AND I WATCH IT IN MANDELA (by John Matshikiza)
It is not for the safety of silence
That this man has opened his arms to lead.
The strength of his words hangs in the air
As the strength in his eyes remains on the sky;
And the years of impatient waiting draw on
While this man burns to clear the smoke in the air.
There is fire here,
Which no prison
Can kill in this man;
And I watch it in Mandela.
© John Matshikiza (1974)
The poem ‘Invictus’ by William Henley inspired Nelson Mandela during his 27 years of incarceration in Robben Island .