From the Archives: "Freedom Train" by Outspoken


Still inside the station waiting on the freedom train
Its inspector came to check on our tickets if we had paid
Finally my people shall be home amongst their relatives and peers
They could hardly wait to see the city’s horizon slowly disappear into the distance
It was one train with many classes the luxurious was the first,
Then came the middle class citizens and then the economy- that is the worst
Not because of its occupants but mainly their conditions
Where they were packed like animals, sweating like the steam engines!
“All aboard!” that was freedoms last call
The destination was democracy, equality for all, but a few
The few being the masses in the last
That were disposable to benefit the upper class
“Tickets! Tickets please! Amai you did not pay!
Do you think you are going to get a free ride on the freedom train?”
He can clearly see she is sick and in need of urgent assistance
“Amai, I am not a doctor, all I want from you is your ticket!’
So another passenger dies for she could not afford
The medication for her ailments, so she succumbed to her sores
Across the masses gathered was a hovering of pain
Another one of us departed from the freedom train
Mountains rolled and valleys passed the few that had the view
Aboard this runaway train of passengers without a crew, but the inspector
They huddled praying justice would prevail
But lived within the laws of physics, so they were destined to derail
A pregnant mother squirmed as her water broke in panick
Hope was her unborn daughter but her birth was none but tragic
She only saw the light of day minutes before the crash
Sucked back into a darkness with radiance everlasting
Everyday the death toll rises from the freedom trains wreckage
That never saw democracy but destined us to heaven
Through a passage of pain and tribulation attached
That only seems to affect those of us stuck in economy class
If only the inspector started checking on the drivers
There wouldn’t be this ugly scene of checking on survivors
18 April 1980 was the day we left the station
Aboard the freedom train, but still haven’t reached our destination
… Freedom!

Old poems at OGOV don't die, but live on in our archives! Every once in a while we will dust one off for our newer readers to enjoy. "Freedom Train" was orginally published on OGOV on November 28th, 2009.

2 comments:

LS said...

The old African system of governing by consensus itself never worked. It was too dependent on a privileged few who insulated themselves against criticism by making claims to a divine mandate. They made it taboo to criticise them.

Apart from the overwhelming advantages the West had over us with its technology, our traditional rulers were also partly responsible for the catastrophic response of Africans to the West, from the Bond of 1844. They were the ones who marched us off wholesale into colonial rule. There was no one to defend them against the West.

When Asante fell in 1901, one of the reasons Yaa Asantewaa was able to mount an uprising was because her Asona clan had a habit of going against the men of Kumase(Oyoko clan), often with severe consequences, including the loss of Ejusi stool lands. I believe it had something to do with Ejisuhene Doku Pim who sacrificed himself before the battle of Feyiase(1701), and Yaa Asantewaa's plp always felt that the Kumase royals did not honour the oath made by Osei Tutu to their ancestor. Anyway one could say that the back and forth bickering indirectly prepared Yaa Asantewaa for her later role (but i could be wrong). Our societes need space for leaders, even those with opposing voices to develop, and when such avenues are cut off, there won't be any to speak for us should the need arise.

I suppose democracy, like any system of government is imperfect. Communism fell, at least in Europe. The Chinese would be fine so long as their double digit growth keeps on, and then their rulers might have to resort to Tiananmen style crackdowns to keep an already restive population in place. It has taken the global financial crisis for European social democracies and the more rampant American capitalism to realise that Keynes never did have all the answers.

No do we!

If we look back to the generation of Africa's philosopher-kings - Nkrumah, Nyerere, Kenyatta, Senghor etc. we realise that too many of their isms were just shades of Marxism dressed up as Nkrumahism, Ujamaa etc. any and all of which called back to an African communalism, but which left the individual out.

The spirit of Rameses still lives on in our leaders, and We The People, in many ways, are required to labour to build the Great Pyramid, so the Pharaoh can proceed into the underworld. We ourselves cannot afford to pay for our mummification, and if we're lucky, might be buried with canopic jars in the great Egyptian sand. This is our Kemet.

Cheers

JABULANI MZINYATHI said...

the freedom train became the gravy train
a select few having all the succulence
their bellies full
their pantries full to the brim
their trash cans full too
the down trodden feeding there from
the derailing of the freedom train!