ART CHECK

Elegy to hayati Rais Magufuli

He is among the stouter sons of Africa

In Summary

• A poetic tribute to the late Tanzanian President

The late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli.
The late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli.
Image: HANDOUT

John Pombe Magufuli

1959 – 2021

Tribute by Wanjohi wa Makokha

 

I.

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!

 

II.

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:

 

III.

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

Joseph Magufuli.

 

I see

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.

 

I see

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!

 

  1.  

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

At dawn.

 

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

TANZANIA!

 

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!