When I meet the son of Nkosi,
We shall trail back to Qunu where you were first named Nelson,
And the days of Jongintaba teachings with tag ragged slate feeding on dried bread
Nosekeni only means since Nkosi Gadla slipped away.
I’d do little but gawk at his marked face, marked with torture and smell of stockade.
I shall Shuffle through the dark hairs of history uncover his dream of making Africa our home despite the bath of blood in Soweto,
And re evoke the memories of those days when they tagged us darkness meant for the wild.
O, Rolihlahla of Madiba clan,
Taken away to Robben Island in tinted Maria for shielding black brothers and I,
When shall we see you again?
The pains shock our hearts like a streaming lake struck by the wind.
You plough with stark hands in patched pants denied of seeing the remains of brother Thembi.
We cried in songs accompanied with beatings of gongs
Wooing Freedom to the lands of our birth.
Through that small barred window in Pollamoor,
Can you hear Makeba Miriam’s descant?
Bring home MANDELA,
Home to Soweto,
To hold hands again.
Hearken it is clearly In Xhosa not in Afrikaans.
When I meet Mandela
Son of Nkosi in Mvezo,
These words will I drop in his ears,
Your memories shall never live in whispers.
JB Mairubutu, a poet, lives and writes from Abuja, Nigeria