Elegy by Mazisi Kunene

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O Mzingeli son of the illustrious clans

You whose beauty spreads across the Tukela estuary

Your memory haunts like two eagles

We have come to the ceremonial ruins

We come to mourn the bleeding sun

We are the children of Ndungunya of the Dlamini clan

They whose grief strikes fear over the earth

We carry the long mirrors in the afternoon

Recasting time’s play past infinite night.

O great departed ancestors

You promised us immortal life with immortal joys

But how you deceived us!

We invited the ugly salamander

To keep watch over a thousand years with a thousand sorrows

She watched to the far end of the sky

Sometimes terrorized by the feet of departed men

One day the furious storms

One day from the dark cyclone

One day in the afternoon

We gazed into a barren desert

Listening to the tremendous voices in the horizon

And loved again in the epics

And loved incestuous love!

We count a million

Strewn in the dust of ruined capitals

The bull tramples us on an anthill

We are late in our birth

Accumulating violent voices

Made from the lion’s death

You whose love comes from the stars

Have mercy on us!

Give us the crown of thunder

That our grief may overhang the earth

O we are naked at the great streams

Wanderers greet us no more…

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