Diana van den Berg

(4 November 1945 / Durban, South Africa)

Reconciliation Day


A long, long walk,
Madiba.
More than A Long Walk
To Freedom.

Some of us
don’t know,
didn’t know,
can’t know,
want to know,
... are afraid to know...

We are a miracle country,
a real country,

yes,
a country with scars
and tragedies
and real blood
and stabbings
and burns
and gun wounds
and murders
and past tortures
(and some still hate
and some still murder)

but we are also
a country with
quivering,
shimmering,
breathing,
beautiful
hope and heart,

... but...
the most precious thing
we have

as fleeting
as butterfly breath
and as substantial
as a mature whale

is the forgiveness
that many
so many
have heart-given
to their perpertrators
of such evil atrocities.

I stand in awe
I bow my head in reverent silence
I cannot own that ability for myself
for I don’t think that I could do it
if I had had to walk your path

but I own it by association
for I am proud to be a compatriot
I am proud to say,
”I am a South African.”

(16 December 2005)

Submitted: Monday, February 16, 2009

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