• A poetic tribute to the late Tanzanian President
John Pombe Magufuli
1959 – 2021
Tribute by Wanjohi wa Makokha
I’m Wanjohi the second son of Makokha.
I am the one from mighty Mount Elgon
Whose blood runs in the veins of history
To great lands at the very heart of Africa
I am the lineage of fire, furnace and steel
My spine is made of iron and my spirit of
Repetitions. Am I not the child of Makokha?
I am the one who is named after the father
Of his mother Wanjohi wa Wambui wa Wanjohi;
the one who stood by Kimathi wa Waciuri
at his time of need; the one who spent. Wanjohi:
A portion of his age and youth sitting in the sun
In British detention camps in Manyani and Hola
Yes. I am Wanjohi. I am Makokha. I am the
fusion of the blood of war, iron, and mountains
Rising like extended hands of Kenya;
Mount Elgon to the West: Mount Kenya to the East
I am Wanjohi wa Makokha, the tongue of steel!
I stand today here in the land of my ancestors
Facing South. I see the peak of the Kilimanjaro
I see the head of the continent is white and old
I see the wisdom of the founders of this nation
That hosts the head of the continent I see it all
I see the clouds gathered about the Kilimanjaro
I stand with my hands, my arms with esipokoto
Bangles. Amulets. Forged from Elephant bones
Insignia of the right to speak even to Death too!
The fly whisk made from the tail of the lead bull
Whistles in the air right to left I salute the South
I stare southerly and I see lightning light heaven
As the skies tear up into hailstorms of tears see
As the new thunder rocks the vastness of Africa
As the world breaks down into a deluge of tears
I lift my face towards the sky cemetery and see:
Ancestors line up in ethereal light in two rows
Viva viva Africa of our founders they sing sing
Long live Afrika. Mungu Ibariki Afrika.
I wipe my tears and I see the peak of Kilimanjaro
is still tall and with grey hairs.
I keep weeping no more.
I shout at my highest ever pitch
since birth 42 years ago, long live Africa.
Long live Afrika. Long live John Pombe
John in the great court up on high of Ubuntu.
He is in good company now. He rests in peace
I see him smiling at Sankara. I observe him closely
as he waves at Samora. And is that Rawlings who
beckons him towards the rest?
I see Kerekou of Benin greet Pombe with Biko
It is the same room where Lumumba sings too
Long live Africa. Mungu Ibariki Afrika ya mizimu
I behold pats of Nasser on the back of Magufuli.
Sekou Toure of the land of Sundiata rise up see
He is same in frame the spine of John Magufuli
I see Biko halt whispers to Selassie to hear now
The firm footfall of a new arrival from Tanzania
Nyerere calls Mkapa to attention halting hymns
To salute the third Christian leader of the C.C.M
In the spectacles of shining spectre that is this reborn
John Pombe Joseph Magufuli....
I see endless shimmering splendours of our Africanity.
John, you are not alone
You are the new arrivant in the great compound
Pombe, you put your heart down for the masses
Of vast Tanzania to step on to higher ideals
Joseph, you brought a light of the past to Africa
In Kiswahili of the poets you were the echo
Magufuli, you were the echo of those you meet
Now in the celestial court of eternal memory!!!
I stand here and I see you there
Listen Rais. I stand here my flywhisk raised
I hear your land, elevate its pitch with your spirit
Listen great Leader! Listen to Tanzania in elegy!
When in the midst of the whispering whirlwinds
The world around you broken of spine, my sons
Remember that the great light breaks long night
You could be standing at the extremest frontier
Of the massive land of hope, lost without hopes
Remember, nights long are but end in day lights
Listen! You are among the stouter sons of Africa
Stoutest is Abyssinian Addis Ababa, but you too are
A light of the world of Blacks, here and beyond!
Dust your fallen fly whisk, elevate your conches!
And in the deafening dirge of now,
in a time, full of fright and dark lights,
face olden Kilimanjaro!
Behold the sage head, of the roof our continent
Whites of hairs, upon its unbowed peak
And…. shout in accord as echoes of Magufuli:
Mungu Ibariki Afrika! Ibariki Tanzania
Na Watoto wake Wabariki Kama huyu:
Hayati John. Pombe. Joseph. MAGUFULI!