(03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

The Ballade Of The Xhosas In 1857

Where the medium Nonquase do get her water,
she notices faces of which nobody does argue with her.

The ancestral spirits talk to her
tell her to spare no harvest, no cattle or goat.

In the pond there is others that do see them as well
where they do follow their gods to the letter,

do destroy every bit of food in the land,
even that which are still growing

and wait upon a supernatural army
to rise against the white man on a murderous day,

to drive them into the sea and kill them there
where in famine the Xhosas do almost loose a whole nation

as the victory that the spirits do bring
is but a untruthful thing,

where the impi go in vain into the veldt
as nothing is left to be hunted,

where the white people do notice their great misery,
how mothers and fathers mourn over their dead children

and to this day people are astonished
about how a whole nation could have come to its end,

where from Christian mercy they do provide food
as they do serve a loving graceful God

and do forget the previous wars, the plundering and robberies
do give to the Xhosas in great humanity.

[Poet's note:An impi is a tribal army.]

© Gert Strydom

by Gert Strydom

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