Fare Thee Well, Madiba (Mandela) - Poem by Gerald Kithinji
Goodbye, Grand Warrior of Mveso
Of Qunu, of Transkei, of Soweto
Grand Warrior of Rivonia and Robben Island
Goodbye, Grand Warrior of Azania, of Africa
Fare thee well, beloved icon of the World
Fare thee well, resilient Madiba
I speak not with anger though I ought to
I speak not with bitterness though I should
These you banished, Grand Warrior
When you embraced humanity and hope
You battled anger, bitterness and vengeance
You won peace, truth and freedom
And you won Africa and the World
Grand Warrior, you won them all
You won me over, too, Madiba
For while you were on the Isle
Frozen in time and space
Anger and vengeance we embraced
Where are our people? (Silence)
What have you done to our people? (Silence)
Where is the justice for our people? (Silence)
Can silence answer me? (Silence)
What’s that you say? What?
And again they responded with silence.
Why, we asked, why this impunity?
Why pretend to be a Nation
A Nation, that is, without a State?
Was that not, we asked ourselves,
What you were prepared to die for?
What you were frozen in time and space for?
So, anger we seized, arms outstretched
And stoked the fire of vengeance, yes
Many were the casualties, as you know
And much blood was shed and limbs broken
As witness the myriad battles and battlefronts
That turned South Africa into a war zone
Then finally and triumphantly, Grand Warrior
You and the thousands that were incarcerated
For giving voice or limb to our cause
Returned home, Grand Warrior,
As free men and women of a Nation
In need of a leader and a Vision
You gave us that, Grand Warrior
You conquered my anger and my bitterness
You conquered my vengeance, Madiba
You showed the World the way, Madiba
And forged a great nation, the Rainbow Nation
I was there with the happy multitudes
Yet now I must accept the dictates of life
The dictates of humanity, of who we are
You leave us a strong Nation, South Africa
Where we had lived like unwelcome strangers
We are now the proud owners and shapers
Of our collective destiny and inheritance
I know and we all know that your life
Great Son of Hendry and Nosekeni
Descendant of King Ngubengcuka
I say we now know without a doubt
That your life had a great purpose
And your departure a great legacy
How does one mourn a hero of your stature?
How does one mourn a great statesman?
How does one mourn a Grand Warrior?
Except to say you were posted to Azania
That we may see the light and be free
And are now en route to another front?
Go well, my brother, Great Son of Africa
We shall never forget, brother mine,
Carne da mesma carne, sim,
Your call for peaceful coexistence
For we know, my brother, yes, we know
We are in the same South Africa boat.
I want you to know, Madiba, my Brother,
As you embark on your final journey
That millions are distraught to see you go
And that of all those, I am the most distraught.
May your legacy endure throughout the ages!
Goodbye, symbol of our freedom, adeus.
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