For Sheila


(A Poem for Mothers’ Day)

Hamba Kahle Mkonto

Literally means ‘go well spear’

Go well warrior

Brave warrior woman

A warrior of the spirit

Warrior with an open heart

You laid back easy warrior

A warrior of the people of South Africa

My protector

Care Giver


A fighter for freedom and justice

A defender of our integrity and dignity

Go well

Hamba Kahle Mkonto

Mkonto we Sizwe

Literally ‘Spear of the Nation’

The Servant

The Worker




Envelope licker, Graffiti painter and Poster sticker-upper

Sacrificing with humility and dignity

Go Well Spear

Daughter of Eli & Vi

The Mother of me

Daughter of Elsie – of Albertina

Friend, sister, mother to so many

Our Comrade

Unpretentious & Effective


Activist – courageous, committed, disciplined

I salute your spirit

Thank you for all you have given – and all you have shown me

For Sheila’s local activism and commitment

Let there not be another 10 years

Of the demobilisation of our people

Let us recommit to deepening democracy and opening debate within our movements

For Sheila

Not another 10 years of job losses

People’s lives ruined by privatisation, capital investment, and single minded pursuit

of profit

For Sheila’s humility

Not another 10 years

Of the opulence and self enrichment that has emerged in her movement

For Sheila’s humanity

Not another 10 years of landlessness

Peasants forced into cities and reserves – alienated from their land and culture

I say Aluta Continua – Let the struggle continue!

I say Namaste – I love, I honour, and I respect you.

Hamba kahle mom

I pick up the spear.

Delivered at Sheila’s funeral, on 20 November 2004.

This poem was submitted on 10 May 2020. You may republish it, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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