The Valiant Ones

 

The Valiant Ones

they left so abruptly
the valiant ones
countless
many known
many more nameless

the truest sons and singers
husbands and poets
lovers and wives
daughters and farmers
workers and sisters
brothers and friends

they left so abruptly
with quiet pride
steely courage
gentle dignity

they left so abruptly
leaving us our tomorrows
brighter
hopeful
filled with promise

they left so abruptly
so that we may breathe
the breath of liberty
the air of freedom
the warmth of justice

they left so abruptly
leaving with us their parting gift

freedom
nkululeko
swatantrata
liberté
azadi
vhudilangi
libertad

they left so abruptly
yet we remember them all
today
in the days that slipped away
and in the many more that we await

they left so abruptly
yet they remain
hewed into our memories
etched in our consciences
engraved in our hearts
they left so abruptly
and yet they endure
with us
within us
now and forever more

—Afzal Moolla


Afzal Moolla was born in exile in New Delhi, where his South African parents represented the African National Congress in the liberation struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. Moolla traveled with his parents, spending time in Cairo and Helsinki, before returning to South Africa in 1990 following the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners and the unbanning of the ANC and other Liberation Movements. He currently works in Johannesburg.

Read this article in the May 2013 digital issue by clicking here.

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