By MURPHY BROWNE (Abena Agbetu)
The child is not dead. The child lifts his fists against his mother Who shouts Afrika! Shouts the breath of freedom and the veld In the locations of the cordoned heart
The child lifts his fists against his father in the march of the generations who shouts Afrika! Shout the breath of righteousness and blood in the streets of his embattled pride
The child is not dead not at Langa nor at Nyanga not at Orlando nor at Sharpeville nor at the police station at Philippi where he lies with a bullet through his brain
The child is the dark shadow of the soldiers on guard with rifles Saracens and batons the child is present at all assemblies and law-givings the child peers through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothers this child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere the child grown to a man treks through all Africa
The child grown into a giant journeys through the whole world Without a pass
Excerpt from the poem “The child who was shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga” by Ingrid Jonker; published in 1963.
Nelson Mandela read this poem “The child who was shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga” in Afrikaans during his address at the opening of the first democratically elected parliament in South Africa on May 24, 1994. The poem was written by a White woman who was born in South Africa and was written in the language of the White people who settled and occupied South Africa beginning in 1652 with the arrival of a ragtag bunch of mostly Dutch men (with a few Germans thrown in) from the Dutch East India company.
On July 19, 1965, the poet Ingrid Jonker, a descendant of the Dutch settlers who occupied South Africa, committed suicide by walking into the sea and drowning herself. She had written the poem “The child who was shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga” after a child who was travelling on its mother’s back was murdered by White police at a checkpoint in the township of Nyanga in Capetown, South Africa.
Following the slaughter of 69 Africans by White police in Sharpeville, South Africa on March 21, 1960, the White supremacist regime in South Africa declared a state of emergency on March 30, 1960. After the brutal murder of the Africans who had been peacefully protesting the pass laws the White men and women who occupied South Africa and ruled with such inhumane cruelty towards Africans decided to become even more so in spite of international condemnation.
On April 1, 1960 the United Nations adopted Resolution 134 in condemnation of the brutal action of the regime in South Africa. The resolution condemned: “the situation arising out of the large-scale killings of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators against racial discrimination and segregation in the Union of South Africa.”
Of course, most of the condemnation was half hearted at best because there was no action to back up the words. It would take years of activism by millions of people before the governments of European nations and the governments of countries governed by White men and women including Australia, Canada, the USA and New Zealand would apply economic sanctions to their brothers and sisters in South Africa. In spite of the call from the United Nations to recognize that the White supremacist regime in South Africa had gone beyond the pale (pun intended), the governments of the aforementioned nations refused to sanction their kin who held power in South Africa.
Even after the murder of the baby carried on its mother’s back in 1960 during the stepped up reign of terror the White supremacist regime visited upon Africans following the Sharpeville massacre, those governments sat on their hands and refused to apply economic sanctions to their kin in South Africa. It would take the concerted effort of millions of protestors worldwide over two decades to force them to stop doing business with the murderous regime in South Africa.
The checkpoint at Nyanga where the African baby was murdered by White police was one of several instituted by the White regime in South Africa determined to control the movements of Africans in their own country. During the five-month state of emergency (March to September 1960) thousands of Africans were jailed and many killed by White police.
Dr. Zweledinga Pallo Jordan, a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress and former cabinet minister from 1994 until 2009, describes the five-month state of emergency: “After the declaration of the first peacetime state of emergency on March 31, 1960, army and police units laid siege to Cape Town’s African townships for five months. To enter or leave them, one ran the gauntlet of police checkpoints.”
In 2014 it is truly a sight to see a White woman striving to become president of South Africa. Seeing this woman campaigning among Africans whose kin were slaughtered by a regime of White people who “governed” South Africa for centuries I am reminded of a recent quote by grieving African-American father, Ron Davis. At a recent dinner in Washington, D.C., hosted by members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), Davis is quoted: “Black people are the most forgiving people in the world. We have taken it for years.”
Davis is the father of teenager Jordan Davis who was 17 years old and (like Trayvon Martin) was unarmed when he was shot to death on November 23, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida by Michael Dunn, a White man who claimed that he was “standing his ground”.
The White woman in South Africa who is busily campaigning to become President of South Africa is supposedly an old time anti-apartheid activist and she is the leader of the opposition in South Africa!! Where is Mama Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela Mandela!!