Today, as our thoughts and tears and love flow to our beloved President Nelson Mandela,
We, human-beings the world over,
say thank you, Madiba!
Thank you for your life, a life of principle,
a life of struggle,
of torture, of pain, of loss,
of a selflessness that you have embodied so completely.
In this often cold and callous world,
where we have been jaded by war, by intolerance, by racism, prejudice, and so so much economic and social injustice,
your living spirit shall live on!
your body, that has endured so so much,
your heart, your mind, your very self, which injustice and tyranny tried so hard to break,
Your spirit shines and shall be the torch that we, your children the world over,
shall carry forward …
you may be struggling for life today,
but you have breathed life,
into the hearts of countless downtrodden people this world over.
I don’t know what to say,
my heart breaks today,
I want to cry, and I am crying now,
with a sense of loss and of sadness that I have felt when my mother passed away,
I cry for my loss, selfishly,
but I know you have walked the long walk to freedom,
the long and arduous walk from struggle and sacrifice to healer and peacemaker and statesman and father, yes,
father to us all …
I will miss you, My father,
I will miss your comforting presence,
I shall miss your smile,
and mostly I shall miss the gentle solace that you imbibed in us all,
your children the world over …
Live on, you shall, Madiba!
In the shacks of the Sowetos of the world, you shall live on in that eternal quest for economic freedom,
in the eyes of the pained and tortured,
you shall live on!
in the whispered prayers,
the silent thoughts,
of the dispossessed of this world who still continue to be left behind in this cruel world,
you shall live on!
Thank you, Nelson Mandela, as you make your way to join the ancestors.
Hamba Kahle* Comrade President Nelson Rolihlahla “Madiba” Mandela!
Travel well, and go peacefully
* – Hamba Kahle – an isiXhosa and isiZulu term meaning “travel well” – often used when bidding someone farewell, but in the Apartheid South African context is was meant to bid farewell to fallen comrades
Afzal Moolla was born in Delhi, India while his parents were in exile, working as political exiles against Apartheid in South Africa. He then travelled wherever his parent’s work took them, spending time in Egypt, Finland, and Iran. Afzal works and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This piece was first published on Afzal Moolla's personal blog.