Mokesh Morar

A poem for Oupa

Phoenix must rise … … … must rise , o ye
rise from the ash heaps of apartheid and colonialism.
Rise from the pain and suffering of yesteryear:
Rise the pain of “Group areas” AND Force Removals,
removals and trauma of Cato Manor, Vitas,
but also District Six, the Northern areas (PE).
And rise also with the tears of Peddie, Lime Hill, Qwa-qwa and Winterveld.
Phoenix must rise. Rise Phoenix!

Phoenix must rise from the pain of colonialism:
of false promises in India and deception:
“gold lying like chicken shit in the streets” and the sweetness of sugar cane, tea and diabetes. Rise Phoenix above the lies of a false prism.
See the tears and hear the terrible cough of asbestos mines, gold, diamond and platinum; broken and fragmented lives.
Join the shout and cry: Down with Cecil John Rhodes and his heirs – Lonmin, CR17 and White Monopoly Capital.
Yebo Phoenix rise with the those in the Green Blanket and
the tears of Marikana, Anglo Gold Ashanti and De Beers.
Rise Phoenix, rise Phoenix, rise.

Word wakker Phoenix staan op en kyk rond. Look at the tears and the cough of blood in Prieska and Copperton. Look, look beyond the gold of Bolly Wood and extravagent weddings and dowries. Rise Phoenix. Kyk mooi en kyk reg, Kyk en sien die sleg, Phoenix.
Rise and listen to the cough and the blood, rise from the cold and the heat of gold, and diamonds and asbestos. Rise up Phoenix, rise up.

Vuka … … Vuka Phoenix and rise from the lies and corruption of
Indenture labour. Wake up to lies a “better life for all” and White Monopoly Capital joining the boards of Hullets, Tongaat and Lonmin.
Yebo Phoenix …. see the tears of cheap labour and exploitation of Indenture labour, but also today on the farms, factories and shops. Yes, even the kitchens of the suburbs, townshops and your own home.
Hear the cries of Gogo and her children who are hungry. Yes hungry, whilst Mzansi export maize and sugar to the US and UK to be turned into pet food. Rise Phoenix and see the pain of starvation and unemployment in the shanties, townships. Your own backyard.
Yebo… Phoenix must rise and look around. Look around Phoenix and rise.

Phoenix must rise – not alone, not alone from the
pain of apartheid, but with others
the pain of force removals to barren, neglected homelands, 1983 and 1994. Mamelang Phoenix, mamalang ….listen to the cries of children separated. The silent cries of
partners and family due to population registration. Partners who could not hold hands.
“Onthou daai oom en daai auntie” is ook ons familie. Yes, we married across the colour line, let us not forget. Do not forget.
Ons is mos almal mense, dieselfde bloed onder apartheid.

The tears and the pain of immorality laws, van wegkruip
innie cupboards in West Street, Hillbrow and Hanover park.
Phoenix must rise and rise with others and not forget our common roots and common humanity.
Phoenix must rise. A whe! Phoenix. Ons blom hier, ons phola hier.
A whe Phoenix, a whe, and rise Phoenix. Bua! Bua Phoenix!

Tsoga Phoenix, tshoga nabatho ba Marikana. Eee! Rise up with those in Marikana, rise above the ashes of apartheid, of police brutality of apartheid yesterday and today. Rise above the gun shots, the yearning for more profits in Anglogold, De Beers and Lonmin.
Tha! Tha … … … tha, tha hear the gun shots Phoenix in Marikana and the shoutsin the stock market – a market that is bullish and killing people at the click of a tweet; making millionaires and billionaires, whilst condemning others to widow-hood, poverty and starvation in Winterveld, Peddie and Pondoland. Wide and far… Phoenix you must rise above Kala pani and the Raj. Rise above the Raj, Phoenix.

Oet reh ! Oet reh! Phoenix, oet reh … …
rise up above the pain of class and caste, Phoenix.
Cast out caste and relegate that system of past to the past
rise above the class of money and wealth and untouchability.
Phoenix must rise and hold hands in solidarity with all.
Rise Phoenix… no more caste and jat… no more class and wealth
Phoenix must rise above the pain of oppression and separation
See the other as self and that we are all normal. No longer classified as “undesirable” outcaste and foreigner by colonialism and apartheid
Classified as “a problem” to get rid. Phoenix must rise above the pain of colour: the blind hatred of the OTHER!
Phoenix with rise with the Other above the ashes of separation and exclusion.
Tshoga, vuka, oetre, word wakker Phoenix – the face of the other is your own. See your reflection in their pain as you rise. It is time to reflect. Yes, Phoenix. Will Phoenix rise and turn around?

Turn around and find the other as yourself, the pain, but also the joy.
In the joy of sharing and caring
In the joy of recognition of the other as self
as human and human alone, not caught up in the history
of separate development and colonial expansion. Of being better and a higher class and caste. But of being human and the same, in all our pain.
Phoenix, will you rise?
O ja – Phoenix sal. Phoenix will rise.
And Phoenix will show the way to Mzansi when Phoenix rise from the ashes
Rise from the darkness of apartheid to bring light to Chatsworth and Laudium, to Lenasia and Malabar, to Gatesville.
Bring light to Wentworth and Mitchel’s plain, and District Six, to Eldos and Atlantis.
And rise above the sea to new heights. From the dark blue see rise Phoenix and bright new hope to all. Will you rise Phoenix?

Phoenix will rise from the dark ashes of apartheid and show the way. Show the way to Parktown, Saxonwold. Yes, yes bring the light even to Sandton and Houghton in their shame of greed and guilt. Phoenix rise and show the way to Clifton Bay and Bishop’s court that we are one. One in Africa and one in the world, bring your light Houtbay and Orania. We are one… we will rise as one above apartheid and selfedetermination. Rise and look around Phoenix…. Reach out and rise up.

Ja –nee Phoenix will rise and hold hands with the others in
Rebuilding a new society of no race classification, no BBBEEE
no separation of class and colour, of gender and sexuality
Phoenix will rise and rise with you out of the ashes
Phoenix will rise above religion and prejudice
And bring to a new birth, a new people rising together.

Will you rise Phoenix? Will you rise Phoenix?
How will you rise? And when will you rise Phoenix?
(Poem by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.