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The Night At Blauwkrans (Refrain Stanza Sequence)
EA (26\5\1988 / cairo)

The Night At Blauwkrans (Refrain Stanza Sequence)

(after C. J. Langenhoven)

I
At a bright Voortrekker fire at Blauwkrans
there is an old grandfather and young woman that dance
while the concertina plays its sad song but joy is everywhere
a mother and her toddler boy that strokes her hair
the ox-wagons are not in a laager or in any hindrance
where they are waiting upon Piet Retief and his men to return
it becomes twilight and then night where bright the fires do burn
young people sneak away to take a chance,
there is an old grandfather and young woman that dance

II
children cry where for their fathers they do long,
while a red moon do rise and as families together they do belong,
there are young boys and men that laugh happy
toddlers are tired after the day a mother changes a nappy,
and trusting in God nobody is scared and in hope they feel strong,
the conversations are about building and planting,
about the new farms their views are enchanting
and they read from the Bible and sing to God a song,
while a red moon do rise and as families together they do belong.

III

Where longing for his father does him awake keep
a mother sings her baby asleep:
"daddy went to pay for our home
to Dingaan's huge kraal he did roam"
and through sleepy eyes the boy does peep
"daddy went to pay the full cost
and he will come back soon as he is not lost,
the way is not too far or too steep, "
a mother sings her baby asleep.

IV
Dingaan transfers the ground between the Tugela and Umzimvubu rivers with skill,
at Ngungunhlovu cruelly the Zulu impi do every unarmed white-man kill
and at another fire an old lady prays that her child would be protected from harm
who as a man rode out with Piet Retief to buy them a farm
and her husband she had lost years before where he had fallen from a hill,
the thought brings from her memory to her some great pain
and at the place of slaughtering, Hloma Mabuto, unarmed her son struggles in vain
where to Dingaan they did not bare ill their voices become still,
at Ngungunhlovu cruelly the Zulu impi do every unarmed white-man kill.

V
Under captain Inhela and captain Dambuza Dingaan's impi do go out for war
where at Blaukrans the old men, women and children sleep like every night before
but their brave men died at the Hloma Mabuto, the place of slaughtering,
while they were in peace negotiating for land and they do not know a thing
but in His record God do take note whom they all did worship and adore
while thousands of soldiers of the bloodthirsty impi do surround the peaceful camp
do to ancestral spirits sing in their bloodthirsty song and their feet down stamp
in a killing rampage do go against friendly unarmed people while like animals they roar,
where at Blaukrans the old men, women and children sleep like every night before

[References:"Via dolorosa" and "Die aand by Blauwkrans" (The evening at Blauwkrans)by C. J. Langenhoven.Poet's note: "A Voortrekker is a pioneer and it's a name given to the South African Dutch settlers, known as Boers or Afrikaners, in the Cape Colony (modern Cape Provinces)who migrated north into the interior of South Africa and away from Cape Colony and British rule in what became known as the Great Trek."A laager "is a camp or encampment formed by a circle of wagons."Inhela and Dambuza were two of the captains (here the generals)of Dingaan.An Impi do refer to a tribal army consisting out of different regiments of soldiers. Ngungunhlovu does refer to a large compound in which the Zulu king did live with some of his regiments of soldiers and his many wives.The Hloma Mabuto was called "the place of slaughtering, " which was a hillock near to Ngungunhlovu where Dingaan (the Zulu king)did leave the people that he had killed at his compound for the vultures and wild animals to eat.]

© Gert Strydom

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Comments (1)

Very good, nice display of words. Patricia