22 Jun 2018

 

“Meditation Of A Servant”, By A Juba Poet Of 1970s

"Change blows no horn… It comes unannounced To take greedy man by the throat! To where will the master run then?"

By Sirr Anai Kelueljang*

 
Well, As a servant I have gained much experience In the way people live, In fact my master calls me ‘a store of stories’. Besides, I toil Spending sleepless nights To keep my master live good life I have done my duty well.
 
But unfortunately My master is a strange person Who says he knows everything Because he is educated… To me he says: You are a nonentity Only fit to be a servant all your life Because you are not educated; (As if reading and writing words Were the only things Which can make a person most useful Being in society). I am twice older than my master, Yet He thinks he knows better…But what does he really know Which I do not know? I have witnessed whiteman’s rule here, I have also fought whiteman to leave us free…My master only saw his departure! And when I try to talk to my master about the past He says there is no time To listen to stories, Time is money…Then he hurries away for appointments.
 
Oh, my limbs! My aching limbs! What is the matter now… Have I reached the verge of collapse Because I am overworked, Underfed, humiliated and reduced To the level of dust?
 
But this is not the end, Change is inevitable in this society… And I must live to witness the arrival of the glorious dawn.
 
Though I have toiled and toiled To make my master live comfortable life He is not grateful, He takes my services for granted! But for how long must I endure? Not very long Since I feel very bad about it…It is time I speak out Before I thin away…Before I fade into oblivion; Servitude Signifies no brotherhood!
 
Stop it! You selfish master! Stop that awful noise! The venom of your tongue Is a terrible fire…Your voice is devil’s yell It pierces my soul like gong’s* thorns I can’t tolerate it, And what I will do Is talk, Talk from within my heart words of scorn…I will condemn your corruption Your inhumanity Your dictatorship…In will refer to detail In your everyday’s life, I cannot remain true To those promises I pawned When you deceived me we were brothers, I cannot trust you any more… You always want me to call you ‘master’, Or ‘your excellency’, And not ‘brother’. Is this not strange? Did we fight for freedom just to make you Another colonialist?
 
I remember The promise you made to the people, You promised justice Freedom of speech And speedy economic progress; That time you were true son of the people You swore to be a real democrat And to restore our lost dignity…You resigned your well-paid job And joined the strugglers ranks To fight in defence Of our inalienable rights. But now here you are Sitting idle In your air-conditioned and carpeted office, Just only giving orders Which you call decree numbers so and so And forgetting that Economic progress is born out of sweat, The working man’s sweat. You don’t even make proper plans No useful decisions To curtail exploitation; Practical deed is better than myriad of words…
 
What do I hear? Do I hear your murmur That I am an illiterate? Are you proud of your degree in Economics (or is it Law)? That trashy paper Which makes the possessor To be both Administrative and Professional? But Such papers never till Such papers never sow seeds Such papers never plan production They only make you a researcher They only make you look down on manual work They only make you a white collar job man. But you just sit to ape The whiteman’s ways of ruling, Did we fight to remove the oppressor For you to jump into his slippers?
 
You say That people must leave towns To live in villages Because They cause problem to the government. You say People must build mud-huts And cultivate the land with traditional tools, But you live in iron-roofed house And a tractor ploughs your farm while you sit shouting at ploughman…
 
You praise indigenous culture And say People must cook with mud-made pots, But what about modern ways of cooking? Look how you live comfortably With your wife and children! Your wife uses modern cooking utensils, She does not even sit near the fire The servants do the cooking While she sits in a mattress Like whiteman’s wife!
 
People are always crying, They are hungry. But you have enough ‘dura’* To feed your household. Your children are fat Because they are well-fed Well-clothed Well-cared for medically By family doctor! But when the poor masses unite To fight for survival Will the master’s stomach not ach?
 
Change blows no horn… It comes unannounced To take greedy man by the throat! To where will the master run then?
 
When the poor masses rise Under the deafening sound of drums, They will boldly proclaim they are socialists And African revolutionaries…
 
And the master shall be baffle!
 
*From ‘The Myth of Freedom’ and other poems, by Sirr Anai Kelueljang.

 

Published and printed in Juba by Nile Printing Press in 1979 under the auspices of the Department of Culture.   

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13/07/2017, 8:24 AM
 - Posted by Jacob Akol

Sirr Anai Kelueljang was Editor-in-Chief of 'Heritage', an English language weekly in Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan. Also of Nile Mirror in Juba. Under the previous military regime (1969 -85) he was imprisoned four times without trial for his outspoken articles. He died in London in 1999 and was buried in Khartoum.

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