A comrade like Ben
A Comrade like Ben
A statesman like Mandela diplomatically
suspended the necessary struggle of opposites,
gummed his fragmented land together with reconciliation….
exploiters to exploited , murderers to martyrs
imperialist to invisibled indigenes
lives in Sandton and councils Bill Clinton
and Naomi Campbell on plush carpets
a sinewy activist, hard as nails, like yourself…
Ben Palmer Louw, always
beautiful in your pregnant concern
that freedom , dignity and justice
is tangible and beautiful as black skin, kinky hair
is real when a continent’s wealth is fairly shared
is manifested when the state collapses in selfless deeds
old man Nelson turned ninety and is now a teddy
to those who feared the terrorist at forty.
He no longer speak for himself but for his party
and the party is a self-serving affair.
Pity your death at thirty-something
when Nelson started talking to his racist oppressors.
For ten years you and your young militant army
punctured holes in the racist ideology,
marched flames and thunder through townships,
died in your thousands,
stopping with blood and bones
bullets casted for centuries by the fascist
in black holes of greed and fear.
“A shame … but subversion is to blame ”
`` the defenders of law and order loudly exclaimed
“Not good for business”…the moneybags conceded
“ if Soweto bleeds , profit –rates receeds . ”
“Give black chiefs and compradors the garrotte
and stick the small change of capital under their nose .
They will throttle the radical noises at the root ”.
Wounded deeply, your rapid-firing baritone voice
still thundered on battle-fields and in halls,
urging us to destroy mental and wage slavery.
I saw you fight for freedom
the whole scorching way,
every hour of that long bloody apartheid day…
but one night
you leaped ,
proud black brother of mine,
right into the sky…
fist raised high as heaven with a two-hour smile
whispering re-assuringly “Don’t ever give up, gents…
the harder they come , the harder they fall.
See… brothers and sisters…revolution is!
In memory and respect to Ben Palmer Louw (1950-1987)a student leader of 1976 soweto insurrection
Copyright © Neil Mcdonald