SINKING OF THE MENDI (poem) - S.E.K. Mqhayi - South Africa - Poetry International
 
Poetry International Web
en/nl
dutch news
previous | next
 
 
 

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice - Message: Undefined index: video_mode - Filename: widget/video_player.php - Line Number: 3

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice - Message: Undefined index: video_mode - Filename: widget/video_player.php - Line Number: 17

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice - Message: Undefined index: video_mode - Filename: widget/video_player.php - Line Number: 21

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice - Message: Undefined index: video_mode - Filename: widget/video_player.php - Line Number: 38


A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice - Message: Undefined index: HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE - Filename: config/config.php - Line Number: 585

SINKING OF THE MENDI
Yes, this thing flows as a normal thing from that.
The thing we know is not scared of that;
We say, things have happened as they should have,
Within our brains we say: it should have been so;
If it hadn’t been so, nothing would have come right.
You see Sotase, things came right when the Mendi sank!
Our blood on that ship turned things around,
It served to make us known through the world!

The British didn’t buy us with begging;
They didn’t seduce us with long strips of meat;
They didn’t bribe us with things as high as the stars,
They didn’t bribe us with profits.
We say unto those who died, you were Africans,
Those who died in the country of the rising sun,
Those who died in the country of the setting sun,
You didn’t die out of subservience for the king,
Nor because you wanted to kowtow to Britain.

On the day you left home, we talked,
On the day you left, we promised to look after your families,
On this day we shook hands, our eyes were wet.
On this day mothers cried, you fathers sobbed,
On this day you left the mountains of your birth,
You left the rivers of our country behind
We said to you, going there as dark-skinned men,
We said: “You are our sacrifice from here.”

Could we have sacrificed anything more precious?
What did it mean to sacrifice a village?
Was it not giving the bull calves of your homestead?
Sending those very ones who loved you as a nation?
We’re talking deep now; we have added our voice,
Proudly we are part of those opening the road to freedom.
In the way Abel was the sacrifice of the earth?
In the way the Messiah was the sacrifice of heaven?

Be consoled, all you orphans!
Be consoled, all you young widows!
Somebody has to die, so that something can be built;
Somebody has to serve, so that others can live;
With these words we say: be consoled,
This is how we build ourselves, as ourselves.
Remember the saying of the old people:
“Nothing comes down, without coming down.”

Awu! The finest of Africa was busy dying!
The ship couldn’t carry its precious cargo,
It was echoing into the inner circles,
Their brave blood faced the King of Kings.
Their deaths had a purpose for all of us
How I wish I could be with them,
How I wish I could stand with them on resurrection day,
How I wish I could sparkle with them like the morning star.
Let it be so!
  
 

Translator's Note: The country of the rising sun – East Germany The country of the setting sun – West Germany In the line “Nor because you wanted to kowtow to Britain” the implication is “but you died for Africa”. The saying “Nothing comes down, without coming down” implies “this is not the first time this has happened”.