My pen runs like a desertwritten

about the great man of south Africa.

Pardon my ignorance – I meant

“the great man of the African race.”

His name has inspired Music, Art and maybe Science.

His name has motivated songs, plays and poems.

His name has stirred much more than I can write.

His name has inspired so much,

that I now fear that my words would not do him justice.

I fear my rhymes would slide with effort

and my literary devices

would fail to paint him a perfect portrait.


But at this moment of his death

I dare not remain mute

lest the world think I knew him not.

Lest the world take out of the numbers

of the people who bow in respect to his name.


Indeed, Death has cheated us of a great man

but this great man, has cheated death.

Yes, he did by living a life worth living.

By fighting for his race.

By putting others’ needs before his.

By being larger than the life he lived.


On this day

My fingers join that of other writers

in dancing the dance of alanta on the keyboard.

My fingers unite with that of other writers

in hugging the pen and swirling on a hard dance floor.


On this day

I open my case of borrowed words

to bid farewell to a man of valour

who showed us all how to cheat death.





  1. On his passing:


    Motome jiyū
    Zen kokumin o no ai
    Ima ansei-ji

    Sought Freedom
    The love of all the people
    Resting now

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