Imbokodo (Winnie Mandela)

You saved us,
You fought for us,
Inspired our mothers and sisters
around Africa and the world.

Showed man and woman,
and embodied,

Showing us as the nation,
Never to back down
and to keep fighting,
You left us
and into dark holes,
Our hearts fell,
Mama Imbokodo,
To the nation,
The world,
You are a hero.

Mother and daughter,
Strong and courageous,
Never say die,

From mother to daughter,
Your teachings, your words,
Your songs, your voice,
Echoed through the generations,

Your spirit remains,
In the black clothes and doeks,
Mothers and sisters,
Pay their respects,

Long live,
Long live,
Mama wethu.

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I know


I know you’re going to want to see this letter
Wishing for comfort
Feeling misunderstood
Feeling confused because they said they love you
Feeling used
Feeling like you have everything to say
but no one has asked you,
Or you’ve run out of people to tell,
Or people to call,
Or people to take calls from…

I know you’re going to come out of this
And go into it again
And ask yourself
If you are,
And who you are,
And how you came to be
And what it all means…

I know it feels like
They all eventually leave
(Keep a door open)
I know you have to get up
And sit down without
Witnesses and enquiry

I know you look for affection
I know it feels unfair

I know you’re looking for this letter

Well then write to yourself
Write for yourself
And find out you’re enough just the way you are
And soon,
To your pain,
They’ll come back,
And you’ll wonder why they do this all the time

You stay
Let them be as they may.

I know what you want to hear
You go too long a time without the words
You go too long a time not saying them
(Who would you say them to? Would they be worth the yolk?)
I know you wish the one phone call
Would come and never cease coming

I know

And while its not, and the hours go by
And so does your life
And you ask yourself your value and your position
And your relevance and your worth
And a new haircut and polished shoes
And a new week by the sound of the alarm
But the words or the phone call
Or the misery or the doubt
Or the consequent self-loathing that go along with it

I know.

There are no answers but to answer yourself
I would rather you run without looking back
To a place of fresh start but you’ll always be running
I’d rather you beg but you’ll always be begging
I’d rather you end it all but it will always be over

I know you’re stuck in-between,
encrusted and enveloped,
Wrapped tight and chained
And when you say “help” they ask “come again?”

Its funny

But I know if you overcome and survive
You’ll not only live but you’ll know what its like to be alive.

– Thibedi Mokgokong | 2015

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Flawed Tears

Flawed TearsMen lost their souls in serenades,

Glanced as we,

Who believed in eternity,

Travel the route to infinity.

We discarded thorny trees,

Watched chosen doves grace the heavens.

We pealed sweat up our sleeves,

Slumbered heavily on snares;

We believed more in heaven’s padlocks,

Than keys we possessed for our households.

The onus of truth lied behind closed doors,

They remained unshaken,

Reminded us of prayers we recited every night.

When hell visited,

Shared birth with the innocent;

We had to be baptised again.

We succumbed to the word,

Tagged verses on every chest,

Gained access to their faith;

We stayed on the highest mountains,

Gathered galaxies into prayer,

We brought hell before the temple,

Knelt as one for salvation,

We embarked on the journey of Christ,

We were Christ-like.

When hell broke loose,

Voices in my head sounded louder in their echoes than in the wind,

My onset certainty wasn’t in the mumbling,



But the flaws in the literacy to understand;

We parted ways,

Death flooded out,

Vineyards ripened,

Our mothers wept not,

Foes laughed not,

Men sang not,

Serenity smitten,

Reverends fixed on their collars,

We engaged to the clouds.


Ashes to ashes,

Dust to dust,

Heaven unlocked,

Padlocks cast to hell;

Our tears were flawed,

For we not all in heaven.

– Ts Mashile (2015)

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