for takudzwa nandoro, my late friend.
the day you were murdered,
Your music parted with the innocence of your lips,
the sky gave the silence of your wings flight,
then you flew to meet your ancestors,
to a place where no one is a foreigner.
before they drew out breath from your flesh
with a pick-axe, you were a soldier with smiles
decorating the essence of your existence,
you were a star that shined even under the
brightness of hailstorm and strong winds,
your only crime was shona, freedom is another
word for death. your only crime was to be
not every scar is a sign of victory or a conquered revolution,
as you lie in your coffin scented with the
reek of death, yours are now a sign of defeat,
they are a reflection of an innocent body
maimed for a garden job you never stole.
They say memories don’t live like people
Do, that’s true, your voice always remember me,
The tea we used to drink together still smell the same,
in you died a thousand stories. it is true, there are many bodies
buried in the soul of every burnt soldier,
because every time i smile my mouth reeks
of my maimed zimbabwean innocent brothers and sisters.
i’ve heard an irate mob quenched their thirst
for justice by running deep in your skin with
a douse of petrol fuelled by their rage,
that’s after they’ve managed to dig
the shape of your stomach with a pick-axe,
you were burnt to ashes, we smoked the screams
of your flesh as your voice accompanied
the smoke, society wet their dryness for justice
with your blood, they watered our trauma with
your tears, even after many years, i still hear the seeds
of your growing silenced screaming voice torture
my soul, I still hear you screaming for help in a
community where foreigner is evidence enough
to justify the killing of a man.
death shall not be met with smiles, today i celebrate the
demise of a soldier, do not ask me how i know so
much about death, i do not know how men die,
but the gad who washes dead bodies said:
“death is never the same.” it was her who told me that
dreaming of a shadow taking a soul to a land yonder is
a bad sign, then the following morning,
after i had this dream, an enraged mob fed your
innocent soul sparks of fire until your
body was reduced to ashes.
what will i tell your parents when they come to fetch
your ashes home. rest in peace takudzwa.
Keketso Mashigo is a poet, co-author of an essays anthology: Shadows of Their Mothers, short story writer, and freelance journalist, he is a book reviewer at Pulp Review, translator and researcher at Oral History of South Africa. His work appeared on different publications. Keketso writes in the rural Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanaga, South Africa.