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The Nameless - for South Africans of all colours who fought for freedom

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The Nameless - for South Africans of all colours who fought for freedom


The Nameless


Slipping through the sieve of history,

the nameless rest.

Not for the nameless are roads renamed, nor monuments built.

Not for the nameless are songs sung, nor ink spilled.

The nameless rest.

Their silent sacrifice,

quiet ordeal,

muted trauma,

remain interred,

amongst their remains.

The nameless rest.

Not for the nameless are doctorates conferred, nor eulogies recited.

Not for the nameless are honours bestowed, nor homages directed.

The nameless rest.

They rest within us,

they walk with us,

in every step that we tread.

They rest within us,

they walk with us,

for their spirit is not dead.


“Your name is unknown, your deed is immortal”
- inscription at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier WWII in Moscow


Special thanks to my dearest elder sister Tasneem Nobandla Moolla, whose conversations with me about life as a non-white person growing up in pre and post-Apartheid South Africa prompted me to write this dedication to the countless, nameless South Africans of every colour, whose sacrifices and dedication in the struggle against Apartheid tyranny must never be forgotten.


My sister’s middle name ‘Nobandla’ which is an isiXhosa name and means “she who is of the people” was given by her godfather, Nelson Mandela, my father’s ‘best-man who could not be, as Nelson Mandela was unable to-make it to my parent’s wedding as he was in jail at the time in the old Johannesburg Fort. This was the 31st December 1961.

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