Who Is My Neighbour?

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You had a serpent
In your homestead
And ran away to exile
Those who remained
Were tortured or killed
And those who survived
Lived in fear
And resistance

And I spread my mat
That I shared with you
And my pots though small
It fed us all
Not that food was plenty
But the joy of seeing you smile
And never did I grumble
That your presence was a burden
As we pondered your fate
With other neighbours around

Helping hands

Mwalimu Nyerere came with a plan
And Kaunda supported the idea
And other Africans too
And other nations too
They couldn’t let you suffer
And while it was difficult
And dangerous too
With the serpent around
Killing and torturing
Those harbouring you


We couldn’t see you suffer
We couldn’t let you go
As some of us
Died too with you
As Samora did
Paying with his life
They all chose to help
To see you get your freedom
To see you get your dignity
To see you get your land
To see you going back home
And those at Robben Island
To be with their families

Crying children


When you cried
We felt the pain
When you bled
We carried the wound
And until now
The price
Of fighting for your Uhuru
Is a scar in Tanzania
Is a pride in Zambia
Is remembered in Algeria
And many other nations
That never abandoned you


Kaunda now weeps
And Nyerere would have been shocked
Nkrumah could be wondering
So soon have you forgotten
The contributions of your neighbours
That made you today
Be who you are now
That made you today
Free and proud of yourself

Hunting and chasing


And now you burn me alive
Why should it be so
Why should you chase me away
With claims
That we took away
Your bowel of food
And the streets of townships
And suburbs of Mzansi
That we litter with our needs
Should I now see you
As a reincarnation
Of the serpent
Should I now see you
As an ungrateful relative
Or should I now wonder
That a mistake was made?
If that could be the case
And of what you have done to us
Who then shall be my neighbour?


Tiema Haji Muindi

 

 

  • Journalism & Media Studies Lecturer - Durban University of Technology, Durban (Kwa Zulu Natal Province)
  • PhD student - Peace Studies
  • Author, Poet

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