State of the Nation Address: POEM
Salutations, ululations The constant song to your ears from the nations. We’ve given them all to you, our ‘heroes’. We have honoured you with robes embroidered with our tears As compensation for the years
We let you walk all over us as compensation for the dusty roads
We have been nothing but willing to carry the heavy loads that you are
Yet to help us lay down.
Incarcerated by feelings that we are indebted to you,
We have endured the poverty and our children have learnt to do without
The promises that were once too great to doubt.
Though it took lives to end the struggle we continue to struggle to survive
You stab us in the back, our loyalty is the knife that continues to deprive
The black man of a chance to say he is truly free.
You have removed the names of the ‘oppressors’ to create
The illusion that oppression is now under the carpet
In reality, it’s still the same, only now we sell our tomatoes and
Trade our chips and sweets on Langalibalele Street instead of Longmarket.
You have given us freedom to march down these roads,
Now named after freedom fighters; the Bikos and Luthulis
Can you not see the irony in all this?
Time and time again we sing ‘Remember us as we have remembered you’
We cry ‘Render unto us the honour we have rendered unto you’
At the election polls we could have easily surrendered you
But the guilt…
When we even speak of taking a peek at ‘the other side’
Where the grass might be greener you question our demeanor
You taunt us, call us tea girls and garden boys for exercising the right to choose
That YOU fought for…you couldn’t be meaner!
Does it not touch your soul when you see young people jumping fences
Just to get an education?
They remain forever on their toes just to get a sense of elevation
Yet you fill stadiums and toast to success, what is your cause for celebration?
Open your eyes and see the state of the nation before you address it.
She has outgrown the rags you patched in 1994
Her bandaged wound- it’s time to undress it
Hear her, our heroes.
Honour her with hope, wipe her tears
As compensation for the years.
Unburden her children, lay down their loads
So they can freely slide down the rainbow
As compensation for the dusty roads.