Tag Archive: MARTIN LUTHER KING






Racism + Silence = Complicity.



racism stalks the cities, slimy and rotten,

memories of Apartheid, of segregation, so conveniently forgotten.



racism infects the home, reeking and vile,

memories of discrimination, of slavery, bubbling up like bile.



racism must be fought, in words, in thought.



racism must be defeated,

lest the repugnance of its history be repeated.







The 15th of August.

( dedicated to our late mother Zubeida ‘Jubie’ Moolla, and to all the women, the mostly unsung heroines in all the struggles for freedom across the world )

1.

Our mother was born on this auspicious day, in the winter of 1934.

Thirteen years later, also on this auspicious day, in the summer of 1947, India cast off the yoke of colonial oppression.

These dates, though a decade apart are bound together in our family, hewn together by the happenstance of fate.

2.

The threads of the struggle for freedom, the hunger for liberation, the thirst for democracy, the ache of sacrifice, are intertwined.

3.

The valiant freedom fighters faced the brutality of the enemy head-on, staring down the barrels of the imperialists with chins held high, relinquishing the comfort of inaction for the battle for those eternally noble ideals – the struggle against oppression, the quest for human dignity, the emancipation of women, the conviction of being a part of a greater cause in the service of humanity.

4.

The struggle for liberation in South Africa and in India left many martyred souls, many more victims of appalling cruelty, the harrowing pain of families’ torn apart, the parents and children ripped from each other, the savagery of torture, the massacres of the innocents, the decades spent in prison, the years spent in exile.

5.

The names of the martyrs bear witness:

Solomon Mahlangu.
Bhagat Singh.
Ahmed Timol.
Rajguru.
Vuyisile Mini.
Sukhdev.
Steve Biko.
Victoria Mxenge.

Just a few names of the many more who gave up their youth, cruelly executed by the merciless foe.

4.

The torch bearers of the struggles, are forever etched in our minds, always kept close to our hearts, for these were the giants who inspired countless more to join the just cause for universal human dignity.

Their names are legendary:

Nelson Mandela.
Lillian Ngoyi.
Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sarojini Naidu.
Walter Sisulu.
Mahatma Gandhi.
Dorothy Nyembe.
Oliver Tambo.
Charlie Andrews.
Ahmed Kathrada.
Sardar Patel.
Govan Mbeki.
Nana Sita.
Chris Hani.
Aruna Asaf Ali.
Andrew Mlangeni.
Margaret Mncadi.
Sucheta Kriplani.
Ruth First.
Subhash Chandra Bose.
Joe Slovo.
Raymond Mhlaba.

These are but a few of our eternal flames – the flames that shall burn bright in the hearts of all freedom loving people.

5.

Our mother was born into a politically active family. Our grandfather a fierce opponent of racism and sectarianism in all its grotesque forms.

Our mother grew up in this cauldron of political agitation.

Our mother married our father and a daughter and a son were born, while Papa made his way in and out of jail, Mummy was left to tend for the infants, Tasneem and Azad.

Our parents were forced into exile, with their beloved young children left behind in the care of loving maternal grandparents, uncles and aunts.

These are the scars of history.

These are the wounds that never heal.

These are the sacrifices that go unnoticed.

These are the gnawing ache that history often forgets.

These are the experiences of countless mothers and their children.

This is the price paid dearly for the freedom and democracy we share today.

6.

The 15th of August, a day of celebration of freedom in India.

The 15th of August, a day of reflection for our family in South Africa.

Long live the Women’s Movement!

Viva the strength and power of the women!

( dedicated to Zubeida ‘Jubie’ Moolla, and to all the women, the often unsung heroines in all the struggles for freedom across the world )

Mandela Day, 18th July

Mandela Day
18th July 2017.

the great plains of Africa echo your name, you live in our souls, a radiant flame.

the notions of racial superiority quake in your shadow, in the teeming cities, in the rural meadow.

you had an ideal for which you were prepared to die, you banished the clouds of oppression, revealing freedom’s unfettered sky.

your courage as you spent twenty-seven years in Apartheid dungeons, was unshakeable, even as you bore the brutality of tyrannical truncheons.

your comrades and you turned Robben Island into a university of freedom, of hope, even as you were shackled by iron and rope.

your indomitable spirit reached far and wide, across the great lands and over the vast seas, infusing freedom-loving people with the strength to fight, against that festering sore, the scourge of Apartheid, with all their collective might.

and when that day came when you walked under the South African sun, tall, proud and free, we ululated, we danced, we cried tears of joy, for at long last the dawn of liberation we could finally see.

and still your battles were far from over, as you steered our teetering country away from the abyss, the violence of Apartheid so brutal in its death throes, your message of forgiveness, of reconciliation spread as far as the wind blows.

those were harsh times indeed, our beloved South Africa on the precipice of civil war, the stench of blood on the breeze, yet you remained firm, urging us to throw our weapons into the waters of our seas.

then dawned the 27th of April in 1994, when all of our peoples queued to vote, democratically and peacefully, to realise the ideals and principles you and your comrades and countless, nameless others, fought, sacrificed, and died for.

and on the 10th day of May a couple of weeks later, you became our President, our Commander-in-Chief, as the yoke of hegemony was cast off, after all the pain, the suffering, the savagery, and the grief.

your principles never wavered, you did not to the powerful bow, you remained steadfast in your dream of a better society for all, you taught us to rise up again, to stand upright, after many a fall.

your humanity, your conscience became a part of the wind, your message, your dedication to the human cause, inspired numberless more, breaking the latches of racism on many a shut door.

you were our Madiba, our father, our beacon of truth, your message imbibed by so many, the aged and the youth.

then came that sorrowful day when you passed away, and to the welcoming arms of our ancestors you made your way.

we cried, we sobbed, our world convulsed, having lost you as you no longer walked amongst us in flesh and in bone, yet your example, your life entire, became a lesson set in stone.

today we fight newer battles, the enemy not so apparent, not so clear, corrupt in words and in deed, we see the scurrying for power and for greed.

we see our beloved rainbow nation fracturing, your dreams of economic and social justice diluted by avarice, and not by need.

but still we cherish and strive and fight on, todays battlefields less easily defined, the enemy often within us, and harder to find.

still your revolutionary spirit, your unwavering belief in equality for all, your principled struggle never expedient, but for what was, for all, true and right,

it is still that undying spirit of yours that compels us to never rest, to never give up the just fight.

Viva Nelson Mandela Viva!

Mayibuye-i-Afrika!

Amandla! ngAwethu!

All Power to the People!

The Struggles Continue …

with President Nelson Mandela. Johannesburg 2008.

__________

http://www.anc.org.za/content/nelson-mandela



you had a dream, of pastures of peace,

where children of all hues mingled like rainbows.




they silenced you, but your voice

resounds now,

in pastures not yet of peace,


your dream still a dream,

a dream dreamt as others slept.




you said that you had been to the mountain-top,

and they silenced your voice as you saw that promised land,

of pastures of peace,

where children of all hues mingle like rainbows.




today your dream is glimpsed in pastures,

not yet of peace,

for though they silenced your voice,

your spirit!

your spirit their bullets could never tear apart,

your spirit, like your dream,

mingling in the winds in all those pastures,


not yet of peace.




and till we give life to your dream,

those pastures of peace, where children of all hues mingle like rainbows,

shall remain only your dream.




we remember you today,

pledging that those pastures of peace

are nourished,

in each of us,


for only then will your dream take root,

blossoming into our common, shared dream,

the view from the mountain-top,

for then, your dream radiant and bright and full of hope shall seem,


where children of all hues mingle like rainbows.









( apologies but had to rewrite this piece )



the stench of xenophobia …  … …



1.


when rancid racism strikes,

in cocooned fungal minds, narrow, superficially deep,

an insidious venom begins to seep,

into our consciousness as we sleep.




2.



racist beliefs held so true, so deep,

stripped of feeling,

empty, hollow, feigned, designed, branded as compassion,

feeds the conceit in chests swollen and rotten with self-righteous passion.




3.



the racist xenophobia once firmly entrenched,

envelopes all, not unlike a comforting shawl,

needing more and more bluster to fester, and to mutate,

into doctrines of superiority, bigotry, and new fashioned  hate.



4.




are we guilty of succumbing to this virulent plague?

sipping martinis, and shovelling more, always more onto our heaving plates,

falling, slipping into inebriated stasis, without care,

as the stench of hate, prejudice, gay-bashing,

as the proliferation of anti hindu, muslim, christian, buddhist, and anti people of african and arab heritage and anti-indigenous and anti-semitic and misogynistic drivel and xenophobia,


continues to belch into the polluted air.

remembering my heroes …

image

Oliver Reginald Tambo
(ANC President)

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Solomon Mahlangu
( MK Cadre executed by Apartheid Regime)

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Chris Hani
(Leader of South African Communist Party & ANC Leader, assassinated in 1993)

image

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Steve Biko
(Leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, brutally murdered by Apartheid Security Forces)

image

Patrice Lumumba

image

Amilcar Cabral

image

Jawaharlal Nehru

image

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Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela & Joe Slovo

image

image

image

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The Logo for the ANC’s Armed Wing – The Spear of the Nation, Umkhonto-we-Sizwe or MK

image

Thabo Mbeki, Govan Mbeki,  Walter Sisulu & Nelson Mandela

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Langston Hughes

image

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Fidel Castro & Samora Machel

image

WE REMEMBER YOU

WE HONOUR YOU

WE SALUTE YOU

scabbards

scabbards.

1.

aren’t we all,
at the heart of it all,

just scabbards.

mere,
just,

vessels,
into which,

we pour
our hope, love, fear,
desire, prejudice, anger,

scabbards all,
right at the heart of it all,

filled to the hilt,

brimming with jingoistic murderousness,

bloated on bigoted hair-trigger rage,

primed,
ready to slay,

in the name of something someone,

some entity deity belief oldage, newagey, or thought-up yesterday,

sounding needlingly familiar,

a few words,
names,
hearsay,

primed,
coded,

prepped to slay,
itching to strike,

that
first blow,

shock & awe!

drawing first blood,

drop by drop,
bleeding out,

blood spilled,
again, and again.

2.

the colour of the bloody rivers in flood:

red.

red to the hilt,
brimming the scabbards,

scabbards,

mere,

and finally,
just maybe,

perhaps,

just.

double-helixed uBuntu

double-helixed uBuntu …

image

these interwoven veins

dna
double-helixed

microscopically
binding

me
you

us
all

through
this common
shared
truth:

‘I am because you are’*

all of us
together
as one

me
you …

… uBuntu*

image

 

* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

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 …

Racism is Binary

Racism is Binary

racism stalks streets,
flowing with blood,

red blood.

not black, white, saffron, green, yellow,

but,

red blood,

like the colourless tears that stream,

down faces of all hues,

&

of every shade,

human beings all,

just humans,

who into dust or ashes do fade.

racism on the prowl,

deafening,
virulent ignorance,

embraced by those who hate,

seeping out of diseased tongues that bray & howl,

while,

humanitys’ corpse,
lies in state.

racism is binary,
soul-less,

with just a single choice to make,

so think carefully now, o’ patient reader,

cos’ racism is binary,
soul-less,

& there is only one choice that is right …

… the dazzling fusion of a rainbow,

or dull,
bland,

empty white.

the tears of olives

the tears of olives  …

trickling down shrapnelled flesh

tears fall

like
blood
on
bloodied
cheek

while in the sun

lifeless bodies
lie cold as stone

still
the tears of olives
flow

salty sentinels
of memory:

pain
suffering
occupation
hunger

the tears of olives
perennially streak

etching pathways of dust

between alleyways of desolation

hopelessly bleak

yet still
the slaughter continues

as more dead bodies

rot
reek

image

uBuntu = humanity

all roots
alive

weaving intricate veins

over our shared
common plains

feeding tributaries
slipping over streams

all so

one sea
one world
one earth
us all

may be fed

like our shared blood

for
the river feeding us

all of us

the river ebbing and flowing through our veins

etching tributaries within all of us

is of one colour

it is

all of it …

red.

  ____________________

uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

image

What is uBuntu?

uBuntu …

every seashell

ever silenced
emptied

lost to the tide

shares the desolation

of
each leaf
of
every tree

that ever fell …

_____________________

uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

uBuntu …

every spent shell
ever silenced
emptied

lost to the tide

shares the desolation

of
each leaf

of
every tree

that ever fell …

Selma: March On!

you marched your dream

in Selma Birmingham
Soweto Khayelitsha

and they shot you down.

you marched your dream

for dignity respect freedom equality

and they shot you down.

today
now
still

you march on!

from Mamelodi Harlem
KwaMashu Atteridgeville

Jozi London Washington Cape Town

for

though they killed you

you live

&

you breathe

&

you march on

for

your dream breathes
thrives
lives

as our common dream

&

that

that

that
is a truth they can never shoot down.

Amandla!
The Struggles Continue …

peace | love | uBuntu

Racism is Binary

racism stalks streets,
flowing with blood,

red blood.

not black, white, saffron, green, yellow,

but,

red blood,

like the colourless tears that stream,

down faces of all hues,

&

of every shade,

human beings all,

just humans,

who into dust or ashes do fade.

racism on the prowl,

deafening,
virulent ignorance,

embraced by those who hate,

seeping out of diseased tongues that bray & howl,

while,

humanitys’ corpse,
lies in state.

racism is binary,
soul-less,

with just a single choice to make,

so think carefully now, o’ patient reader,

cos’ racism is binary,
soul-less,

& there is only one choice that is right …

… the dazzling fusion of a rainbow,

or dull,
bland,

empty white.

peace | love | uBuntu

For Pete Seeger, Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter and Woody Guthrie…

It was a long time ago
when you put your words into song.

‘This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender’ you scribbled on your old guitar.

You wielded that banjo and guitar as weapons,

fiddling out a hail of truth.

Of solidarity.

Of immediate calls for peace.

You said of Leadbelly, that ‘Huddie Ledbetter was a helluva man’.

You sang and spoke through dust clouds and relief lines.

You taught us all, to seek out hope wherever we can.

And when they tried to call all of you ‘goddamned reds’,

you sang on ever louder and louder, rattlin’ their prejudices as they slept in their plush beds.

You rode and you rambled and thumbed your way around,

this land that is my land and your land too.

For you believed all this earth was shared common ground.

And when you sang of overcoming one day,

the injustice and the pain that you witnessed along the way,

they branded you a commie,
a pinko,
a nigger and a Jew-lover.

An enemy of the state.

While your banjo and your guitars wrestled their blind hate.

‘This machine kills fascists’ you etched on that guitar as well
but they were all deaf,

for they could not hear the tolling of the bell,

‘the bell of freedom,
the hammer of justice,
the song of love between your brothers and your sisters’.

And they knew not that they were the ones who would sizzle in their own bigoted hell.

And then came the marches.

You were there too.

Marching and singing with Dr. King in Birmingham and Selma.

And you faced their ugly spit,

their venomous rage,

their clubs and sticks and knives,
but you always knew,

that your cause was just and that the truth would one day prevail.

However long it may take, you would never give up.

You sang and you marched and you strummed yourselves,

victoriously into their jail.

Then they shot him down,

they shot Dr. King dead,

as they burnt and lynched many, many more.

Yet you stood firm,

you never wavered,

your blood was red after all,

and they could not tarnish the truth’s core.

And so it came to pass,

that Woody went on his way.

To his pastures of plenty up in the sky.

And Huddie too,

said his last goodbye.

And you were then one,

and you may have felt alone and overwhelmed by the battles and with all that was wrong.

But you saw that the people were with you.

As they had been, all along.

So you fiddled that old banjo,

dragging it through Newport and Calcutta and Dar-es-Salaam.

Through countless unknown halls in numberless unknown towns,

across this earth,
turning,
slowly,

putting smiles of amity on faces that were once pock-marked with disillusioned frowns.

Today as I pen these poorly scribbled words for all of you,

for Woody, Huddie, and Pete,

I do so in gratitude,

for after all the travails that you’ve been through,

I know that you know that this world still has its fair share of hate,

and of loss and of injustice and of gloom,

but I also know that you know that though all the old flowers may have gone,

there always will be,

as there always must be,

fresh flowers,

that will be ablaze somewhere,

driving away the apathy and reminding us all,

that this world has for all of us,

plenty of room.

scribblerofverses@gmail.com

Colours,
hues,
shades,
of difference,

mingling on a canvas.

Your dream became,

our shared vision,
our collective hope,

of black, and of white,
and of rainbows,

that merge,

flowing,
to a confluence,

of harmony,

within sight,
without despair,

within beating hearts,
without invisible walls,

as we pledge,
today,
and forever more,

to honour your dream,
and build on your sacrifice,

to shun narrow visions,
of divisive gloom.

Today,
we embrace,

all colours,
every hue,
and the countless shades,

of difference,

as we,

your torch-bearers,

plant the seeds,
of the flowers of peace,
of tolerance,
of justice.

And as we nourish,
those flowers,

we know,
we know,
we know,

that the flowers of peace,
of tolerance,
of equality,
of justice,

will, and must,

inevitability bloom

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