Tag Archive: liberation


farewell to Nelson Mandela

Today, as our thoughts and tears and love flow to our beloved President Nelson Mandela,

We, human-beings the world over,

say thank you, Madiba!

Thank you for your life, a life of principle,
a life of struggle,
of torture, of pain, of loss,

of a selflessness that you have embodied so completely.

In this often cold and callous world,

where we have been jaded by war, by intolerance, by racism, prejudice, and so so much economic and social injustice,

your living spirit shall live on!

your body, that has endured so so much,

your heart, your mind, your very self, which injustice and tyranny tried so hard to break,

shines on!

Your spirit shines and shall be the torch that we, your children the world over,
shall carry forward…

you may be struggling for life today,

but you have breathed life,

into the hearts of countless downtrodden people this world over.

I don’t know what to say,

my heart breaks today,

I want to cry, and I am crying now,

with a sense of loss and of sadness that I have felt when my mother passed away,

I cry for my loss, selfishly,

but I know you have walked the long walk to freedom,

the long and arduous walk from struggle and sacrifice to healer and peacemaker and statesman and father, yes,

father to us all…

I will miss you, My father,

I will miss your comforting presence,

I shall miss your smile,

and mostly I shall miss the gentle solace that you imbibed in us all,

your children the world over…

Live on, you shall, Madiba!

in the shacks of the Sowetos of the world, you shall live on in that eternal quest for economic freedom,

in the eyes of the pained and tortured,

you shall live on!

in the whispered prayers,

the silent thoughts,

of the dispossessed of this world who still continue to be left behind in this cruel world,

you shall live on!

Thank you, Nelson Mandela, as you make your way to join the ancestors,

Hamba Kahle Comrade President Nelson Rolihlahla “Madiba” Mandela!

Travel well, and go peacefully … … …

Madiba

image

Madiba stamp

image

at Luthuli House, Johannesburg (some years back)

the stuggles continue … …

walking through the crowd …

alone
not lonely

traversing oceans
skipping mountains

tugged by beckoning smiles

absorbed along
endless miles

seeking strands of hope
loosely strung

untying the noose
where desolation once hung

while
scribbling verses unfathomably obtuse

discarding meter and rhyme

frantically
chasing ever-fleeing time

knowing
my moulting skin
is all that i have to lose

while still
walking through the crowd

alone
not lonely

an outsider

always
seeking peace
within

ever hopeful
of gentler days

when
healing may begin

soothing the soul

casting off leaden  weight

of so much that has in tne past,

past

The African Rains …

The African Rains …

Soaking,
the rains settle,
meandering over jagged faultlines of our memory.

Drenching,
the rains settle,
streaming through veins,

the thud-thudding of the heartbeat of Africa.

Absorbing,
the rains that settle,
within each of us,

herald rebirth.

And,
if you listen,

if you strain to hear,
while shedding the raucous noise of your inner turmoil.

If you listen,

the whispers of the ancestors,

speak to us all,
lending us warmth,
urging us to stand,

even though we may
stumble,

even though we may fall.

a shared mosaic

a shared mosaic.

threads
intertwined
bind

him
her
you

&

i

together.

earthy
shades
colours

hues
fuse

him
her
you

&

i

together.

one mosaic

one world
one race

human …

him
her
you

&

i

together …

image

My poem “Remember us when you pass this way” at the historic Lileasleaf Farm Museum in Rivonia, Johannesburg.

Please visit:
http://www.liliesleaf.co.za/

More about Lileasleaf Farm:

A PLACE OF LIBERATION
Tucked away in the leafy suburb of Rivonia, Johannesburg is Liliesleaf. Once the nerve centre of the liberation movement and a place of refuge for its leaders, today Liliesleaf is one of South Africa’s foremost, award-winning heritage sites, where the journey to democracy in South Africa is honoured.

Liliesleaf has always been a place of dialogue. In the early 1960s, when the property was the headquarters for covert, underground activities and a safe house for many leading figures of the liberation movement, debates on political and military policy and strategy were commonplace. People from diverse backgrounds but with a common vision met here to discuss South Africa’s emancipation from an oppressive apartheid regime. Today Liliesleaf is a repository for those conversations, and a place where the fruits of a free and equal South Africa are recounted and celebrated.

On 11 July 1963, a dramatic police raid took place at Liliesleaf. Concealed inside a laundry van, a number of security branch policemen made their way down a long, dusty driveway. Members of the MK high command were meeting to discuss a contested strategy to overthrow the government. The raid took them completely by surprise. In the search that followed, the police combed every square centimetre of the property, and collected masses of liberation struggle documents. The security police proclaimed that they had ‘hit the jackpot’.

For the apartheid government, the event was a coup. For the liberation movement, it was a crippling blow. Comrades Bernstein, Goldberg, Goldreich, Hepple, Kathrada, Mbeki, Mhlaba and Sisulu were detained. The farm labourers, who were oblivious of the true purpose of Liliesleaf, were also rounded up and taken into police custody. At this stage no one knew what would happen to them. Following the raid, they were joined by Nelson Mandela, who at the time of the raid was serving a five year prison sentence, as well as Andrew Mlangeni and Elias Motsoaledi, fellow comrades who had been arrested prior to the raid.

A dramatic series of events played out in the months after the raid: a gripping jailbreak, the arrest of an unsuspecting and innocent bystander, and much speculation about the identity of the source who had exposed Liliesleaf. Was it an ANC informer, a neighbour, or a foreign intelligence agency?

Denis Goldberg, social campaigner and former Rivonia Trialist. Goldberg was arrested at Liliesleaf in 1963. “This is the significance of Rivonia, that this is the place where the transition from petitioning, the early history of the ANC and the liberation movement, to mass action and the defiance of unjust laws campaign… we were talking about a transition to a new form of struggle… Rivonia, Liliesleaf Farm, is an icon of that struggle for freedom.”

Following the raid, the core leadership of the ANC and MK were charged with sabotage. The subsequent trial, known as the Rivonia Trial, would change the course of South African history. The apartheid state aimed to use the nine-month long trial as a platform to discredit the liberation movement and their resistance strategies, and to position the trialists as malicious terrorists intent on overthrowing the apartheid government by violent means. The prosecution duly asked for the death penalty. However, the trialists and their dedicated defence counsel, led by Bram Fischer, in effect used the opportunity to put the apartheid government on trial.

On 12 June 1964 Justice Quartus de Wet announced the verdict to a packed courtroom. The local press, international reporters and correspondents eagerly waited for the sentence to be handed down. When the penalty of life imprisonment was declared for the majority of the accused, South Africa’s struggle for democracy was catapulted onto the international stage.

Arthur Chaskalson, former President of the Constitutional Court of South Africa (1994-2001) and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Africa (2001-2005). “We need to record our history,… to heed the lessons of the past, [least] we slip back into practices that contradict the ideals that underpinned the struggle for freedom and justice in our country.”

We invite you to visit Liliesleaf for a journey of enlightenment and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of the South African liberation struggle.

http://www.liliesleaf.co.za

Heritage Day ( 2014)

Heritage Day (2014)

1.

Reclaiming loose shards of hope,

gathering up slivers of a splintered rainbow,

today we reflect,

today we pause,

today we wrestle our collective plundered consciousness,

today is ours!

2.

Tomorrow,

the struggles continue …

Amandla!

afzaljhb@gmail.com

Hope & Renewal …

Hope & Renewal …

1.

Hidden beneath life’s undergrowth,

a flower blooms,

amidst  thorns,

a whiff of beauty wafts over desolate spaces,

deep in the thicket of my heart,

where wounds are raw,

and the world is merely a blur of worn-down faces.

2.

The solitary flower strains towards the light,

in the dim bleakness of unnamed woes,

it’s fragility,

innocence distilled,

pristine,

simple,

natural,
healing,
renewing,

reaching between the open wounds,

of this splintered heart,

caressing my soul,

with a faint murmur of promise.

3.

Hidden beneath life’s undergrowth,

life stirs,

whistling melodies,
healing my shattered heart,

offering comfort,
solace,

peace,

a wounded peace,
while gathering the pieces,

an elusive, wily peace,

yet tangible,

alive!

breathing!

Breathing life back,

as pain flees,

and as,

numbness ceases…

afzaljhb@gmail.com

Rains over Jo’Burg …

Rains over Jo’Burg…

The parched African earth soaks up the liquid offering from the heavens,

birds sing,

ululating,

a chorus of relieved catharsis flows through my barren heart,

the steady rain continues,

elevating just another day,

transforming a dry insipid moment,

into a cacophony of jubilant life,

life!

life flowing,

streaming down the desolate avenues,

dripping like perennial teardrops,

down the cheeks of this crazy,

maddening city of gold,

moments of undistilled supreme mirth,

heralds the arrival of a new season,

a triumphant rebirth,

jubilant,
relieved,
ecstatic,

as the Gods of Africa,

and the spirits of the Ancestors,

smile down,

on us,

we of flesh,

and of blood,

and of muscle,

and of bone,

soaking hardened hearts,
dead as cold stone,

infusing new life,

amidst the fragrant scent of rain on dry soil,

while the bronze sun retreats,

seeking respite behind the dark, hopeful clouds of charcoal grey,

while the rains shower their blessings,

banishing the winter chills,

and graciously beckoning spring to stay.

The rains over Jo’Burg caress the leaves on the trees,

cleansing the accumulated baggage that only yesterday so listlessly hung,

over the dryness in my soul,

scorched by a merciless  winters’ sun,

Ah! But today,

today,

there are songs to be sung!

today,

I feel complete,

I am with the heavens,

no longer splintered,
into a thousand and three fragmented pieces,

at last I am whole,

at last,

I am one…

scribblerofverses@gmail.com

For Comrade and President Oliver Reginald Tambo (1917 – 1993)

Escaping the omnipresent shadows,

eluding the sweaty palms of the torturer,

running to shed this sorry skin of shame,

in hiding, here and there, with no one,

yet everyone to silently blame.

Leaving the lips once kissed behind,

to a refuge impossible to find,

not a word of sad welcome,

severing all ties that bind.

And then finally off to a new dwelling in a faraway alien land,

reeking and drenched in a foreignness so blatantly bland,

never fitting in, though always dreading being shut out,

singing paeans to hope scribbled in the sand.

You left your country, your home, your very own place of being,

you fled, into exile, far away from blinded eyes so unseeing,

and you held to a principle within, and you stood resolute,

till the shadows felt themselves in shame fleeing,

We salute you! And all like you, and the so many countless more,

into whose flesh the tyrant’s sword so cruelly tore,

We salute you! You who fought at home and you who left to fight,

from afar, on often a bleak and distant shore

scribblerofverses@gmail.com

For Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892 – 1984)

when,

the hushed rage of prejudice rejoices in triumphant pomp and hateful ceremony,

and,

the silent dagger of complicit racism plunges deep into the soul of a world bereft of hope,

and,

the long knife of embraced apathy twists and turns,

then,

perhaps we’ll open our opaque eyes,

and perhaps then we’ll open our sewed-up mouths,

and perhaps only then will we whimper in mock shock and startled surprise,

for,

the festering hate that spirals around us,

in the fertile minds of quasi-religious bigotry,

is unafraid,

and speaks in the loudest baritone.

2.

Yet,

we accept,

we acquiesce,

we wish it all away,

but,

there will come that time when the lines are drawn,

when the purest hearts of silently smiling bigotry will hold the world in their sway,

with their cherubic, agreeable arguments sprinkled with pieces of fact that will kill, rape, pillage, and slay…

what then,

I ask,

will we do that day?

          _____________

” … First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me … ” – Pastor Martin Niemoller

Walking in Gaza

Walking in Gaza …

Walking amidst the rubble,

a mother wails.

The bloodied rags that once clothed her six year old daughter reeks of caked blood,
stale urine,

death.

Walking amidst the rubble,

a father weeps.

The shelling reducing the home to bits of this and bits of that,
burnt flesh,
charred memories,

death.

Walking in Gaza,

amidst the smouldering school,

the bombed – out hospital,

the blood running into the sewers,

now clogged with emptiness.

Walking in Gaza,

amidst the savage fallout,

in – between the mangled homes,

the shuttered bazaars,

Hope lives.

Hope breathes.

Hope soars.

Walking in Gaza,

the resistance to tyranny holds firm,

as it has,

as it always will,

as it always must!

Amandla Intifada!

The struggles continue…

For Dr Maya Angelou
(1928 – 2014)

Vanquished by the day one may be,
Beaten down by the barren night.

Faltering at times,
at times upright.

Still one stands.
One still fights.

For though one falls,
One must rise*

*this scribble of mine was inspired by the poem ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou

I Will Vote for the ANC … But for heavens sake, Why?

In 1993, almost three years after our return from exile, I finally ceased being a ‘stateless’ person and became a citizen of South Africa.

I was born and grew up in exile, my parents having had to leave their home, their country, and their families as the ANC propelled the struggle for freedom against Apartheid into the international spotlight. 

Following the un-banning of the liberation movements and the release of political prisoners, we returned to South Africa as 1990 grew to a close. 

South Africa at the time was riven by hideous state-sponsored violence, with the Apartheid regime actively arming and running hit-squads in the townships and supporting various right-wing elements in an attempt to throttle the birth of a free, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic South Africa. 

The country stood at a precipice. 

Ahead lay the spectre of a country at war with itself. 

We stepped back, away from the abyss.
 

A rainbow nation was born. 

Today, twenty years on, we vote in our fifth general election.

I shall vote. 

I shall not spoil my ballot. 

I shall be voting for the African National Congress.

Why? 

Many will ask the question, and it is a very important question.

My reasons are simple. 

I will not attempt to make a single excuse for the corruption, the misuse of state funds, the horrendous crime, the poor standards of service-delivery, and many, many other issues that affect the lives of everyday South Africans. 

There can be no excuses. ‎

And yet, I will be voting for the party that liberated South Africa, and that party is the ANC. 

Not because I am a rabid flag-waving ANC supporter. 

And most definitely  not because I do not see the failures of the ANC, and furthermore not because I am unable to understand the frustrations of so many of our fellow compatriots. 

I will be voting for the ANC because the ANC is the most mature political party across our political spectrum, where all South Africans, regardless of race, creed, gender, and sexual-orientation  can still find a home in the party that liberated South Africa from the yoke of racial tyranny and oppression. 

I will be voting for the ANC because I believe that the ANC is not just the party of Mandela, Tambo, Sisulu, Slovo, Dadoo, Hani, Fischer and Mbeki, but that the foundations that those fearless leaders laid, and the ideals which the Mandelas, Tambos, Sisulus, Slovos, Dadoos, Fischers, Hanis, and Mbekis, amongst countless others,  nurtured and gave their lives for still need to be realised.

The struggle is far from over. 

As we approach our elections, across the ocean, the world’s largest democracy, India, is on the cusp of electing a  right-wing, ultra-nationalist demagogue, Narendra Modi, as it’s next Prime Minister. 

The Indian National Congress, the party of Mahatma Gandhi and of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru may suffer a humiliating defeat at the polls. 

The Indian National Congress has no one but itself to blame for its woes. 

It’s failings has nudged India towards the precipice of being consumed by the politics of hate, mistrust and suspicion of other communities. 

The African National Congress of South Africa too, has no one to blame but itself for the position it finds itself in today. 

We too have seen, with horror, the scourge of xenophobic poison flowing through our land. 

That is why I shall vote for the African National Congress of South Africa, because the ANC is the only organisation that has consistently, and long before 1994, been true to the internationalist ideals that our very own concept of uBuntu exemplifies. 

Someone once said that the aberrations of individuals must never detract from the cause as a whole.

The cause that the ANC fought for was a just cause, and delivered unto us a country infused with the ideals of justice, equality, and freedom. 

As a South African of Indian origin, I believe it is imperative for the formerly oppressed minority communities in our country to further strengthen and forge anew the solidarity with the majority of our fellow compatriots that was so evident in our united stand during the struggle against Apartheid divisiveness and tyranny. 

I am an African, and my fate and the fates of those dear to me are inextricably fused with the fate of our beautiful country. ‎

I will be voting.

And I will be voting for the ANC, once again because the African National Congress is the only political party that has consistently fought for, and struggled, under the harshest divisive machinations of the  Apartheid regime, to always maintain, as the Freedom Charter proclaims, that South Africa belongs to all those who live in it, regardless of race, caste, tribe, gender, sexual-orientation, and creed.

The future does not seem bleak to me, though I am not blind to the appalling inequality that scars our society, because I too believe that the aberrations of ANC members, MP’s, Cabinet Ministers, and even the President, shall not consume the ANC and it’s cause, which still is to ensure a better life for all South Africans. 

Is my reasoning flawed? Perhaps. 

Do I sound like a ‘my party right or wrong’ blind supporter? I probably do. 

But I shall be voting with my conscience, and my conscience will not allow me to vote for the myriad other parties that offer South Africa little else but platitudes, whilst stoking the embers of divisive toxicity. 

I will vote for the ANC, the only political party in South Africa that, I do believe, has the interests of all South Africans, regardless of race, creed, gender, or sexual-orientation, at its very core. 

There is still much work yet to be done before we can ever truly honour the ideals that Mandela, Tambo, Sisulu, Slovo, Dadoo, Hani, and Mbeki personified.‎

It is only together, all South Africans striving in our own ways to realise the ideals that once meant so much, and that now, more than ever, must compel us to endeavour towards. 

Amandla!

The Struggle Continues!

And the struggles continue…

http://writespace4iw.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/nostalgia-my-family-a-historical-journey-through-the-seasons-part-1-by-afzal-moola-johannesburg-south-africa/

South Africa: Freedom Day April 27 2013

1.

On the 27th day of April in Nineteen Ninety-Four,

Freedom was won, at long last.

The battles were many, the foe brutal,

Apartheid tore our southern tip of the continent of Africa apart,

it’s notions of racial-superiority,

its religious fundamentalism,

its fascist tendencies,

its beastly nature,

ripped the flesh off the skin of our collective selves,

but resistance to tyranny has always been a basic human aspiration,

and so resistance flourished.

2.

Ordinary folk,

school-teachers and machinists,

nurses and poets,

labourers and engineers,

lawyers and students,

resisted!

We remember you today,

as a copper African sun shines bright this Saturday morning in April of Two-Thousand and Thirteen,

we honour you, who fought,

Comrades all –

Walter Sisulu,

Nelson Mandela,

Joe Slovo,

Ahmed Kathrada,

Bram Fischer,

Steve Biko,

Solomon Mahlangu,

Vuyisile Mini,

Denis Goldberg,

and many many more,

those we know and love,

and those whose bones have now settled in our rich African soil,

those who died,

those who were executed,

those who were shot,

those who were tortured,

those who were killed,

and the countless who are still tortured today by the swords of memory,

the emotional and psychological torture,

that still rains down on the valiant ones and their families.

Families!

Families fractured, broken and scattered throughout the world,

fragments of a sister’s laugh, a daughter’s smile,
bite as harshly into the soul as did Apartheid’s cruel lashes of violence.

So many died, too many died,

and I remember them,

Dulcie September – Assassinated in Paris

Steve Biko – Tortured and Murdered in South Africa

Solomon Mahlangu – Hanged by the Apartheid State

Ahmed Timol – Tortured and Murdered

Bram Fischer – Died in Prison

Hector Petersen – Shot in Soweto ’76

David Webster – Killed

and many many more,

their blood flowing into the soil of our ancestors,

our country, our South Africa,

for all South Africans,

Black and white and brown and all the shades of humanity’s mosaic.

3.

Now we reflect,

now we must dissect,

the fruits of freedom,

thus far,
much has been achieved,

yet,

the struggles continue,

for employment,

health-care for all,

shelter and housing for all,

and my compatriots have earned it,

they have stewed in the mines,

deep beneath the soil,

for shiny metals and glittering glass.

The revolution is a work-in-progress,

true liberation shall be economic liberation,

where each and every South African,

can walk the land of our ancestors,

truly free.

We SHALL overcome!

Amandla!

Mayibuye-i-Afrika!

The Struggles Continue, Comrades…

South Africa salutes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr!

They gunned you down,
on this April day,
all those years ago,

yet you live, you breathe!

They gunned you down,
just as they did Chris Hani and M.K. Gandhi,

and they failed, as they always will,

for they can never kill,

your dream, your ideals.

Your dream, your ideals,

live, and breathe,

still!

The Beach of Promises

The Beach of Promises

1.

Fingers entwined, barely touching,
turquoise waters teasing your dancing toes,

strolling along that serene deserted beach,
our promised dreams within aching reach.

2.

Hands clasped, holding on,
sea-breezes tickling the nape of your neck

walking together, alone, vowing to never breach,
the dreams dreamed on that faraway velvet beach.

3.

Hands in my pockets, alone,
traces of you linger, teasing,

lost in my scribbles, your memory fading out of reach,

my thoughts ablaze, now and then,
catching a whiff of your fragrance,

wafting through alleyways of nostalgia,
your hand in mine on our pristine beach.