Nomzamo: A poem for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (isiXhosa & English)

By: Nozipho Madlala


Translated into isiXhosa by Akha Tutu
Nomzamo
Uphile ubomi unguNomzamo- unozala wemizamo;
Lowo uzamayo.
Ukubaleka, yinto ongazange uyizame.
Ukusithanda isizwe, kuwe akukhange kube ngumzamo.
Nomzamo- ilwalwa! Imbokodo!
Nomzamo, ubuhle bakho ibibobexesha elingenammiselo.
Ubudala bakho bebufunyanwa kwimizabalazo, bufunyanwa kumaxesha ka“Yes madam, yes bass” kanti bukwabhaqwa naphaya kumathuba ka “kwanele! Phantsi ngeDompasi!”
Ubuso bakho babayimbonakaliso yethemba elaliluzizi
Kuba awuzange ugobe,
Ungazange wophuke.
Ilwalwa, imbokodo!
Usithwele isizwe esiye kamva sakukhahlela phantsi kwamathunzi;
Sinxiliswe ziinyani ezingezonyani nonomgogwana kasingankululeko;
Ibe yiminyaka ukuba sikhwaze ngazwinye sithi: “Phila ngonaphakade Kumkanikazi!”
Kuba asikwazanga kangangethuba elide.
Singabhal’ amagama aliwaka kodwa, kowu!
Sakuba sesishiywe lixesha ukuba singangqina sithi:
“Akonanga.”
Sikuhluthe igama elihle Nomzamo
Litye lenyengane laseBizana
Umama wesizwe!
Ilitye! Imbokodo!
Kakade ibikukufa kodwa ebekuya kukuguqisa ngamadolo.
Ulale ngoxolo.
 
English Translation:
Nomzamo
You lived your life as Nomzamo-
Mother of endeavours;
She who tries.
But you never tried
To run.
And you loved this nation
Without trying.
Nomzamo-
Rock! Mbokodo!
Your beauty was timeless.
Your age was somewhere between
Revolutions;
Somewhere between, “Yes madam, yes baas”
and
“Enough is enough, I refuse to carry a pass!”
Your face was the epitome of breaking points
That could never be reached.
For you did not crack.
And you would not break.
Rock! Mbokodo!
You carried a nation that would only salute you
In the shadows;
Too drunk on untruths and false freedoms
To stand together long enough to shout,
“Long live the Queen!”
It took us long to finally get to know you.
We could pen a thousand words,
But it would still be too late to say,
“She didn’t do it.”
We robbed you of a good name, Nomzamo.
Jewel of Bizana!
Mother of the nation!
Rock! Mbokodo!
Only death could struck you to surrender.
Lala ngoxolo Mangutyana.

    Author: Nozipho Madlala

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