If you have 2 minutes, then listen to this poem, and I mean really listen to it. It’s good.
The Black Pimpernel
by Mbali Vilakazi
This hour upon the horizon is its own song; a dirge
But this is not the hour of yesterday
This is not the time for tears
We have our work to do.
And we have been shown:
Wind of life blown without roots
to exile and iron fire grieving
Blood and shackled love
And those other things —
Those that remain undone
We have always been reaching
Before the smoke machines
And statues of bronze, and invention
Before martyr and metaphor
Before the truth, and the lies
And surface scraped clean
There were regular swoops on your Orlando home then.
There were the workman’s blue overalls and the Mazzawati tea glasses
And there was you —
The Black Pimpernel.
The fearsome shadow of purposeful stride
An AK-47 grip on necessity
A chauffeur’s hat and your pocketful of ‘tickeys’
You have always had your way.
Black fist of words raised beyond the precipice
You bore the burden:
Hammer, rock and
The lime quarry in your eyes
They say it affected your sight.
‘I am not a saint’ you said.
A man who seeks the hands of children in the crowd.
The terrorist and the statesman
The paradox comes home here
Where we remain.
Where a daughter will remember how she could not touch you
Behind the glass
Behind your smile
Mortal, man, one amongst many
You led yourself and lead us to the same.
Of what you could not give
We will remember that you did not take.
We will make our own meaning.
This hope, it belongs
It is ours
We claim it.
This is the hour of tomorrow.
And if we have stood on the shoulders of giants,
We are giants still
And giants, we will come again
Because we are all Nelson Mandela
And because the struggle continues.
"The Black Pimpernel" by Mbali Vilakazi. Copyright 2013 by Mbali Vilakazi.