Chants of Freedom: Poems Written in Exile
Mathews Phosa developed his love for poetry as a young boy growing up in rural Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Mostly written while in exile as the commander of an MK unit, Chants of Freedom vividly recreates the feelings of anger, defiance, frustration, shame, pain and ultimately hope that characterised the exiles’ experience of the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa. Writing in a lyrical style, Phosa addresses such themes as oppression, violence, death and hatred, and recalls the atrocities and tragedies of the migrant-labour system, the murders of innocent children, the detentions without trial, the bannings and the state-sanctioned executions that characterised the apartheid era. He recalls the influences on his life, from his grandparents to struggle leaders, and pays tribute to the role played by women and the youth in the liberation struggle. He celebrates the victory over apartheid and eulogises all those who contributed to the fight for democracy, black and white. Chants of Freedom provides raw, powerful and unprecedented insight into the consciousness of a freedom fighter, and ultimately reveals his humanity.
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Afrikaans apartheid Azanian back i feel beautiful birth bleeding born hau bullets bury carols crucified Chants of Freedom chew and chew concern deep democracy Dreamland dum–dum–dum earth enemy exile expectant bachelor faces Freedom Charter Gold South Africa grandfather grrrr-grrrr ta-ta-ta guilty heaven i’ve James Matthews jump and jump killed Matthew Goniwe land Let go Namibia Let me scratch leya mmona Limpopo Lord maburu yoo-yoo sa’mma mama doesn’t know Mandela Mathews Phosa migrant labourers mothers Negative education ntlanya old James pain paletse peace people’s Plunged in hell poems poetry police political activists pooh racists radio potato ride home scratch my back scream and scream secret grave sellout silent sing our carols Slovo sorry to ask soul South Africa belongs Standing ajar swear Tambo Tears of blood there’s Tjeketjeke traitor Transvaal today’s turning and turning victory viva comrade want to scratch winter of discontent wound yoo Sa'mma yoo-yoo sa’mma 2x