Extract from the poem of Ari Sitas*

So I turned to my
Ancestors and asked?
Oh workers of the pen
What do I tell this august gathering today?
Ubaba Dhlomo I said,
What should the politicians know?

He said:

Remind them of the Valley of a Thousand Hills
For each hill you conquer there are another 999
Make sure when you scale the next one, there are
Only 998- make sure the seeds are planted

Remind them said ubaba Mazisi Kunene

They must carry the seed in their hands
And generate its power in their warmth
For the knowledge of life
Makes people wise
And those who are wise are generous

Tell them he said

There is a heritage of wisdom in the sky
The continuous succession of suns, and moons
The furtherance of love through the soul of the clouds
The fierce encounter of our truth and their truth
The earth, our earth falling slowly into sleep
Her eyes closing in the darkness of the rains
The vision of the green plant in her hand
The preponderance of the dreams of tomorrow
The magic awakening of our lives
The coalescence of the minds beyond the mountain
The long embrace, the tears of joy across the desert

Extract from the poem of Ari Sitas written for the Opening of the Provincial Parliament in Kwa Zulu Natal, S. Africa

*Ari Sitas is a writer, poet and sociologist. His poetry books include, Tropical Scars,(1989) Shoeshine and Piano (1991), Slave Trades (2000) and The RDP Poems (2004). He is the professor and Head of the School of Sociology and Social Studies of the University of KwaZulu Natal.

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