Mpho Petrus Manwedi
Listen O' Mothers - Poem by Mpho Petrus Manwedi
Listen O’ mothers listen O’ sisters
Listen the spirit of reason is in me
And I tell of the hurt that should never be.
Violence, you cry out violence
Oppression you today name it
Abuse, that is your parade word
Yet you forget whence this all came
Yes, you ignore the mold whence this was cast.
Look at that young old man,
Sitting there like a cornered rat
Eyes darting hither and thither flashing with fear
Confusion and humiliation written all over his face
The little boy inside him begging for understanding
Yes, the little boy that was never allowed to be.
From the womb he was already called a man
From the day he was born, word got around
‘A man has come into the family’
He was nurtured with the word man from his mother’s breasts
He was saddled with manly jobs from his childhood
Through winter, spring, summer and fall
He was sent out there to be a man.
He grew up in a world of violence
Where oppression is the rule and abuse is the policy
And all that was said to be a man’s world
No mother ever taught him how men should act
No woman ever cared for the boy inside
He was always told, men don’t cry
Go out there and be a man.
When his father died he was told, ‘You are now man of the family’
And the poor boy was gone.
O’ mothers, O’ sisters, What is a man’s world?
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