Tag Archive: nature


Our mother with Comrade Nelson Mandela’s mother

.

.

.

.

The 15th of August 1934 and 1947

( 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 the 15th of August, an 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.
Prakash Napier
Sukhdev.
Steve Biko.
Victoria Mxenge.
Yusuf Akhalwaya.

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.

Mummy as a mother suffered harshly and went through many breakdowns, being separated from Tasneem and Azad. I think only people who have been apart from their children will understand the pain of a mother.

People often think life in exile was easy. It was not. Papa was with MK and travelled continuously. It was mummy who was left with her thoughts, her grief, her pain and suffering knowing that her children were suffering by not having parents like normal families do.

People also called mummy ‘cheeky’ with a quick and bad temper, but can anyone understand the pain of being separated from ones own children and not becoming angry and feeling broken.

What Tasneem and Azad had to suffer through only they know. No one who has not been ripped away from their parents can ever ever know the effect that pain and pining has on the children. Today we see people whose kids go for sleepovers with friends and already the house seems empty and already the parents and the children miss each other and WhatsApp each other.

Tasneem and Azad never had that luxury.

May my nieces never forget the sacrifice mummy and daddy made and the pain of that time that can never really heal.

So may we try and spend time just thinking how it would be for the grandchildren if they had their parents suddenly taken away from them and then having to live with uncles and aunties, and grandparents.

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 ‘Zubie’ Moolla, and to all the women, the unsung heroines in all the struggles for freedom across the world )

.

.

.

Our mother with Comrade Nelson Mandela

Advertisements

The Beauty in You

The Beauty in You …

.

.

.

My eyes have travelled across oceans, beyond valleys and peaks, across the vast savannah and swirling in murmuring streams,

my eyes have travelled far and wide in many kaleidoscopic dreams,

my eyes have travelled here and there, and through places in between, yet your beauty remains a constant, skipping off the most radiant sunbeams.

.

.

I have felt the touch, the wild deluge of the monsoons, drenching me in its cleansing rain,

I have felt the touch, of moonlight cocooning me, a soothing veneer, that has kept me sane,

I have felt the touch, of your body, your lips, your being a healing presence, your unspoken words a melodic refrain.

.

.

You come to me in moments alone, when this world seems empty, a chalice brimming with tears,

you come to me in moments dark, your delicate whispers banishing away all my dreadful fears,

you come to me in moments of splintered thoughts, your wondrous self offering shade from the scorching sun that sears.

.

.

The beauty in you lends a lifeline to me, dispelling my mute vacuum, raising me from life’s empty hole,

the beauty in you douses the flames of my self-immolating fire, breathing life into me to once more be whole,

the beauty in you is a sublime truth, a truth of love and of belonging, a truth that has firmly taken root, in my once barren soul.

.

.

.

Love Concedes






love concedes … … …




love concedes, through bitter travails,


love recedes, into closeted wardrobes,


love exhausts, lover and loved alike,


but,


love endures, through the years,


traversing valleys of tears,


dispelling untruths,


exiling paralysing fears.

.

.

a scribble just scribbled. definitely needs to be edited and maybe rewritten but it’s just a raw slice of pained emotion now.

.

.

.

The First People and the People of our World Speak …

.

.

.

You visited our shores,
bearing muskets and swords.

You landed on our revered soil,
in your hearts your blood a-boil.

You came to our land,
cunningly extending a friendly hand.

Your motives were clear,
pillage and plunder everything, however far or near.

Your eyes blazed with greed,
always hungering for so much more than you ever could need.

Your syphilis-blankets were your gift to us,
biological warfare you waged with a smile and without a fuss.

You tore into our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our wives – to the very last,
your ugliness has not been forgotten after all these centuries that have passed.

You decimated our peoples, raining death upon us as a bloodthirsty barbarian horde,
you slaughtered the bison that roamed free, as into their flesh your bullets mangled and gored.

You stole from us all we ever had, regarding us as vermin meant to be wiped off the face of this earth,
your genocide is now a footnote in history, you cackled merrily as your ethnic-cleansing was carried out with much mirth.

You dumped us into ‘reservations’, your sickening Apartheid on display,
your arbitrary ‘bantustans’* was where you decreed our people could stay.

The reservations are where we barely live today,
creating the climate so that with alcohol and drugs our people you still slay.

Where are your grand words that you spew around like dung,
“freedom” and “democracy” and all the other hollow platitudes that are so obscenely flung.

We could go on about your carefully crafted plans to get rid of us all, the gracious “White-Mans’ Burden” repeated endlessly through colonialism and neo-imperialism all around this world,
your avaricious plunder of this, our common earth, on grotesque display as on “free trade treaties” your signatures swirl.

Yes, we could speak endlessly about your notions of racial superiority, your hubris that your might is right, how you try to cower us all because today your empire is strong,
yes, we could and perhaps should talk about your noxious nationalism, your obscene belief in “my country right or wrong”.

Yes, we could go on and on, about the racism that you embrace, even as you blabber that God is one.

Yes, today we will remind you that “The Cradle of Humankind”** is here on the southern tip of the continent of Africa, where all of us, the human originated from,

yes, today we will remind you that as you pour your infectious bile and as you continue to pillage and invade, and our countries bomb,

we will not stoop so low, as you so shamelessly have,

and,

and,

we will not tell you to go back to where you came from.

.

.

.

* – Source: Wikipedia –

A Bantustan (also known as Bantu homeland, black homeland, black state or simply homeland; Afrikaans: Bantoestan) was a territory set aside for black inhabitants of South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia), as part of the policy of apartheid.

Ten Bantustans were established in South Africa, and ten in neighbouring South West Africa (then under South African administration), for the purpose of concentrating the members of designated ethnic groups, thus making each of those territories ethnically homogeneous as the basis for creating “autonomous” nation states for South Africa’s different black ethnic groups.

In terms of the Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970, blacks were stripped of their South African citizenship, which deprived of their few remaining political and civil rights in South Africa, and made them citizens of their designated homelands.

.

.

.

** – Source:
https://www.maropeng.co.za/content/page/about

.

.

.

The Cradle of Humankind is one of 10 World Heritage Sites in South Africa, and the only one in Gauteng.

It is widely recognised as the place from which all of humankind originated.

.

.

.

An Immigrant’s Lament

art by banksy

.

.

.

.

an immigrants lament

gazing at the sky
i often wonder why,

birds soaring,
high in the open sky,

are free to fly ?

is it that they have wings,

for i too have wings, friend,

so,
i often wonder why,
huddled against desolate sleet,

and,
i often wonder why,
buried under flimsy newspapersheet,

that i too have wings, friend,

i too have wings!

it is just that
my little wings,

are my tired
little feet …

For Nelson “Madiba” Mandela (born 18th July).

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

A man of action, forged in the crucible of resistance.

Resistance against racial discrimination.

Resistance against injustice.

Resistance against oppression.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

A man burnished in the furnace of struggle.

Struggle to defeat the crime against humanity that was Apartheid.

Struggle against the obscene notions of racial superiority.

Struggle against the scourge of hate.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

A human being who personified kindness.

A human being who embodied humility.

A human being who exemplified the unity of our human race.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

A man of peace, and a man who fought the just fight.

A man of forgiveness, yes, but a man who believed in the truth to be brought to light of the complicity of the many who supported the Apartheid regime.

A man of truth, and a man of humane love.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

He was of flesh and of blood, and he shed his blood as he endured the lashes of the whip on his flesh.

He was of flesh and of blood, and he fought ferociously against the suppression of his fellow human beings.

He was of flesh and of blood, and he emerged with dignity from the hell of twenty-seven years of imprisonment on an island of tyranny.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

He was a man of a steely will in the long cause to rid all oppressed people from the yoke of colonialism, he picked up arms and fought the honourable fight.

He was a man of fiery resolve against the scourge of divisiveness, he was at the forefront in the battles against human subjugation and indignity.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

Madiba was a revolutionary, in the trenches against the obscenity of poverty and deprivation.

Madiba was a soldier, on the ground in the service of the most vulnerable, the children of this world.

Madiba was unshakeable, and he lived the example of the committed revolutionary and the dignified statesman.

Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela walked amongst us not long ago.

Our beloved Madiba does not walk amongst us anymore.

And yet, Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela lives within us.

Madiba lives in the streams that flow into the rivers that flow into the oceans.

Madiba lives in the winds that blow across the vast lands of Africa and beyond.

Madiba lives in the thud-thudding of heartbeats around our world.

Madiba lives in the veins where the blood flows through our common human form.

Madiba lives!

Madiba will always live!

a few more days …

.

.

a few more days … … …

.

.

.

as the branch of the oak sashays,
as a solitary palm undulates, and sways,

i count the days,
till i feel your loving gaze,
your soul, your heart ablaze,

i count the days,
till our separate ways,
dispel the haze,

i count the days,
when seeing you will make my eyes with desire glaze,

i count the days,
mattering not what cards fate plays,

i count the days,
till destiny’s highways,
merge, embracing the sun’s scorching rays,

for as awake this man lays,
the need, the hunger, the desire aching and ravenous, stays,

as i think of you,
counting the days,

until our seduced souls through the night skies blaze,

i count on you,
counting the days,

when the need for each other whisperingly says,

for you, i have crested the waves,

knowing my hunger for you may be a craze,

a craze that shall abide, firmly rooted, in nights and in days,

as i remain still,
counting these remaining moments, for you my being entire craves,

i lie awake,
counting the days,

lying awake, counting these minutes, these days … …

.

.

.

For a Mother …

.

.

She left me,

with only the thoughts of her embrace to warm me,

in frigid mornings of tomorrows yet to come.

.

.

She left me,

with her words of tender truths to shroud me,

in the coming evenings of stabbing sleet and hail.

.

.

She left me,

yet she stays forever within me,

.

in my waking dreams

and in my restful thoughts,

she stays forever within me,

she remains an abiding part,

of the love,

the pain,

the tears,

.

and thus we shall never, ever be truly apart.

.

.

.

( for my mother, who passed away on the 4th of April 2008, after a long battle with Motor-Neurone Disease or ALS )

.

.

.

.

Love Persists 

Love Persists …

Rivulets of tears,
flow into gutters,

hearts break,
whispered truths shatter.

Love persists,
stubborn, obstinate,
unyielding,

a tempestuous deluge,
seeking murmuring eddies.

Love persists,
unflinching,
battle-fatigued,

lost at times,
floundering in muddied waters.

Love persists,
when stormy clouds gather,

the embers crackle, burn, tinder aflame,

deeply knit,
out of the piercing rain …

A L I V E

.

.

.

alive …

.

.

Lashed against jagged truths,

plumbing the depths of lost emotions,

straining to hear your voice calling me back.

.

.

Aching to taste
your breath scalding my lips,

pining to feel
forgotten whispers murmured,

swirling around
the rapids,

gasping for air,

nursing a simple dream,
nothing grandiose …

to feel
once more –

alive.

alive …

.

.

.

.

The Girl in the Scarlet Scarf

.

.

The Girl in the Scarlet Scarf …

.

.

Her scarf was scarlet,
wrapped around her neck to keep the cold at bay,

she had her Rosa Luxemburg book tightly held to her chest,

I smiled at her,
she smiled back.

.

.

We shared laughter and tears,
in that winter long ago,

we held each other close,
baring our scars,

weaving a life ahead for two souls out of time,

and then she was gone,

leaving me with just this paltry rhyme.

.

.

it was as sudden,
as jarring as this scribble,

yet the memory of her scarlet scarf remains etched deep,

yet the dreams of our shared winter visit me often,

in my cold and desolate sleep …

.

.

.

.

.

.

The Cost of Revolution …

.

.

(in memory of the June 16th 1976 student uprising in South Africa)

.

.

You hurled rocks, stones,
Molotov Cocktails,
Sling-shots against the brutality of racial oppression.

.

.

You fell on the streets of Soweto,
Thokoza,
Kagiso,
Sharpeville,
Tembisa,

and countless more across this nation.

.

.

Tasting the acrid stench of tear-gas,

Feeling the flesh ripped off your bones by their dogs,

Drenched by water-cannons,
Stung by rubber-bullets,
Whipped by sjamboks,
Shot in the head by lead,
Paid for by your country’s gold.

.

.

You stood trial for Treason,
Facing the hangman’s noose,

You stood firm, you did not break,
Even though,
You had wives, sons, daughters, lovers, brothers, sisters, and friends to lose.

.

.

The revolutionary dream burned bright,
In all your hearts,

Even as the jackboot of Apartheid,

Fractured your bones and tore your families into broken and splintered parts.

.

.

You left your brothers,
Sisters,
Sons,
Daughters,
Lovers,
Wives,
Comrades and friends,

Seeking out foreign lands,
With only the ammunition that you held in your hearts, your minds and in your never-wavering hands.

.

.

The enemy did not waver either,

Tyranny didn’t cease.

.

.

2 AM knocks on doors around this land,
Meant to stifle, to intimidate,

Yet,
You took a stand.

.

.

Hungry,
lost far away from home, pining for freedom and your loved ones,

Still,
You stood firm,
You fought on,

“Release Mandela and all Political Prisoners” was your cry,
In capitals in far-off lands,

You feared not the bayonet in the enemy’s hands,

The revolution was burning bright,

Even as the dawn of Freedom was in sight.

.

.

Finally on a February day,
They released him and the joy was palpable, nothing stood now in the revolution’s way.

.

.

All the while,
The enemy consolidated its power,

Paying off traitors,

Seeding violence,

Orchestrating mayhem to taint the noble cause,

And still you took the tyrant’s rifles and clenched their muzzles in-between your brave jaws.

.

.

Never standing down,
Backing away,
Retreating to safe space,
The fire of revolution burned,
Spreading through the plateaus and valleys and townships and cities and villages in this pained land,

And still,

Still,
You held that Kalashnikov in your hand.

.

.

And when that day of freedom came,

You felt the stirrings of joy and pain and yes,
Of shame.

.

.

You felt the shame of leaving those you left behind,

You tasted again the pain,
Of economic hardships,
Of capitalism and its illusory promise,
Of a revolution left incomplete,

Till,
Every man, woman and child has enough to eat.

.

.

A revolution still incomplete,
Where hunger stalks the night,
Where mercy,
And comradely solidarity,
Left last night on a first-class flight.

.

.

You stand tall still,
Working as you always have,

Polishing the metal chariots of those you once bled for,

Still feeling the injustice,
Of not having the two cents more,

That deprives you of your daily bread,

And you try hard to remember,

Whether this is the revolution,

For which so many died,

The countless whose names remain unsaid,

The brothers and sister,
mothers and fathers,
Lovers and friends,

the martyred dead.

.

.

.

(dedicated to all South Africans who sacrificed their lives, their families, in pursuit of the revolutionary dream. A dream that remains a dream to many, and a dream that will continue to be dreamed)

.

.

.

She, and I*

.

.

.

She, and I* …

.

.

I met her in another time,

the bus-stop sheltering us from the slicing hail,

I smiled, she did too,

as the wind screeched a shrilly wail.

.

.

Our bus splashed us with mud and we laughed,

we were never ones for fashion,

the books we carried were our escape,

the books were our world, our warmly hugged passion.

.

.

I asked her if we could sit together and she said yes,

we were two awkward souls,

both uncomfortable in our very own dark holes.

.

.

Our friendship blossomed in that unforgettable spring,

that humid year of lashing rain,

we talked and we laughed, we cried and we screamed,

we hollered at the world, wildly bellowing out our shared pain.

.

.

We were never a couple, we did not hold hands, we did not kiss,

we talked of escape from this place of emptiness so bleak,

and at times we just shared the silence,

no words needed to speak.

.

.

She was my anchor, and she said I was her balm, we shared a love of a different hue, as we danced in the monsoon rain,

our tears mingling with our gnawing pain.

.

.

We laughed as we shared the stories of our lives,

we sat quietly when we knew we had to leave,

we knew the knife of our present sliced souls, and like butter, into hearts did cleave.

.

.

We stood in the open expanse,

we cried, wishing each other good luck,

that one day so many moons ago,

and still,
now,

at this moment,

my tears flow …

.

.

.

* – inspired by the Keane song “Sovereign Light Café”

.

.

.

D-Day: France, June 6th, 1944.

.

.

1.

.

.

They were thrashed by the merciless sea.

They were drenched by the savage waters, their uniforms clinging to their shivering bodies.

They were mowed down as they approached the beaches of death.

The beaches of unspeakable horrors.

Gold.

Omaha.

Juno.

Sword.

Utah.

They were brothers and fathers and sons and friends and cousins and nephews and grandchildren and boys and men.

.

.

2.

.

.

They surged on, facing the metallic death of Nazism and Fascism,

they surged on and were cut into pieces of bloodied flesh and shattered bone,

yet they surged on.

They surged on so that we may live.

They surged on so that we may breathe the air of peace.

They surged on and on,

and on.

.

.

3.

.

.

Today their bones lie buried, along rows of crosses.

Today they lie beneath this earth.

.

.

4.

.

.

Today they live.

Tomorrow they shall live.

They who sacrificed their lives for humanity.

They shall live on eternally,

within us all!

.

.

.

seeds

.

.

.

seeds …

.

.

.

swept up
by the dust

scattered remnants
of lives once whole

now
buried
interred

in cold dead dry ground.

seeds
swept up
by the dust

seeking a glimmer

of hope
of the promise

of
a better tomorrow.

seeds
swept up
by the dust

sinking roots
hoping to belong

somewhere
anywhere

fatigued
spent

waiting
hoping

for days
moments
tomorrows

a
time

a
place

where one
need not

be
ever smiling

and to be
always strong …

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Why I support Liverpool Football Club …

.

.

.

1. Bill Shankly and the socialist ideal.

.

.

.

2. John Lennon.

.

.

.

3. Roger Waters.

.

.

.

oft-repeated hope

.

.

.

talkin’ why hope is important bluesy-blues …

.

.

.

this scribble is about hope, that unweighable weighty word, often bandied about ritually, and thus its message, its voice, may be blunted by repetitive bluster, so i’ll be a-scribblin’ along, with all the gusto i may muster, since we’re talking about hope, without which the human race, us all, all of us, i dare say, would not cope, ’cause imagine an absence of something, can’t put your finger on that feeling feeling, that oftentimes rocks at our souls, leavin’ our minds reelin’, yeah that’s right, but no propagandising today, though with me, at least, i can truly say, were it not for hope, that figment, blister on indifferent fates’ machinations, that belief, that burning in the pit of ones core, gnawing, gnashed teeth muttering, that all this pain too must eventually, pale, and that’s whats a-sometime the reason for us being heartful, and or hale, its hope, raw, deceptive, lyin’, corrosive, rusted but a-shineyed up, yeah that hope that keeps my heart pumping, its that hope that keeps me alive, and its that hope upon which, may all new flowers thrive …

.

.

.

She who is Free …

.

.

.

she who is free …

.

.

I would have called out to her, across the the green fields she walked,

her silhouette fading in the distance.

.

I would have called out to her,

she who walked her own path now,

free from all the weight that caged her will.

.

I would have called out to her,

yet I remained still.

.

.

.

meagre mush

Meagre Mush ,,,

.

.

.

do you hope as I do,
that hope will thread us through,

the eye of the needle that is our life,
away from the pain, the loss, the strife.

.

.

do you hope as I do,
that hope will gently knock,

on these prison doors bolted by many a rusty lock,
our emotions blindfolded for all sunlight to block.

.

.

do you hope as I do,
that our love will hold true,

for as you love me,
I shall always love you …

.

.

.

Less lonely

art from google

.

.

.

Less lonely …

.

.

.

Walking through this void, this callous vacuum of life,

feeling the splintered sleet pummelling me, each fracture a slow twisting of the knife.

Walking through this shell, this indifferent chasm of loneliness,

all that I wish for,
all that yearn for,
all that I desire,

is to be less lonely.

Just less lonely.

art from google

%d bloggers like this: