Mgcineni Noki, Mambush* (A poem by Michael van Niekerk)
Who is that man,
that man in the green blanket?
Is he just a man?
Is he the creation
of a broken mind – national mind, local mind, black mind, white mind, true mind,
Is he an image of the thing – that thing, you know that thing, the thing we struggle to
express, or understand, or write, or pray, that thing we call freedom, or dignity, or God?
Is he the meaning of life itself – the deconstructed, waded-through, raw meaning of:
life and death, everything, the thing, you know that thing, that thing caught in the
chaos of this land: isn’t that what life is, I’m sure it is, I’m sure that life is only life
when it has faced death and confronted it by gaining life through death
and giving life through death so that others may live?
Questions. Questions. Questions.
Could that man,
that man in the green blanket,
Could he ever be just a man,
that man in the green blanket
eternally standing upon the scorched earth of murdered Marikana?
Aside, questions, aside:
his wife and child,
his family beyond,
his village of Thwalikhulu – with its sunlit green hills risen high upon the rim of those
they know him as Mgcineni Noki,
they know him as Mambush,
they know him as just a man,
Just a man.
Yet perhaps what will shake the foundations of this Azanian earth and uproot its
entangled existence and lift its mountains and rivers and valleys unto a new world
will be just a man.
Perhaps, just a man.
Yet for now
quivering… quivering… quivering…
all for that moment – that moment, you know that moment, that moment we all
secretly long for, that moment we all constantly contradict, that moment,
come please, come, please, come now.
Michael van Niekerk – Izwe Lethu
* For more information on Mgcineni Noki and the murdered miners of Marikana, here is a helpful place to start: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/19/marikana-massacre-untold-story-strike-leader-died-workers-rights