The Ballade Of Amakeia

(after A. G. Visser)

On the border of the Transkei white pioneers did live alone.
When the mother died Amakeia did get the white child in her care
and there at the Kei River did promise to protect him until he was grown up.
"Be silent, be silent you poor little baby, " she hums.

When the stormy winds sometimes howl down,
the story of Amakeia and a white baby is told
where for escape she does cross the cliffs of the mountains,
where she sets the child's life much higher than her own.

With everything in her power she cared for the white child
did feed him, told him stories and when he did fall did clean his wounds,
did continually hum the small baby asleep
and for herself her motherly love was totally blind.

When she saw signs that the sixth border war was breaking out
for escaped she crossed the Kei River
did flee into the cliffs of the Amatola Mountains
to stop the Xhosa impi to avenge themselves on the white child.

Continually she did hum: "Be silent, be quiet, "
while somewhere else the Xhosa impi did spill innocent blood
and did flee with him to safety
for the promise and her love for the child.

Until scouts that were sneaking around high in the mountains
did slyly steal upon the two of them
and she unsuspecting kept singing: "Be silent, be quiet, "
where they stood with blood dripping from their spears.

"Spare him, " she said with her hands streched out,
she tried to cover the baby with her own body.
"Give him here, " the whole gang roared in rage
and that black warrior did draw her nearer to him.

"He is only a baby, " Amakeia was brave and fierce.
"Die with him or give here immediately! "
"Rather stab me to death and let him live"
and the woman and child died with the daybreak.

[Reference:"Amakeia" by A. G. Visser.Poet's note:An impi here does refer to a whole tribal army with different regiments making it up.]

© Gert Strydom

by Gert Strydom

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