Ode to Nelson Mandela
…Sublime Rolihlahla of South Africa
By Apolinario Villalobos
July 18, 1918 – lucky day for South Africa
For this day saw the birth of Rolihlahla
Later given a Christian name, Nelson
When he began his studies, as a custom.
Toiling for survival as a fatherless child
He dreamed of one day, be part of struggle –
For freedom… aspired, desired by his people
Though he knew that such wish is not simple.
His journey through the portals of knowledge
Were not as fortunate, for despite two attempts
To have a college degree, he failed to achieve
But for such dream, he fearlessly persevered.
Graduated with Ll.B, although in absentia –
In 1989, thanks to University of South Africa
Making it on his last months of imprisonment
That filled his heart with intense sentiment.
Life in a country of strife far from being free
Is not what Nelson wanted, but one with unity
His effort brought him to prison not only once
But he vowed to fight on, whatever the chance.
Never did he accept the bribe of three offers-
Setting him free but with binding conditions
Such an insincere gesture, for him is just trash –
That only a man without honor may readily grasp.
1991 saw him as ANC President that he deserved
And in 1993, given Nobel Prize with de Klerk jointly
A year after, 27th of April, casting his first vote ever –
Such achievements, no longer made Nelson wonder.
Inaugurated as South Africa’s first elected President
It was in May 10, 1992, under the shadow of democracy
And true to his promise, stepped down after his term
It was in 1999, feeling fulfilled in achieving his dream.
A humble inspiration to the trampled and exploited
Nelson Mandela exemplified honesty and sincerity
With which he fought for equal opportunity and unity –
And, the achieved harmony for his people
Will always be his priceless legacy.