feelings fade, vanishing into the wisps of departing time,

lost in the echoes of paltry scribbled rhyme,

their embers simmering, emotions like ash, into the skies gently climb,

whispers murmuring, hushed into silence – a tragic pantomime,

while I claw and crawl, seeking a glimpse, of your beauty sublime.

Alas, ’twas not to be,

I pushed you away, far beyond what my eyes could see,

yet I smiled, tasting my salty tears, as I witnessed thee,

flying away from the pain, into the bluest skies,

to be yourself at last,

always true,

forever free


On Sale: Beauty

On Sale: Beauty

You have told me that you are not beautiful, that you are overweight, that you possess no allure,

still with your head on my chest, and my fingers stroking your hair, you possess the most exquisite beauty, sensuous, desirable, and pure.

There are many women in this world, as there are men, whom society deems beautiful and handsome, the magazines and advertisements sell us an illusion, to believe that that is the norm,

yet you are my most lovely, for I love all of you, your body, mind, heart and soul, for what do they know of true love, as they remain shackled to a singular form.

I have told you that I am overweight, not presenting the most breathtaking sight, and with your head on my chest, and your fingers clasped with mine,

you have told me that I am your lovely, beyond what society projects as being captivating, the temporary gloss, the photoshopped shine.

We share a life of beauty, ablaze in the furnace of yearning hunger, inflamed in the cauldron of burning need,

we shall never allow them to sell us their plastic smiles, their superficial veneer of of commercialised beauty, on which they expect us all to slavishly feed.

We have each other, beautiful, wondrous and enveloped in true love’s blissful joy, and try as they might, they will never sell us that facade, that cellophane illusion,

their monthly “brand new skin-care revolution”,

for we are bound by the truest love that transcends their glossy untruths, and we refuse to buy into their charade, their superficial delusion.

art by banksy

This life and our Love

Art by Picasso

This life and our Love …

I have walked these broken streets, across pavements off shattered glass,

where once roamed love, unfettered, free,

soaring into the infinite starlit night, plunging into the deepest leagues of the sea.

I have walked these thorny paths, my feet bruised and torn,

ever searching for simple love, to live within me,

to walk the beaches of my dreams, to rest, to tenderly be.

I have whispered odes to phantom love, breathing murmurs in the hope of belonging,

dancing a tango with the swaying of the willows, waltzing in the afternoon breeze,

to be with my love, under the gently sashaying trees.

I have whispered scribbles, sketched on your bare back,

feeling your soft skin as my fingers swirl and tease,

surrendering to you, as I choose to remain, before you, on my knees.

You have settled in my soul, an eternal part of who I am,

through your pristine eyes, you have bequeathed unto me the gift of seeing,

my love for you, now rests, in the innermost recesses of my being.

You have settled, in the crevasses that once pockmarked my battered life,

your love has unshackled my deepest emotions, your presence has been truly freeing,

you have washed ashore, cleansing my world, banishing the shadows as they scurry away, fleeing.

The world that surrounds us, is but a fickle illusion,

where vows are taken, oaths sputtered, in sickness and in health, to love and to hold forever more,

while behind the facade, more lies abound, hearts trampled underfoot, swept away off the sanitised floor.

Ah! but your love and mine is nothing like that, we have nothing much but love to give, nothing to hold onto except one another,

it is our bond, nurtured intricately, deeply forged over these long years, that has been the glue that has held us together over the years, the decades, and the ravages of time,

all the while you have patiently tolerated my quirks, and hand in hand we this mountain of love have continued to climb,

for what we share with each other, is a love genuine and true, and ever so sublime,

reaching far beyond my scribbled verses, never falling for the all-too inviting pantomime,

yet overcoming so much, so very much of my paltry rhyme.

Art by Picasso

The Female and Male Dynamic

The Female and Male Dynamic …

As I lay, catatonic, on the cold concrete ground,

you picked me up when I was the most fragile, with whispers of your voice the only sound.

You soothed my wounds, you stemmed the blood,

you lifted me up, holding me as I lay mired in life’s mud.

My days had been pockmarked with episodes of emptiness and gloom,

it was you who lifted the blinding shroud, bathing me in the sunlight, dispelling the encroaching doom.

You pulled me, yanked me back from the yawning abyss,

you took me into your life, filling my days and nights with peace and bliss.

Then, as so many men do, I took you and your love for granted, squashing the roses you had so lovingly planted.

You stayed with me through my indifference, quietly nursing your pain, while my memory was ghastly, as I conveniently ignored that it was you, who helped me up to my feet again, assisting me to regain my youth,

I chipped at your love, chiselling away a lack of empathy and of truth, my behaviour like so many of my gender, ungrateful and uncouth.

You stuck it out for as long as you could, you still had hope that in time I would, be the man you dug out of the mire with your own bare hands,

yet my conceit, my ever inflating arrogance, my ‘male ego’ was all that remained of that man you loved, without even traces of our love, slipping through my fingers like apathetic strands.

Though my callous actions were personal and without an inch of gratitude,

it is common amongst my gender, to be this selfish, so puffed-up on machismo, so lost in our male superficial impotent attitude.

I know now that my actions were distasteful, to say the least, and I cannot take the tears as they flow.

I shall not even try to beg apologies, for they are hollow, and as worthless as male contrition go.

Is this how the male of the species behaves, when love takes him in and offers solace immeasurable,

when he once again stands on his feet, and his macho ego is healed and back to its ugly self, why does he willfully blind himself to become merely bearable.

I have failed as a man, as a human being, to so many pure souls who have been my safe haven, who have offered me their love,

their kindest love in times when I needed it most, they showered me with tender care like the soft rains above.

What else can I say as a man, the misogynist, the sexist, the predator, the absentee father, the abusive husband, the child molester, the man who is fuelled by nothing more than the lust for power,

the man who twists words, gaslights, and always, always, takes pleasure when all others in front of him cower.

for Chris Hani 

Comrade Chris Hani

(28 June 1942 – assassinated 10 April 1993)

Mowed down

by hot lead,

your blood flowed

into our African soil.
Murdered you, yes, they did.
Silence you, they never will,

for your voice,

your spirit,

speaks to us still!

art by Banksy

Not quite a Refugee …

In all my life, I have waited, searched, stealing glances behind every closed door,

peering into teacups, my feeble attempts at divining what tomorrow may have in store.

In all my life, I have kissed the soft lips of joy, murmuring words of love, always trying to find a soul,

a soul perhaps far, far away, or around the corner, looking for that one who would make me whole.

I have found love, here and there, deep and true, as I have faced the gale, a hurricane that never ends, always on the lookout, for the poisoned arrows that fate sends.

I have found desolation, tossing me about, lost in the crowd, never fitting in, never wanting to fit in, to finally flee this city’s cacophonous din.

I have found pain, slicing me into bits , the offensive comment here, the hateful look there, the laughter of them all that echoes in my heart, barren and bare.

I have found anger, within myself, at my being the way I am, having to cross oceans, to walk amongst people who do not give a damn.

I am lost, an exile amongst my own people, where you either join the fake charade, or get dumped broken and bruised, trampled by the hollow parade.

I am lost, a refugee who will never be a part of the pack, for I know they will always snigger at me, behind my bent back.

What do they know of loss and of pain, what do they know of packing up a few belongings, fleeing cities, over and over and over again.

What do they think when they see me, a party trick who does the rounds, breaking little by little inside, while all around me their laughter abounds.

Where can I flee, where is my place of peace, while the jabs and the snide quips never cease.

Where is that promise of home that once burned bright, while now I am in the dark, bereft of hope and blinded without light.

How do I pick up these pieces, scattered fragments of my being, strewn across the world where I have always lost, a part of me staying behind, at an immeasurable cost.

How will I ever shed this skin of the clown, this fakeness I have wrapped around me, how will I ever be me, ridding myself of this plastic smile, to just be free.

This world, these places, offer me no hope at all, for they have thrashed me to the ground to mercilessly crawl.

This world, these crocodile smiles, these clinking champagne flutes, can never compare to the dung-caked soles of my roots.

This place, and countless others through which I have roamed, are razors which dealt death to me by a thousand and one cuts, where you must conform, without any ifs, and certainly without any buts.

I find my solace in my scribbles, in my blood dripping on each page, where I pour out my pain, my loss, my deadened spirit, my brimming rage.

I find solace in the moments when the rain washes these avenues, a rushing past of detritus in a cleansing stream,

I find solace walking through the icy rain, in my eternal quest to not reek of foreignness, for just a moment or two, to be pure and clean,

I find solace, fleeting at best, to moult this skin, of every pain felt,

and of every horror seen.

dove of peace by Picasso

Monday schmaltzy Mush

Monday schmaltzy Mush …

My desire for you, roars,

caressing the shores,

a desire fuelled by your completeness, as I behold you smashing boulders,

yet kissing the soft talcum beach of my dreams, while your head rests gently on my shoulders.

My desire for you simmers, as lovely hope glimmers,

your flame keeping my body ablaze with a hungering need,

an unquenchable thirst, an insatiable greed,

for ’tis you, your body, your soul, your fiery flesh,

on which my aching for you does feed.

You are a woman, a being of flesh and of blood, with sensuous allure drowning me in your desirous flood,

you have all of me soaked in your love,

as I gaze at you, your wings unclipped, your love reaching high as a sublime dove.

Banishing yesteryears emptiness with a lightness so rare,

your beautiful head and your succulent hair,

which my fingers stroke with tender care.

In this world of loneliness,

you are my perennial loveliness,

mending my broken dreams and shattered heart,

our humble hope is of never being apart.

We wish to be released from these hollow shells of false facade, of the vacuum of the empty charade,

but you and I, we love, we feel, we touch each other in the truest ways,

soul to soul, our togetherness along with the palm sways,

away from this deadening parade,

seeking only shelter in each others shade,

for though separated by distance we may be,

our love flies, no longer shackled on bended knee.

I love you deeply, I want you so much,

my body burns, my thoughts steamy with images of you, my skin yearning for your touch,

two bodies, intertwined, in unison, two hearts made one, two souls made whole,

and for that bond to strengthen,

I shall gladly walk,

on red-hot blazing coal


Away …

I want to take you away, from this place of splintered dreams,

of desires left out in the rain to rust,

far away where we are alone,

away from this place that turns hearts to stone.

I want to take you away, far from the tears and the pain,

to our secret abode of pristine love,

where we shall rest together, on our silken beach,

under the warm sun shining above.

I want to take you away, from these city streets, from this suburban stasis,

to a place where all around us there are peaceful trees, with a murmuring stream flowing along,

to our place of peace, to our dream soaked island,

where we really belong.

I want to take you away, from the cacophonous crowd, the hollow parties, the painted on smiles,

far far away from this straightjacket of society, and far far away from its hypocritical norms,

where there runs a vulgar undercurrent just beneath the veneer,

and where souls are driven not by love, but by debilitating fear.

I want us, you and I, to flee to our secluded garden of paradise,

for as your head rests on my chest at this moment in time,

we shall leave all of this behind,

as long as we are together, now,

together to simply be,

we are without fetters,

we are blissfully free,

so I may love you,
and you may love me …

a sunday wish for you …

may your day be as gentle

as your soft smile, warm as your heart,

may your afternoon be caressed by kisses of sunshine,

may evening wrap you in a cocooned eiderdown,

may your night be peacefully restful,

warm and dreamy,

simple, and true,

as are you

Our mother in the background on the left with Comrade Nelson Mandela’s mother sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s protesting the arrest of political prisoners

President Nelson Mandela’s letter of condolence to our father when our mother passed away after a lengthy and painful battle with Motor-neurone disease  (ALS) on 3rd April 2008

My elder sister Tasneem Nobandla Moolla’s Tribute to our Mother.

note: our father, Mosie Moolla and future President Nelson Mandela were both comrades in the struggle against Apartheid as well as friends. Comrade Nelson Mandela was to be our father’s best-man at the wedding of our parents, but Comrade Mandela was in jail on a separate charge.

The were, however, in jail together in 1962 when news came that our mother had given birth to my eldest sister.

Our father asked his comrade Nelson Mandela to give my sister a name which he promptly did – ‘Nobandla’, an isiXhosa name which means “she who is of the masses”.

Our mother who was arrested in May 1963, when my sister was just 7 months old

The following is my sister’s memories and tribute to our mother as the old painful memories are revisiting us all as we are in mourning for the mother of our nation, Comrade Winnie Mandela.

April 3rd marked 10 years since my beautiful mum Zubeida Moolla passed on.

She spent 27 years in exile with my dad Mosie Moolla, who was a combatant in the armed-wing of the AfricanNational Congress  (ANC) and who escaped from the Marshall Square jail in central Johannesburg along with 3 other comrades. There was a bounty of £2000 on our father and his 3 fellow-escapees. Our father and the three conrades were spirited out of South Africa where our father joined the armed-wing of the ANC and who for 27 years spent time in exile with our mother, while representation the ANC as it’s Chief-Representative in India, Egypt, and as ANC Secretary to the World Peace Council  (WPC) in Helsinki, Finland.

Those were extremely difficult days for her as she had to leave her family and myself and my brother Azad, to continue the fight for the liberation of our people, by galvanising international efforts in the isolation and international struggle against Apartheid by raising awareness about the evils of Apartheid in the broader international community.

Our mother Zubeida Moolla delivering a speech at an anti-Apartheid meeting whilst in exile in India

She sacrificed all those years mostly alone in strange countries but her resolve never wavered and she stood firm and brave until we won our freedom.

Both my parents were close comrades of Ma Winnie and Tata Madiba.

She welcomed Madiba and Ma Winnie when they visited Sweden and it was a great reunion for them, after 27 years of separation.

My mum was a fighter till the bitter end when Motor Neurone disease (ALS) took her away from us too soon.

She made many sacrifices for our cause, she was jailed and tortured while 10 months pregnant with my brother Azad, while alson being threatened by the then Apartheid police to be thrown off “John Vorster Sqaure” (Apartheid police headquarters in central Johannesburg) after my father’s escape, but she still stood tall and never betrayed her beloved ANC.

The flag of the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa

To all those who paid the ultimate price for freedom I salute you!

Hamba Kahle Ma Winnie!

Your struggle and fight will always remain in our hearts.

I am proud to share a name with you “NOBANDLA”.

This name was given to me by the late great Tata Madiba Nelson Mandela, and means “she who is of the masses”.

Long live the struggle against racism and injustice and oppression and misogyny anywhere in the world!

The Struggle Continues! 

Viva ANC Viva!

Viva the memories of our giants – Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Nana Sita, Yusuf Dadoo, Chief Albert Luthuli, Braam Fischer, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, Denis Goldberg, Raymond Mhlaba and the many countless South Africans who made the ultimate sacrifice for a free and democratic nation.

Matla ke a Rona – Victory is certain ✊

Umkhonto-We-Sizwe – The Spear of the Nation: The armed-wing of the African National Congress (ANC) during the struggle against Apartheid racial discrimination and oppression

the Emblem of Umkhonto-We-Sizwe, the armed-wing of the African National Congress (ANC) during the struggle against Apartheid brutality and racism, in the pursuit of freedom and democracy.

revolutionary poster at the height of Apartheid in South Africa


Hoping …

There are times when I find myself in the abyss of lonesome despair,

when all seems empty, when I feel like a husk of a man, when I no longer care.

When the walls close in, around me and around my heart,

when I feel desolate, always separate, and of nothing ever a sliver of a part.

These moments do pass, as all moments must, and yet the void takes far too much time to fill,

an oil tanker spewing poison, a empty cup of tea impossible to refill.

When emotions are dulled, and the purpose of life is mulled, in a haze of self-pity,

when I am sliced and diced by this festering city.

When nothing seems to matter anymore,

when I fall into the cravasess, shredding me to my very core.

These intensely personal feelings are not easy to share,

yet the solace I find in my scribbles, makes the vacuum a bit easier to bear.

So I scribble away, never seeking sympathy, pity, nor friendly hugs or words of solace, however well-meaning they are all,

for I know I shall have to be the one to pick myself up when on this road I fall.

And as I strain my eyes and in the distance a dim light beckons me,

I crawl towards it, my sight blurry, but knowing it is the flame of hope that I see.

My path ahead is littered with thorns, jagged stones and the seemingly impossible obstacles I have to pass,

yet I continue on, towards the light, on my knees bruised, bleeding, cut raw by stinging sharp glass.

I finally stand up, my legs numb, while I drag my wounded form towards the now bright flame of hope,

reaching out to me as I reach out to it, the arduous journey having been a slippery slow slope.

Finally I reach the soft grasses of all-enveloping peace,

breaking free from the shackles, exhausted, though joyous as from the straightjacket I finally find release.

I stand up, no longer scrambling on my knees, seeking respite in the soothing coolness of nature’s breeze,

to feel whole again, under the canopy of the generous, green trees.

A Tribute to Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu.

(Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu (10 July 1956 – 6 April 1979) was a South African operative of the African National Congress (ANC) military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). He was convicted of murder by the brutal Apartheid regime. He was executed by hanging in 1979) …

You were the tip of the spear, the pointed tip of Umkhonto-we-Sizwe,

“The Spear of the Nation”.

You held true to your principles,

your values in your struggle against Apartheid racial discrimination and savagery.

The state feared you, and so many like you.

They feared the blazing tip of the spear that would fracture their arrogant, hollow ideology.

You, Comrade Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, were 23 years of age,

yet decades ahead, a beacon to the indomitable spirit of the revolutionary that you were.

The grotesque Apartheid regime executed you, at 23 years of age.

They could not silence your final words –

“My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom.

Tell my people that I love them.

They must continue the fight”.

Your paid the ultimate price.

You made the ultimate sacrifice,

so that we who breathe the air of freedom may today and always salute you,

a true martyr to the cause of humanity and dignity and free from the shackles of racism and racial supremacy.

You were a beacon of resistance.

You remain a shining light that shall forever guide us even in the deepest night.

They executed you,

yet they could not,

they cannot,

they will never quell the fire of revolution.

The fire that you held in your heart,

the fire that shall always shine true.

Hamba Kahle*, Comrade!

Amandla! ngAwethu*

Matla ke a Rona!*

The struggles continue!



* – “Hamba Kahle” is an isiZulu and isiXhosa saying that means “farewell”, and was rallying cry in the struggle against Apartheid, when it was put to song and sung at funerals of the martyrs who laid down their lives for the cause of freedom, justice, equality, democracy, and dignity for all.

* – “Amandla Awethu” means power to the people, and was also a rallying cry in the struggle against Apartheid.

* – “Matla ke a Rona”  was a revolutionary slogan that means “Victory is Certain”



Apartheid-era Gallows (now a museum as the death penalty has been abolished in South Africa)

my tribute to Comrade Winnie Mandela published

Hamba Kahle* Mama Winnie Mandela!

We will not give up your fight!

Matla ke a Rona!**

The Struggle Continues.

Viva the undying spirit of Winnie Mandela!

Viva the struggle against racism and oppression!


* – Hamba Kahle – an isiXhosa and isiZulu term meaning “travel well” – often used when bidding a departed one adieu.

* – Matla ke a Rona – victory is certain – a slogan during the struggle against Apartheid oppression and racial discrimination.

with comrade Winnie Mandela, with whom my mother worked with for a while in the 1950s. My mother always regarded Mama Winnie Mandela as a comrade.

Hamba Kahle* Mama Winnie Mandela!

We will not give up your fight!

Matla ke a Rona!**

The Struggle Continues.

Viva the undying spirit of Winnie Mandela!

Viva the struggle against racism and oppression!


* – Hamba Kahle – an isiXhosa and isiZulu term meaning “travel well” – often used when bidding a departed one adieu.

* – Matla ke a Rona – victory is certain – a slogan during the struggle against Apartheid oppression and racial discrimination.

Comrade Nelson Mandela was a friend and comrade of my father, both of whom were fellow-accused among the 156 comrades in the infamous “Treason Trial” from 1956 to 1961 and who spent time in jail together. Comrade Mandela named my sister “Nobandla” – an isiXhosa name meaning “she who is of the people”. Comrade President Nelson Mandela was to be my father’s Best-Man at my parent’s wedding, but was unable to attend because he had been arrested and was in prison on another charge

Comrade Nelson Mandela and my father sometime in the 1950s.

President Nelson Mandela and my father in post-Apartheid South Africa

with President Nelson Mandela in Sweden 1990

with comrade Winnie Mandela, who worked together with my mother for a while in the 1950s and whose husband comrade Nelson Mandela was a friend and comrade of my father both of whom were fellow-accused in the infamous “Treason Trial” from 1956 to 1961 and who spent time in jail together and who named my sister “Nobandla” – an isiXhosa name meaning “she who is of the people”.

For Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela 

(1936 – 2018).

Today we grieve,

The mother of the nation has breathed her last,

today we reflect on her gallant past.

Today we mourn,

the falling of a giant tree,

who rattled the foundations of Apartheid,

in the collective struggle to be from oppression free.

Today we weep,

tears of sorrow and tears of pain,

for our mother who shall no longer walk amongst us again.

Today we sing,

songs of freedom and of profound loss,

as we remember the cruel and brutal obstacles she had to cross.

Today we reflect,

on the years of banishment and of solitary confinement she was made to suffer,

with no husband, no family, nothing but her will acting as her protective buffer.

Today we recall her strength,

as she fought alongside her comrades without a pause,

while remaining ever faithfully dedicated to the valiant struggle, to the cause.

Today we console each other as the truth cuts deep,

her life one of loss and of unimaginable pain,

as we call out our eternal refrain –

Hamba Kahle* Mama Winnie Mandela!

We will not give up your fight!

Matla ke a Rona!**

The Struggle Continues.

Viva the undying spirit of Winnie Mandela!

Viva the struggle against racism and oppression!


* – Hamba Kahle – an isiXhosa and isiZulu term meaning “travel well” – often used when bidding a departed one adieu.

* – Matla ke a Rona – victory is certain – a slogan during the struggle against Apartheid oppression and racial discrimination.

2008 – President Nelson Mandela with my father and I

Belonging …

I may not feel at home anywhere, in any place,

my ties that bind are tenuous at the very least, brittle and flimsy,

my roots are shallow, not deeply entrenched to anything, not to the now and not to the here,

which leaves me holding on,

clinging onto, only desiring the eternal embrace,

of wanting all of what I have finally found,

far, far beyond the pleasures of the flesh,

far, far removed from the clichés of love and desire and wants –

for I, at long last,

understand and breathe, that ever elusive enveloping shawl of human longing,

for with you,

I have learnt the true meaning of being at home,

the true meaning of finally belonging.



The scimitar cleaves deep, drawing blood, in moments awake,

in the nightmarish twilight of accursed sleep,

beyond creeping evening where shadows creep,

across the haunting willows that continue to weep.

My longing for you knows no bounds, as I keep at bay desolation’s sniggering hounds,

deadened by the cacophonous crowd, muffling my ears to it’s battering sounds,

deafened by the parade that all wear plastic smiles as they do their endless rounds.

My longing for you, is a deep sawing ache,

assaulting my sleep, wrenching the moments when I am barely awake,

the desolate pangs of yearning callously take, all peace as my ramparts struggle to hold back the tide of tears, hoping against hope that my walls do not break.

This pining heart, this yearning soul, this broken man, sliced and diced, bruised and shattered,

realising now, and far too late, that is was only you who always mattered,

for as my being is flayed and mercilessly battered,

my broken heart lies strewn across the floor, savagely scattered.

How will I pick myself up from this splintered state,

when the jabbing continues, knowing that it will not cease, sure in the knowledge that the agony will not abate.

So all I do is walk and talk as I remain fractured and cloudy, misty-eyed and numb,

while the buzzing of people is nothing but a stabbing pinging hum,

rendering me mute, blind, and irretrievably dumb,

as I search the house for memories of you, your smell, your being, so I may hold onto just a tiny crumb.

I know now your departure was of my callous making,

not sharing much at all, yet always from your generous self greedily taking,

your emotions, your love, your very being, while your insides with silent sorrow was breaking.

It is too late now to turn back the clock of passing time,

as I walk these streets donning the fake smiles of a mime,

adrift in the sewers of emptiness, my only sheath this festering slime,

as I feel myself pockmarked with rusty grime.

I know that I took your love for granted, not caring to see, even as we each walked our own way,

but what wouldn’t I give to have it all back, to share with you your presence, if only for a day,

as I realise that I treated you as a bit-player in my self-serving play,

always thinking that you would to my rhymes placidly sway,

smug in the belief that you would never walk away.

This is not a plea for forgiveness, nor is it meant to tug at your heartstrings,

I do not mean to torment you with words of contrition, nor to stir up nostalgia and all the lying memories it brings,

this is my adieu to you, my darling true, as you soar through the skies, rising in joyous flight, no longer trapped by chains and cold metal rings,

as you finally, feel the glorious sunshine cascading over your unfettered wings …

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