Semiahmoo Secondary grad Lindi Nolte was born in South Africa and came to Canada when she was nine.
Following Thursday’s death of anti-Apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela at age 95, Nolte – who’s currently in Laos – offered this tribute for the publication of this spoken-word tribute (at bottom) that was posted on YouTube this past summer.
For Nelson Mandela —
MandelaBefore you go to sleepI’d like to tell you a storyand if you don’t wake to see the dawnknow that your legend lives on
You were the first black man I fell in love withand boy, were you trouble(or at least that’s what they named youRolihlahla in Xhosa means ‘trouble maker’maybe his father saw an ember in his eyesthat would spark one of the biggest revolutionsand by giving him the name troublehe gave him permission not to live a subtleexistence)
You were so persistent in your pursuit of freedom— 94 years is a long journey to walkfrom first baby steps to your death bedand I bet your hands are still stained chalkfrom the years you educated my countryon how to speak in unisonNelson Mandelateacher of love and forgivenessyour voice strengthened theirsand my prayer is that you carry peace whenyour feet walk to heavens door on the last steps of your journeywhen you get there, will you thank God for meJuly 18th, 1918for the heart he gave you.for the clay he fashioned into your handsthat built this housefor the resilient spine that could not break
Tata:you fathered a crippled familydivided by the colour of fleshsewed our differences into a rainbow nation quiltcovered us warmwith promises that the monsters underour bed have fled
South Africawhen the silence descends and we inhale his lastexhaleI hope we breathe easyI am so sure that his last wishwould be to abolishthe pendulum from swinging backput the long knives downthe night is not coming,our soil has swallowed enough bloodto know that lungs breathe easier without remorsethe bullet scars in your grandfathers heartsdo not need to fire shots of revenge into our children’s children’s children’s earsrather listen to the echoing of his words:
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
South Africa,we do not have to scrounge for scrapsof lovethere is abundance herevultures fly elsewhere
Let him be the reason we prosper furtherlet our stomping feet be heard across the globe
let the world know that we are not done yetthat we have barely gotten startedthat being martyred is a thing of our pastand when they question if we’re readyif they dare ask if we’re made of shatterproof glasswe will roarwe will walk with courageous feetunafraid of calluses or thorns
We will march forwardWe will not remember you Mandelawe will live youmemories are too backwards drivenand you preached forward motionthe kind of bravery that you castis the kind that lastsbut this long walk to freedom is far fromoverSouth Africa
but it’s time to say Goodnight Madiba.
— written by South African: Lindi Nolte 2013, Vancouver, Canada