Miriam Makeba- Mama Africa, Warrior Woman, Dead at 76- Come, and Let Us Lay Out the Lappas





On Hearing That Mama Africa Is Dead: A Poem for Miriam Makeba

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley (copyright)

Miriam Makeba- Mama Africa, Warrior Woman, thunder,
before the earth knew thunder.

Mama Africa, dead today, before the warrior child
who came out of years of fighting had time to pick up the gourd.
Mother Africa, you whose tears some of us grew to weep

for before we knew the meaning of tears. Mama Africa,
Thunder Woman, Town Crier, the stone at the edge
at the outskirts of South Africa’ flames

Wailing for Africa before our feet found the footing
that only the warrior woman knows how to walk.

Mother Africa, Miriam Makeba, I tell you, tears alone
are insufficient to quench the fire you breathed on us
for decades, before I knew how to see this world.

Mama Africa, all the ancestors have now lined up
at the gates with kola nuts to welcome you home where
only the brave can sit and relive.

Mama, did you go with news of all the things, happening?
Maybe, at your bedside, someone whispered to you
what the town crier came to say.

Maybe someone told you that today, today, in America,
one of your sons has been given the stool to sit on.

Maybe someone whispered to you as you journeyed beyond
that all the dreams you cried so hard for are now here with us
and that it is not only South Africa you have saved.

Maybe, the ancestors you join will tell you there is now
a new day. Maybe you knew before we knew, our time
has come. Mama Africa, we love you.

Mama Africa, your children now stand at the gate
waiting with wreaths to usher you homeward.
Mama Africa, we love you!



One Response to “Miriam Makeba- Mama Africa, Warrior Woman, Dead at 76- Come, and Let Us Lay Out the Lappas”

  1. Vick Allan Says:

    I had to read this here. I didn’t know a lot, but I learned.

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