Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dennis Brutus on Freedom Fighters

For a Dead African


We have no heroes and no wars

only victims of a sickly state

succumbing to the variegated sores

that flower under lashings of hate.


We have no battles and no fights


for history to record with trite remark

only captives killed in eyeless nights

and accidental dyings in the dark.


Yet when the roll of those who died

to free out land is called without surprise

those nameless unarmed ones will stand beside

the warriors who secure the final prize.


Dennis Brutus


Mashujaa day is all about remembrance. Not much has been done to honour the lives of those who died for or freedom. Countless others who actively took part in the Struggle remain banished to obscurity. Dennis Brutus, a South African, wrote this poem at the height of apartheid when no end was in site. Nonetheless he had hope, a hope that was not in vain, the false naivety of the rhyme scheme does nothing to shroud the horrors of an oppressive regime. This was political writing at its most ironic.


So on the 20th of October let us salute the lives that were lost to build this country and the countless sacrifices not forgetting the barbarous aftermath of the 2007 General Election, “the nameless unarmed ones”.


Dennis Brutus, poet, political activist and instigator of change died on December 26th 2009. He was 85.



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