In Passing.
Article Type: Poem
Author: Scott, L.E.
Pub Date: 12/01/2010
Publication: Name: Journal of Pan African Studies Publisher: Journal of Pan African Studies Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Journal of Pan African Studies ISSN: 0888-6601
Issue: Date: Dec, 2010 Source Volume: 4 Source Issue: 2
Accession Number: 306754410
Full Text: --L. E. Scott

Aotearoa/New Zealand
In Passing
(for Gwendolyn Brooks)

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you in South Africa's Soweto
   with the children of Nelson Mandela
   the refrain of the poem--
   apartheid, apartheid, apartheid is over
   the work has just begun
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you in Zimbabwe's Harare
   at Afrika Unity Square with the children of Robert Mugabe
   the refrain of the poem
   land reform, land reform, long overdue
   political oppression, drunk on power, raped by corruption
   Mr. President, this is unclean water
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you in Kenya's Nairobi
   at the Maasai Tuesday market
   with the children of Kenyatta
   the refrain of the poem--
   Daniel Toroitich arap Moi
   so many years, so many years, way too long
   do not bathe Kenya again in such unclean water
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you in the green killing fields of Rwanda
   with the children of the dead, Hutu and Tutsi alike
   the refrain of the poem Mr.
   President, Mr. President
   do not feed tribalism with the blood of brother and sister
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you in the coup-infested land of Nigeria
   where tribalism, witchcraft, religion, corruption
   are dancing with mouths full of human blood
   the refrain of the poem
   in the words of Marvin Gaye
   Brother, brother, brother
   There's far too many of you dying
   Tell me what's going on
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you standing between the armies
   of Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe
   in Kabila's Democratic Republic of Congo
   the sins of the fathers--
   at the feet of the people
   were the photographs of Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent Kabila
   diamonds cannot save the greedy for ever
   the refrain of the poem--
   where, beloved Afrika, are the children of Patrice Lumumba
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you crossing the waters from Zanzibar
   walking hand in hand in Dar es Salaam
   with Tanzania's sweetest Julius Nyerere
   the refrain of the poem--
   in Nyerere's words
   If it is in your power
   Do not let any child suffer in this land
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you at Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park
   and then at W.E.B. du Bois' grave
   tall men
   big shadows
   I saw you again in Ghana
   on the coast at the slave forts
   the refrain of the poem--
   beyond "the door of no return"
   the children of those who passed here
   have returned with their souls
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you walking from Timbuktu
   with the women of the desert
   dressed in indigo blueblack
   arriving at the markets of Bamako
   Djenne
   Mopti
   the refrain of the poem--
   they say this land is poorest of all
   yet
   we dressed the gods in gold and silver
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness

   Gwen
   in passing
   I saw you on a full moon night in Blackest Afrika
   you were standing tall
   at the last village
   all the ancestors had gathered
   you were going home
   the refrain of the poem--
   Afrika, Afrika, Afrika
   you are more than fifty strong
   Black leaders, Black leaders,
   stay on the course of righteousness
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