photo of woman wearing traditional headwear

Brother Replies

Brother Replies
(Submission after liberation, 1994)
Dear Sipho
Thy fret paper silk in ink has arrived
Sealed in the khaki envelope,
And your words roused my almost forgotten memories.
We are jolly happy to know that you are alive brother,
Longing to eye you heading back home not a carcass.
Life is still fine home freedom finally walks the land,
Liberation is a coat that covered the whole life
Like a blanket, we’ve fallen to prejudice
Broken chains share one love in one nation.
Come home, brother, scoundrels are down and frown
The kingdom is in our shoes we dance to our own flesh.
But brother, I am really sorry for your absence
You know that death is a dog that makes no seldom,
Bites secretively like a mosquito irritating by rumble,
Their corpses scavenged by worms,
So unto our mother and her spirit that nested in peace,
The very same woman who birthed you and me
And Peterson our brother who followed us
Even when we went hunting.
Both are gone for good when ‘apart’ and ‘heid’
Were a single song for the natives,
Swallowed them including our father ‘Chief Albert Luthuli’,
Yet I am their leftover to weep on when hungry,
Let me tell you about our mother before she dies
That egoistic woman you knew;
She was very much worried about you,
She couldn’t hold her tongue
By the thought of your name,
She was so deep in fond with thou,
And perhaps she departed wanting to see her seven sons
Including you and you were not there brother,
But it’s not your fault, but mine,
I should have taken care of you when you started
The amend of politics, I should’ve warned you brother,
But I failed, failed you, brother and it just happened.
She passed away ghastly wanting to see you,
To tell you her unknown secret before death
And perhaps you were not there when she shuts.
We searched for thee in the map of the continents,
Pity we didn’t know of which country,
But we tried and tried and tried
Till we’re left with no hope, but to bury our mother.
Beneath the shadow of that long oak tree, we climbed,
As we played touch and run,
Our mother lied innocently and peacefully in silence.
Our siblings, my leftovers know you by portraits
And cannot halt puzzle about your return,
Why have you left the country?
And I just don’t know how to tell them.
I have searched into those bushy sugarcanes
Right at the back of our houses carefully
And indeed I have found those wires of my double-decker,
Still tied with copper but wires rot.
And here is my confession too brother;
Remember you had a brown leather jacket
That was stolen long ago?
Well, I was your thief,
I stole it and I was too dodgy when our mother asked
But I knew I had it in my luggage.
Perhaps I kept it safely differently from bus
It’s still there to remind me of my brother in the past.
We’ve grown old now brother, I’d array it
And those ages have passed out,
That thick bush we feared the most
Has been mote with black patches of a gold sunlight
Those tall horrible trees are chopped down
The land is nakedly rough and free like freedom
And those grey squirrels to terrorize us
Have escaped to the far most hills
Yet some Jock and Dock our dogs caught
And I cooked them, unfortunately, died of patience too
Couldn’t hold the sun to rise and set,
Because it all went by strength.
But brother, you’re welcome,
My home is your home, we missed you,
And I’ve forgiven you many years ago
Before you crossed the border to the foreign countries,
Yet home you may come…

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