Can I Call You ‘madiba'? - Poem by Cecelia GrantPeters
For almost 30 years you were Public Prisoner Number One
Your new home...far from home.....was now Victor Verster.... Robben Island,
Far from the World, yet teasingly you were so near
Yet you remained Undone, Unafraid, Strong, Silent, Loud, Defiant
Speaking many volumes with your silence
Your voice unheard, yet heard by all,
The Media, The World, The Apartheid Regime gave you titles
"Freedom Fighter", "Rebel" "Nelson" "Father" "Brother" and even "Terrorist"
But Sir, can I call you Madiba?
Defiantly you counted the hours, those hours became days
The days become months....The months turned into years
And chillingly, the long years became decades,
In hard toil and labour you watched the World change slowly,
Much too slowly, and yet, you were Undaunted,
For the freedom of your people was exchanged for your imprisonment
And you, ‘The Prisoner Mandela', the World's Prisoner
Captivated our very hearts and minds...so
We too became enslaved, we too were not free
Whilst you remain imprisoned fighting a foul Regime
Fighting the evils... from inside your cell.
Meanwhile, on the outside images of a young warrior perpetuated,
‘The Prisoner Mandela'....The man who became the myth, and then, the legend....
Public Prisoner Number One
Then....on a fateful day in 1990 the World watched joyfully as
You took your first tentative steps to "Freedom"
You emerged a shadow of your former image
Unseen by the World for so long....Yet there you were, many years older
Many years stronger.....Wiser..... still Defiant
Still...Public Prisoner Number One....Free at last.
Apartheid's chains broken, Unilaterally the World exhaled.
History will recall your imprisonment, yet
It is we who were imprisoned, we, the world and all its vile stain
We, the World and its spouting bile, spewing wars and mass contagion, yes we.
Victor Verster Prisoner, Robben Island Inmate
Rewriting history......now Free...
Free, but not until the chains of the struggle had been broken,
Free, but not until your people gained their freedom.
You became our Prisoner, Inmate, Rebel, Father, Brother, President, Friend
But, Can I call you Madiba?
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