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the child is not dead

On May 25, 1994, president Nelson Mandela addressed the newly formed democratic parliament of South Africa, and read a poem by Ingrid Jonker, 'The child who was shot dead by soldiers in Nyanga' (1960).

Here is the historical footage (in an excerpt from the documentary 'Korreltjie niks is my dood'), and the full text of the poem...

The child is not dead
the child raises his fists against his mother
who screams Africa screams the smell
of freedom and heather
in the locations of the heart under siege

The child raises his fists against his father
in the march of the generations
who scream Africa scream the smell
of justice and blood
in the streets of his armed pride

The child is not dead
neither at Langa nor at Nyanga
nor at Orlando nor at Sharpeville
nor at the police station in Philippi
where he lies with a bullet in his head

The child is the shadow of the soldiers
on guard with guns saracens and batons
the child is present at all meetings and legislations
the child peeps through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothers
the child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere
the child who became a man treks through all of Africa
the child who became a giant travels through the whole world

Without a pass

korreltjie sand

Korreltjie korreltjie sand klippie gerol in my hand klippie gesteek in my sak word korreltjie klein en plat Sonnetjie groot in die blou ek maak net 'n ogie van jou blink in my korreltjie klippie dit is genoeg vir die rukkie … Read the full post »

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