Tag Archive: relationships

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.


​a true story …

my mother used tell me this with tears in her eyes.

my mother left South Africa in the 1960’s to join my father who was in political exile at the time in Tanzania. 

in 1970 my father was deployed by the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) to India to be its Chief-Representative there.

I was born in New Delhi a couple of years later in ’72.

my mother and father spent two years in Mumbai (then Bombay).

one afternoon my father fell and broke his leg.

my mother knocked on their neighbour’s door of the apartment complex where they lived. 

the neighbour was an elderly Punjabi lady.

my mother asked the elderly lady for assistance in calling a doctor to see to my injured father. 

a Zoroastrian (Parsi) ‘bone-setter’ was promptly summoned.

my mother and the elderly neighbour got to talking and the lady asked my mother where they were from, as their accents were clearly not local.

my mother told the elderly Punjabi lady that my father worked for the African National Congress of South Africa and had been forced into exile to continue to struggle to raise awareness internationally about the appalling situation in Apartheid South Africa.

my mother also mentioned that they had to leave their two young children (my siblings, whom I met only later in life) behind in South Africa, in the care of grandparents, and that they were now essentially political refugees.

the elderly lady broke down and wept uncontrollably.

she told my mother that she too had to leave their home in Lahore in 1947 and flee to India with only the clothes on their back when the partition of the subcontinent took place and when Pakistan was torn from India and formed, due to narrow religious and sectarian reasons, whose repercussions are felt to this day.

this was also a time when religious violence wreaked havoc, and untold suffering and death for millions of human beings.

the elderly lady then asked my mother what her name was.

‘Zubeida’, but you can call me ‘Zubie’.

the Punjabi woman hugged Zubeida some more, and the two women, seperated by age and geography, by religion and all the things that seek to divide humanity,  wept, for they could understand the pain and trauma of a shared experience.

the elderly Punjabi lady told my mother that she was her ‘sister’ from that day on, and that she too felt the pain of exile after being forced to become refugees, and what being a refugee felt like.

Zubie and her husband Mosie (my father) and the family next door became the closest of friends.

then came the time for Mosie and Zubie to leave for Delhi where the African National Congress (ANC) office was to be officially opened.

the elderly Punjabi lady and Mosie and Zubie said their goodbyes.

a year or two later, the elderly lady’s daughter Lata married Ravi Sethi and the couple moved to Delhi.

the elderly lady telephoned Zubie and told her that her daughter was coming to Delhi to live there, and that she had told Lata, her daughter that she had a ‘sister’ in Delhi, and that she should not feel alone.

Lata and Ravi Sethi then moved to Delhi in the mid-1970’s.

Lata and Zubie became the closest of friends and that bond stayed true, till the both my mother passed away in 2008. 

my father and I still feel a close bond with Lata and Ravi Sethi, and vice versa. 

a bond that was forged between Hindu and Muslim and between two countries of South Africa and of India, shattering the barriers of creed and of time.

a bond strong and resilient, forged by the pain and trauma of a shared experience.

that is why I shall never stop believing that hope shines still, for with so much religious bigotry almost consuming our world today, there will always be a woman, somewhere, anywhere, who would take the ‘other’ in as a sister, and as a fellow human being.

and that is why, I believe, that there will always be hope.

hope in the midst of unbearable pain and hope in the midst of loss and of unspeakable suffering.

for we can never give up hope for a better world.


(for aunty Lata’s late-mother, my mother’s ‘sister’ and who took us all into her heart, and for Lata and Ravi Sethi of Defence Colony, New Delhi, India)

​etched deep, scratching at the core of my mind,

the conceit of wordiness so easy to find.

so many wasted moments, so much squandered time,

spent idly on shoddy verse,

and vainly on banal rhyme.

for compassion

hate like toxic venom flows, spewed forth in dribs and drabs,

how will wounds ever heal, with such vitriol tearing at the scabs.

we shudder at the words of hate, dejected at times, wondering if they ever will cease,

though hoping for a wellspring of love, respect, of uBuntu*, 

just awaiting release.

so hope springs forth for we know it begins,

within us,



with simple acts of compassion,

that may just, 


banish hate away.

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

I want to walk with you


i want to walk with you with heads held high,

not cowering, never bowed,

with our feet on this earth,

our dreams reaching for the sky.

dreams of peace, of mirth,

for all travellers on this, our earth.


dreams not of wealth, of power,

simple dreams of walks after a gentle rain shower.


dreams of bread, water, dignity, shelter, clothes for all,

dreams where all may walk this earth proud and tall.


i want to walk with you, my fellow traveller, with our heads held high,

not pandering to power, never silent in the face of its abuse,

firm in our convictions that a better world is possible, if a humane path is what we choose,
when all may walk with heads held high,

not cowering, heads never bowed,

our common dreams reaching for the sky.


call me silly, call me naive, call me hopeless, call me weak,

but is this not the common good,

that all creeds, and all cultures seek?


footsteps tread gravel paths,

buoyed by vistas new,

bidding trodden avenues adieu.

gravel crunches, ever onwards,

to destinations fresh as dew,

to places beyond fear,

beyond despair,

beyond empty shells of longing,

beyond mirages of hollow belonging.

the paths taken, fraught with twists,

promises new morns, thawing trepidation,

fear melts into approaching night,

resting in the solace of dawn’s soothing light.

the paths seem endless,


the heart traverses the mire,

the traveller reaches deep within,

to clothe naked gloom,

embracing hope,

to be finally enveloped by its warm cloak.

footsteps … … …


embrace all that is today,

imbibe all that this moment showers,

hold on tightly to the fleeting whispers,

of a mirage of wild country flowers,

for who knows what tomorrow may bring,

who knows tomorrow’s design,

so greet today with open arms,

for today, to sorrow,

we refuse to resign

nostalgic threads woven into the fabric of my mind,

i find patterns of familiar distant memories,

seamless strands of faraway laughter

embroidered into the folds of my thoughts.

the solace of my mother’s embrace,

the stubble of my father’s cheek,

the generosity of those 

who could give only of themselves,

yet gave all.

these nostalgic threads

remain woven,

deep in the recesses of my mind,

they caress me on days that are dark and shallow,

they whisper their silent thoughts of love,

caressing my waking days

and lulling my nights, so often hollow.

so i remain indebted 

to each nostalgic thread,

as hope fills the void,

and infuses time with light,

dispelling all approaching dread

a peace within

​shallow words etched in haste,

cast shadows on softly ebbing days,

merely forlorn words that seem but a banal waste.

ah! but to hear them murmuring, in a hushed tone,

sinking deep,

is to embrace the madness within,

and to hear them whispering in the ripples of the waves,

is to surrender in silence,

far, far away,

from the endless drone.

sliver of hope

​empty spaces consumed,

by thoughts of nothingness.

the torment,

the twisted pain,

lash like cold slicing rain.

not much do we ask for,

just one peek,

a ray of light,

a sliver of hope,

is what we seek.



​drifting alone in the throng

sifting torn yesterdays

thoughts weave

ever searching

to belong.


hidden between fragmented shades

mingling in the folds of thought

dreams ceaselessly wander on

soaring above today’s tumult

as this afternoon fades.


memory slips,



                 through the blurred veil of time,

        sifting through memories,

of you,

            your loveliness ablaze,

sweeping across meadows,

                  my stranded heart still in flames,

                 the furnace burning bright,

                          raging in the darkness of this night,

                  coaxing nostalgic yearning,

over years left behind,

             between thoughts of kisses entwined,


                 and still,

                 and yet,

this heart may never forget,

           the caress of your voice,

breezing between today,

           last week,

all the drifting yesteryears,

                     lost in your deepest eyes,

even as days turn to night,

even as time continually flies,

scattering pieces of my soul,

              hither and thither,

             knowing it may never be, again,



ah! but the memories persist,

as summer begins to wither,

            you are all i remember you to be,

between the wild rose,

        amidst the thorns,

bathed in dawn’s dew,

I live,

        I breathe,

                        I savour,

the sweetest thoughts,

of you,

only you 

The shackles have been cast off.

Chains broken.
People once squashed,

under the jackboot of Apartheid,

are free.
Free at last!

Freedom came on the 27th day in that April, 1994.
Freedom from prejudice.

From institutionalised 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,

23 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”.


leaving raucous tumult by the wayside, shedding bygone torment, moulting this skin, this weight, these once immovable shackles, these knots of yesteryear’s detritus,

leaving it all by the wayside, making me me, feeling the blossoming buds of hope, the stirring of feelings anew,

leaving it all by the wayside,


with you,

my love,

by my side …

finding myself 

​finding myself.

walking on shrapnel, the scimitar cleaving my heart, lost in the darkness of the city lights, pressed down by the burdens of the now, the only constant is to carry on, but how?

traversing waves of splintered glass, crawling through desolate valleys, displaced by time and fate, bound to fragmented feelings, deep in the dungeons of this aimless ship’s dreary galleys.

will i find my place of peace, is it awaiting my arrival, when smashed against the rocks by the coming in of the tide, gulping air for mere survival, has it all fled to a crevasse to hide, or do i look deeper within my very being, where my answer may silently reside.

undulating kisses, peppering the troughs and peaks of your molten body,

the touch of your silken flesh weaving valleys of delight, whispered breaths breathed breathlessly,

sheathing fiery sweat,

cocooned by day’s dimming light, 

surrendering to passion,

beyond the scarlet sunset,

receding deeper still,

into the coming furnace of night.

the physics of love 

made of starstuff*, you and i, the random crossed paths of our orbits, reaching deeper into the quarks and gluons that bind us together, tiny strings, weaving a tapestry of oneness.

made of starstuff, you and i, intertwined synapses flowing through neural networks, somehow, in the ways of the cosmos, fusing these two beating hearts together.

made of starstuff, you and i, the unfathomable meeting of mind and soul, beyond the knowable, yet forging the knots, linking us in an unending entanglement of distilled love.

made of starstuff, you and i, the touch of our lips, the feel of our heartbeats, the brushing of our fingertips, remaining so inexplicably unquantifiable,
and felt,

so deeply immeasurable.

( * inspired by Dr. Carl Sagan and by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson )

awfully soppy 😊

together, we have journeyed, through thickets of pain, under thrashing icy rain.

together, we have held on, to each other, believing in one another.

together, we walk on, our love the glue, binding us to that which is true:

without each other,

there is no me,

there is no you.

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!


Solomon Mahlangu: My Blood will Nourish the Tree that will Bear the Fruits of Freedom:

Solomon Mahlangu was trained as an MK soldier with a view to later rejoining the struggle in the country.
He left South Africa after the Soweto Uprising of 1976 when he was 19 years old, and was later chosen to be part of an elite force to return to South Africa to carry out a mission commemorating the June 16th 1976 Soweto student uprising.
After entering South Africa through Swaziland and meeting his fellow comrades in Duduza, on the East Rand (east of Johannesburg), they were accosted by the police in Goch Street in Johannesburg.
In the ensuing gun battle two civilians were killed and two were injured, and Mahlangu and Motloung were captured while acting as decoys so that the other comrade could go and report to the MK leadership.
Motloung was brutally assaulted by the police to a point that he suffered brain damage and was unfit to stand trial, resulting in Mahlangu facing trial alone.
He was charged with two counts of murder and several charges under the Terrorism Act, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Though the judge accepted that Motloung was responsible for the killings, common purpose was argued and Mahlangu was found guilty on two counts of murder and other charges under the Terrorism Act.
On 15 June 1978 Solomon Mahlangu was refused leave to appeal his sentence by the Rand Supreme Court, and on 24 July 1978 he was refused again in the Bloemfontein Appeal Court.
Although various governments, the United Nations, International Organizations, groups and prominent individuals attempted to intercede on his behalf, Mahlangu awaited his execution in Pretoria Central Prison, and was hanged on 6 April 1979.
His hanging provoked international protest and condemnation of South Africa and Apartheid.
In fear of crowd reaction at the funeral the police decided to bury Mahlangu in Atteridgeville in Pretoria.
On 6 April 1993 he was re-interred at the Mamelodi Cemetery, where a plaque states his last 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.’
Mahlangu died for a cause!
The Struggle Continues…
(special thanks to a friend who shared this tribute to Solomon Mahlangu)

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