Nelson Mandela Foundation

This is a poem in tribute to Nelson Mandela by Dr Zakes Kagiso Motene, medical doctor at the South African Military Health Service and author of The Journey, which he read at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory on Saturday, 1 February 2014.

The poem is published here in the original Setswana, with an English translation below:

Go wele Mokaloba!!!


Erile fa Seaparankwe se golagana le badimo ba Aforika
Lefatshe la roromela
thoromo ya ralala go tswa bokone go ya borwa
Ya re beke e gagaba re sa ntse re gamaregile
Badimo ba mo tsholetsa go kgabaganya noka-kgolo ya Jorotane
Bosigo jwa garola dipelo tsa batho
Ngwana le mogolo go utlwala selelo le tsikitlano ya meno
Tsatsi la gana go tlhaba matsatsi a balwa
Tota le ikobonya ka ditlhong mo pakeng e masisi

Go wele mogaka, go wele mokaloba, go wele sekwankwetla
Senatla-e seng sa mme ntete foo
Senatla gare ga dinatla

Selelo se utlwetse se gelebeta khutlong tse nne tsa Lefatshe
Mongwe le mongwe a baka se Madiba a neng e le sone mo go ene
Lerato le mantswe a a bothitho a matshidiso di pumpunyega go tswa ntlheng tsotlhe
Nyaa, se re se bonang ga se ise se ke se diragale mo lefatsheng

Ijoo re lesego jang ne
Go beng re ntse mo botshelong ka nako le mogaka yo
Fa a ne a leba ngwana, a bona lerato leo Rara a re ratileng ka lone
Tota e ne e le wa magodimo
Tota fa mongwe a ka tle a botse
Le nna ke tla itaya sehuba
la re:" Ke bone moengele, mo nakong ya me ya botshelo"!

Tota, o ne o se wa fatshe leno
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
O ne o le wa magodimo

Robala, robala, robala boroko
khura la konyana
Fa e le thuto tsa gago tsone
Ke seikokotlelo sa lefatshe lotlhe go ya bokhutlong jwa nako

Dumedisa bagale ka wena ka koo
A dinaledi di go opelele melodi ya melodi
Ikhutse,o re lebe ebile o re fe maatla le botlhale
Go atolosa tsotlhe tse o re laetseng tsone
Robala mogaka,robala ngwana wa Aforika


A Colossus has fallen!!!


When the King of Kings – the One who wears the Leopard Skin

Made a connection with the African Ancestors
The earth quaked!
Tremors reverberated from the North to the South
As the week progressed, with greatest consternation abounding
The Ancestors lifted him up to cross the great river Jordan
The night tore people’s hearts apart
From child to adult, inconsolable cries and utter exasperation became the order of the times
The sun blatantly refused to show its face for days on end
Ashamed to appear at such a gravely sensitive time

A Hero has fallen, a Colossus has fallen, a mighty Giant has fallen
A mighty Warrior, The finest Warrior of them all

Cries of consternation reverberated from all corners of the globe
With everyone citing what and who Madiba was to each of them
Rivers of Love and warmest words of comfort flowing from all quarters
What we are seeing has never occurred on this, our planet!

Oh, just how blessed we are!
To have shared our time of life with this magnanimous Hero
Who, whenever he looked at a child, would exude such an exuberance of Love,
That which only God has shown to each of us
Indeed, he was of the heavens
And yes, indeed, if one would ever ask
I would pound my chest and say: “I have seen an angel in my time of life!”

Indeed, you were not of this earth
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
You belonged to the heavens

Sleep, Sleep and peacefully sleep
Our most beloved child
As for all your lessons –
They will remain a pillar of strength for the entire world through to the end of time

Send our warmest salutations to our Heroes in the land up yonder
May the stars sing for you their best melodies
Take your rest, guide us, give us strength and wisdom
To share widely all that you have bequeathed unto us
Rest In Peace dear Hero,
Rest In Peace dearest child of Africa