Tuesday, 10 November 2015


By Ishmael Mzwandile Soqaga

Today we are paying our deepest condolences
To the fallen heroine, woman of Africa
Today we are paying our last respects
Words of Eulogy are innumerable
Condolences from our aggrieved hearts
Literary fraternity is gloomy and mourning
Prepare to dedicate their sonorous tributes

If we know the time
We could simply say No
But who can repulse the time?
Who can courageously say No?

Our hearts and bellies are
Overwhelmed by poignant sorrow
 Melancholic at your last journey
This time you didn’t tell us
You didn’t candidly
Tell that you will leave
That you will ascend like seraphs

Beforehand you left
You left and you returned
You left, not by your choice
And you left - determined

Erstwhile when you left
To leave was inevitable
Under daunting racial terror
Under racial suppression and
Under racial discrimination
Sought but you managed
Probably surreptitiously
To evade and you leave
Nevertheless, breath of life was with you
In foreign land - you blossomed stunningly
With your profound agility
You did extraordinarily well
Your prodigious deft was intriguing
Patently you were intellectually fascinating

While you were in your country
 Alas, in the land of your birth as youngster
You were lampooned and rejected
Without any option, you opted
 To leave and not to die
Why should you die? When you
Precisely knew that you are phenomenal

In exile you stayed, but you were not
Quiescent and you worked...worked
Your brilliance was remarkable
Sedulous African woman in exile
Unflagging African women
Eager to work and you worked
Teaching in English schools
I reckon conspicuously
It was in 1963 when you left
Facing imminent arrest then you fled

The gory of Sharpeville and Langa
 Gruesome act of security police
Apartheid in your door, ready to devour you
Freedom fighters and masses alike perished
Horrific sounds of guns and shootings
On peaceful demonstrators
 In response the late Ingrid Jonker reacted
With her breathtaking poem “Die Kind”
And the anger of the oppressor upsurge
Robben Island remained the home
To freedom fighters and whoever considered
Obstinate and suspicious-gaol was his/her punishment

Death and arrest knocking at your door
Consciously you realised it was coming
And successfully you evaded and you left
I remember, first you went
To Swaziland, then Zambia
And finally you settled in England
Where you worked as a teacher
For twenty five years!

Cheerfully, freedom came in your land
At the dawn of freedom you returned
Vigorous and winsome
With your phenomenal prowess
You constantly pulled off awesome feats
Writing exhilarating novels
Classic and splendid novels!

You garnered prestigious awards in literature
In 2006 you were honoured with
Lifetime Achievement Literary Award

Melancholic you leave again
Spontaneously-plaintive! You leave forever
Now you are in concert with your ancestors
This time it is death
It is death that takes you!

Sad!  Because of your death
We are reeling; painfully distraught
Absolutely  gloomy
Now because of your death
We are aggrieved and mourning
Reeling, aggrieved and mourning
For the poignant demise of a giant
Phenomenal African woman
Humanitarian, exponent of women rights
Freedom fighter, mother of the Nation
Daughter of the soil-mother of Africa
Of course, we will miss you wholeheartedly
We will miss your humane, didactic being
Your passionate love for all people
Black, white, red and yellow

Your death could not make us despondent
We are optimistically confident
Unperturbed and inspired by your
Stupendous literary achievement
Definitely, the progeny will commend you
Because of your sacrosanct life and your success
Categorically you are meritorious, Mama Lauretta Ngcobo
Meritorious for your gallant spirit of heroine
You are victorious – profound, exceptional woman!!!

1 comment:

  1. Powerful poem indeed Ntate Soqaga about Mama Lauretta Ngcobo. her legacy will live eternity and future generations will still drink knowledge of life from her palm. TM THIBA