THE CHILDREN OF NONTI Poem by Mafika Pascal Gwala


Nonti Nzimande died long, long ago
Yet his children still live.
Generation after generation, they live on;
Death comes to the children of Nonti
And the children of Nonti cry but won't panic
And there is survival in the children of Nonti.

Poverty swoops its deathly wings. But tough,
Strong and witty are the children of Nonti.
The wet rains fall. The roads become like
The marshed rice paddies of the Far East;
And on these desolate roads there is song
Song in the Black voices of the children of Nonti.

Someone marries
The bride does not hide her face under the veil;
The maidens dance near the kraal
Dance before the ‘make it be merry' eyes
Of the elders. The elders joshing it
On their young days.
There is still free laughter
In the children of Nonti.

An ox drops to the earth, then another;
Knives run into the meat. Making the feast
To be bloodfilled with Life.
The old, the dead, are brought into the Present
Of continuous nature in the children of Nonti.
Got to be a respecting with the children of Nonti.

When a daughter has brought shame
The women show anger; not wrath.
And the illegitimate born is one of
The family.
When a son is charged by the white law
The children of Nonti bring their heads together
In a bid to free one of the children of Nonti.

There are no sixes and nines be one
With the children of Nonti. Truth is truth
And lies are lies amongst the children of Nonti.
For when the summer takes its place after the winter
The children of Nonti rejoice
And call it proof of Truth
Truth reigns among the children of Nonti.

Sometimes a son rises above the others
Of the children of Nonti. He explains the workings
And the trappings of white thinking.
The elders debate;
And add to the abounding knowledge
Of black experience.
The son is still one of the black children of Nonti
For there is oneness in the children of Nonti.

And later, later when the sun
Is like forever down;
Later when the dark rules
Above the light of Truth
The black children of Nonti will rise and speak.
They will speak of the time
When Nonti lived in peace with his children;
Of the times when age did not count
Above experience. The children of Nonti will stand
Their grounds in the way that Nonti speared his foes
To free his black brothers from death and woes;
They shall fight with a tightened grip
Of a cornered pard. For they shall be knowing that
Nothing is more vital than standing up
For the Truths that Nonti lived for.
Then shall there be Freedom in that stand
By the children of Nonti.
Truthful tales shall be told
Of how the children of Nonti pushed their will;
And continued to live by the peace
The peace that Nonti once taught to them.

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