‘M on his Chest’ (Tribute to Nelson Mandela) by IBé #SpokenWord

ibeM on his Chest is the latest offering from Guinean Spoken word poet IBé. In 2010, IBé was the recipient of the Midwestern Voices Award and is the author of “Bridge Across Atlantic”, a collection of poems about life between Africa and America.


M on His Chest

Freedom is black
He stands tall with a stoop
His eyes perpetually hiding from the sun
A constant reminder:
Some things are more important than life

Courage is a pronounced side parted hair
A full round face
And a gentle voice
Prepared to die for justice
Even when justice is hanging from a noose


Sacrifice is one letter, one visitor
Every six months, no pictures, no news
When five children and a nation cry
To have their father home

Compromise is unacceptable

Victory is a fist in the air
A slow walk with his wife by his side
Through a sea of black smiles
Black chants, black jubilation
300 years of black prayers answered

Grace is a guineafowl feather afro
Hard earned wrinkles,
Freckles, a thinning face
And a stubborn smile that refuses to dim

Love is 27 years in prison
Simply for asserting your humanity
Then come out and embrace your enemy

Reconciliation is a finger on the trigger
A murderer in your crosshair
And choosing instead to say
I forgive you, for you and I
Our destiny is forever entwined

Strength is 74 year old
Frail arms and hands
Made coarse by limestone
That kept a country from going asunder

Leadership is righting a ship
Long lost at sea
In turbulent weather
Through pirate infested waters
Without losing your cargo

If this ship was South Africa
Your name is Mandela
You may not have been a prophet
But you were a saint
By your own definition
A lot more
Because you did not only keep on trying
You delivered
A lot more
Than anybody thought possible


To learn more about IBé, you can visit his website at http://atlanticrock.com/ or click herefor his Facebook page.

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