Subscribe: by Email | in Reader

The Birth of Shaka -- Oswald Mtshali

Guest poem sent in by David McKelvie
(Poem #1257) The Birth of Shaka
 His baby cry
 was of a cub
 tearing the neck
 of the lioness
 because he was fatherless.

 The gods
 boiled his blood
 in a clay pot of passion
 to course in his veins.

 His heart was shaped into an ox shield
 to foil every foe.

 Ancestors forged
 his muscles into
 thongs as tough
 as water bark
 and nerves
 as sharp as
 syringa thorns.

 His eyes were lanterns
 that shone from the dark valleys of Zululand
 to see white swallows
 coming across the sea.
 His cry to two assassin brothers:

 "Lo! you can kill me
 but you'll never rule this land!"
-- Oswald Mtshali
I found this poem in The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry. Mtshali is a
South African poet.  I know very little about him, only what the small
biography in the anthology says: born in Natal, South Africa in 1940,
published his first collection in the early 1970's.

I've long had an interest in South Africa because I spent my childhood there
in the 80's. As a white Scottish boy there I was aware of discrimination:
white only benches in parks, black only buses, my parent's identity cards
with lists of various racial types, the gigantic difference in social
conditions. One ridiculous example (almost laughable if it weren't so
shocking) is when a white family ordered their daughter out of a swimming
pool because a black girl got in... One thing I couldn't know, however, was
the anger and rage felt by many black people. This poem gives some sense of
that.

Shaka was a Zulu chief of the 19th Century who built a giant empire in
Southern Africa. He became known in Europe as the Black Napoleon. A lot of
myth and folklore has surrounded his life and that's what this poem builds
on. Shaka was killed by his half brothers. The Zulu empire crumbled soon
after when the British Army turned their attentions to them.

David

70 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Anonymous said...

This poem is not about segregation, it is about the life and death of King Shaka -- A black South African

Anonymous said...

WELL SAID ABOUT OUR LATE KING

Anonymous said...

Why does everything "African" have to come back to segration? Its pathetic. Yes the whites wronged the black people but bringing it up again again? Really!How will things heal if everythingis brought up again and again! Please whoever wrote the piece about segration catch a wake up and realise we as a nation are trying to move on.

Generic Viagra said...

Very good poem I like it because it's totally different it is like taking a travel around the Galaxy because it's a different poem, I mean I'm trying to compare what you wrote with my words in here.

olivia said...

for xst,s sake i love the poem bt what is it about

Ellen said...

Write the bloody thing clearly

Yende said...

To that idiot who posted about forgetting about apartheid.You should know that you cant run away from the past.you can better the past but you can never change it-stop being ignorant and learn something

Anonymous said...

hahahahahahahhahahahaha yourl ous are pusses

Anonymous said...

This poem is very impressing to me

Anonymous said...

This poem is NOT about apartheid and how the white people discriminated against the black people!! It's about a Zulu king that warned his brother( that killed him)that the the land will be taken over by people from europe. the zulu king Shaka knew that the white people will take over their country. Andvtht they didn't stand a chance against them.

Anonymous said...

He was one of de greatest

Anonymous said...

well said

Anonymous said...

I have this english book from school it has this poem I must say it cool. So it has this questions they are so so hard I realy don't even understan I really need help

wordpress diseño web said...

Your style is so unique compared to many other people. Thank you for publishing when you have the opportunity,Guess I will just make this bookmarked.

Anonymous said...

i cn help u dear to answer the questions abt birth of shaka poem

Anonymous said...

the birth of shaka was awesome

Anonymous said...

shaka's birth predicts his reign as he was conquered by all the sufferings so actually he wanted every to feel the pinch

Anonymous said...

Mtshali rocks 100%

William Smith said...

Thanks for the sharing, this blog is very interesting. Hotel and Travel Representative | HOTEL AND TRAVEL SERVICES | It's very informative and very knowledgeable blog.

Michael Syaukas said...

Nice Post, Thanks for your very useful information... I will bookmark for next reference

Anonymous said...

good
Kelamin Laki-laki Mengeluarkan Nanah
Kelamin Laki-laki yang Mengeluarkan Nanah
Kelamin Mengeluarkan Nanah
pengobatan Kelamin Laki-laki Mengeluarkan Nanah
obat Kelamin Mengeluarkan Nanah
Kelamin Wanita Mengeluarkan Nanah
Kelamin Mengeluarkan Nanah
pengobatan Kelamin Wanita Mengeluarkan Nanah
Kelamin Wanita keluar Nanah
Kemaluan Wanita Mengeluarkan Nanah
Kelamin Perempuan Mengeluarkan Nanah
Kelamin Mengeluarkan Nanah
Kelamin wanita Mengeluarkan Nanah
obat Kelamin Mengeluarkan Nanah
pengobatan Kelamin Mengeluarkan Nanah
obat penyakit kutil kelamin tanpa operasi
obat penyakit kutil kelamin yang tanpa operasi
obat penyakit kutil kelamin
pengobatan penyakit kutil kelamin
obat kutil kelamin
Obat Alami Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
pengobatan Alami Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Alami Penyakit Kutil Kelamin
Obat Alami Penyakit Kutil
Obat Herbal Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Herbal Penyakit Kutil Kelamin
Obat Herbal Penyakit Kutil
Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin
Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Tradisional Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Tradisional untuk Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Tradisional Penyakit Kutil Kelamin
Obat Tradisional Penyakit Kutil Kelamin
Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Alternatif Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Alternatif Penyakit Kutil Kelamin
Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin
Obat Alternatif Penyakit Kutil
Jual Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Jual Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin
Jual Obat untuk Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Jual Obat Kutil Kelamin
Jual Obat ampuh Penyakit Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi

Obat Herbal said...

Seberat apapun beban masalah yang kamu hadapi saat ini, percayalah bahwa semua itu tidak pernah melebihi batas kemampuan kamu.

Post a Comment