TEARS FOR MADIBA MANDELA

Break into dance, O mourners

Break into dance, O mourners       Photo (C) The AfricaPaper

By Professor Timothy Wangusa | The AfricaPaper

Let the flags of all the nations

On whom the sun shines upon its way –

Fold and droop at half mast

 

To salute Africa’s monumental son!

 

From northerly Algeria to Azania,

From westerly Senegal to Somalia –

Let there be a hush across the sky

 

To salute Africa’s monumental son!

 

Waters of the Zambezi and the Limpopo,

Waters of the Nile, the Congo and the Niger –

Disrupt your everlasting rhythmic flow

 

      To salute Africa’s monumental son!

 

Peaks of Drakensburg Mountains and Kilimanjaro,

Of Rwenzori, Elgon, Kenya, and Atlas Mountains – 

Dispel the glory of your crowns of clouds

 

      To salute Africa’s monumental son!

 

Sand-dunes and barchans of Sahara and Kalahari,

Thirsty harmattans and rain-sodden oceanic winds –   

Stop dead your furious and ceaseless advance

 

To salute Africa’s monumental son!

 

    *     *     *     *     *

 

For him who was stung into lofty protest

By the fanged Monster of Colour Segregation;

 

Break into dance, O mourners

 

For him who was shaped and drilled by Soweto,

And tempered into steel by Robben Island;

 

Break into dance, O mourners

 

For him who irreversibly raised our human profile,

By equating white with black and grey and all colours;

 

      Break into dance, O mourners

 

For him who taught us not to think with our skins

But with the common blood in our veins;

 

      Break into dance, O mourners

 

For him who proved that right is truer than might,

That forgiveness absorbs and dissolves all hatred;

 

      Break into dance, O mourners,

      And sweat out your sorrow!

 

    *     *     *     *     *

 

And now, O you elders among the ancients,

Receive and install him in ritual style

Upon his throne of extreme achievement

 

In the company of your prior illustrious sons –

Sundiata and Chaka and Lobengula,

And Kabalega and Kenyatta and Nyerere –

 

And let a final roll of Africa’s big drums

Signify his triumphal arrival in the extra-world…  

The AfricaPaper:  The writer is Professor of Literature at

Uganda Christian University, Uganda

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