(for South Africa’s liberation)
The shackles have been cast off.
A people once squashed,
under the jackboot of Apartheid,
Free at last!
Freedom came on the 27th day in that April of 1994.
Freedom from prejudice.
From institutionalized racism.
From being relegated to second-class citizens.
Freedom came and we danced.
We ululated as we elected
our revered Mandela.
President Nelson Mandela. Our very own beloved ‘Madiba’.
Black and white and brown and those in-between.
All hues of this rainbow nation,
rejoiced as we breathed in the air of freedom and democracy.
Today we pause.
The brave ones whose sacrifices made this day possible,
on that 27th day of April,
18 years ago.
Today we dance.
Tears of joy and tears of loss.
Of remembrance and of forgiveness.
Of reconciliation and of memories.
Today we pause.
We acknowledge the tasks ahead.
Today we reaffirm,
that promise of freedom.
From eyes without promise.
Today we also wish to reflect.
On unfulfilled promises.
On the proliferation of greed.
On the blurring of the ideals of freedom.
Today we say.
We will take back the dream.
We will renew the promise.
We will not turn away.
Today we pledge.
To stand firm.
To keep the pressure turned on.
To remind those in the corridors of power,
that we the people need to savor the fruits of the tree of freedom.
And till that time,
when all shall share in the bounty of democracy,
We shall remain vigilant,
And we shall continue,
And to sing out loud,
“We shall overcome”.
Afzal Moolla was born in Delhi, India while his parents were in exile, fleeing Apartheid South Africa. He then traveled wherever his parent’s work took them and he still feels that he hasn’t stopped traveling. Afzal works and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and shares his literary musings with his most strident critic – his 12 year old cat.