Sitaomboleza
(I will not mourn)

Rafiki yangu, kamaradi Henry Mapolu
Sijaja kukuzika
Sijaja kukuaga
Sitaomboleza
Sitabubujika

Nimekuja na marafiki zetu
Na makamaradi wetu
Kupokea mchango wako
Kujikumbusha mfano wako
Ewe kamaradi!
Unatukumbusha mengi ya usafi, sio ya ufisadi

Uhongo wa kisiasa uliukata,
Hukuenda wilayani
Udisi wa Mzee Ruksa haukufarijisha,
Ukauficha ukayani
Aha! hili halikuwa geni kwako
Kwani ulijiuzulu Uzuoni,
Ukaenda Urafikini

Mwito wako kuinua uelewa wa proletari
Hukujali kutunikiwa uzamili wa profesari
Ulituachia mabepari-chipukizi
Wakicheza ngoma ya ulimbikizi

Tumefika kukuenzi
Kwa fikra na mawazo yako
Kwa mtazamo na msimamo wako
Na weledi usiotetereka
Uaminifu usiopingika

Wapo kina Adamu na Zakia
‘Bakileki na Bgoya
Karimu na ukarimu wake
Na Kashiwaki namuona pake

Wapo pia Joe na Jenerali
Sio wa wanajeshi
Wa waandishi-wacheshi
Sitaki niwasahau Mwami na mwenzie Masanja
Eti wakijidai wanasosolojia viranja

Qorro wa Karatu
Amefuatana na Msoma Salumu
Aliyekuwa anatusalimu
‘Venceramos! A luta continua’
Ndio kamaradi: A luta continua.

Amekuja pia Rameshi
Vijana wakimtania ‘wa Bangladeshi’
Na mwandishi mwenzio Nizari
Aishie nchi-kavu Kariakoni
Akijitambulisha orijino wa nchi-Visiwani

Namuona mheshimiwa Liundi, balozi
Akipambana na mawimbi ya machozi
Na Mzee Butiku amekaa majanini
Unakumbuka tulivyomsumbua ujanani?

Nimemuona rafiki yako wa siku zile za Kivukoni
Mzee wetu, mzee Ngombale wa Kiliwani
Alikuwa anakuulizia juzijuzi
Nipashe za Kamaradi Henry asiye na upuuzi

Sikuwa na ujasiri wa kumkumbushia
Barua yako ya wazi ulomrushia
Uonjo mkali wa kalamu yako katili
‘Ewe kamaradi wangu wa prolitari
Usikubali kupigwa teke na siasa za jemadari ‘

Kamwe sitosahau unyekekevu na utulivu wako
Kiburi uliepuka kama tauni, jazba zilikuwa geni kwako
Nilipotunga hadithi ya Amina na kijana mwanafalsafa
Nilikuwa nakuwazia wewe na usawa wa yako falsafa

Shati nje ya suruali, na ndara za kanda mbili
Ukiishi katika risachi fleti namba mbili
Yenye kuta pasi picha wala pambo
Isipokuwa Mzee Maksi na madevu yake ya majigambo

Ndugu yangu, rafiki yangu, Kamaradi Henry – mbele sitaenda
Nakuachie salamu za kamaradi chipukizi Sabatho Nyamsenda:
‘Afrika imepoteza mmoja wa makamanda muhimu
katika vita dhidi ya mfumo huu dhalimu …’

~~~

I will not mourn

My friend, Comrade Henry Mapolu[1]
I haven’t come to bury you
I haven’t come to say farewell to you
I will not bewail
I will not howl

I am here with our friends
Our comrades
To receive your contributions
To reminesce your exemplar
O comrade!
You remind us of uprightess, not corruptiveness

You turned your back to political bribes
Did not go to the district
Mzee Ruksa’s[2] commissionership did not comfort you,
You rooted it in the household
Aha! This was not new to you
For you had left academia,
for the Friendship Mill[3]

To conscientise the proletariat was your call
You ignored the master professorial call
You left us with the emerging nouveau-riche
Dancing to the tune of accumulating riches

We are here to honour you
For your thoughts and ideas
For your stance and views
Unwavering professionalism
Unquestionable integrity

Present and correct are Adam and Zakia
Mbakileki and Bgoya
Generous Karim
And correctly present I see Kashiwaki

Also present are Joe and Jenerali
Not of the army; simply Jenerali
Of comedic-journalists.
I do not want to forget Mwami and his brother Masanja
Supposedly leading sociologists back then

Qorro from Karatu
Together with Msoma Salum
Who offered us that greeting
‘Venceramos! A luta continua’
Yes Comrade: A luta continua.

Also present is Ramesh
Teased by the youth as the one ‘from Bangladesh’
And your fellow writer Nizar
From the arid land of Kariakoo
Introduces himself as originally from island-countries

I see honourabe Liundi, the ambassador
Holding back waves of tears
And mzee Butiku[4] sitting on the grass
Remember how we tormented him in our youth?

I see your friend from those days at Kivukoni
Our elder, Mzee Ngombale of Kilwa
Just the other day he enquired about you,
‘Tell me of the no-nonsense Comrade Henry’

I was not brave enough to remind him
Of the open letter you fired him
Giving him the bitter taste of your brutal pen
‘O my comrade of the proletariat
Do not accept the political kicks of the marshal’

I shall never forget your humility and serenity
You avoided arrogance like the plague, anger was foreign to you
When I wrote the story of Amina and the young philosopher
It was you I had in mind, and your just philosophy

Shirt never tucked into pants, and sandals were flip flops
You lived in the research flat number two
Whose walls were bare of any décor
Apart from Mzee Marx with his powerful beard

My brother, my friend, Comrade Mapolu – I shan’t go on, no more
I leave with you greetings from the young comrade Sabatho Nyamsenda:
‘Africa has lost one of its important commandants
in the struggle against this oppressive system…’

February 2, 2011


  1. Farewell to long time friend and comrade. The names in the poem are of friends who were at the University of Dar es Salaam in the 1960s and ‘70s
  2. Reference to the second phase president Ali Hassan Mwinyi who opened the doors of trade by initiating trade liberalization. Although this was a temporary measure to relieve the crisis in the shortage of goods, many embraced this relief and named him Mzee Rukhsa – rukhsa means ‘permission’, he gave them the freedom, the permission, to import consumer and capital goods and hence expand businesses.
  3. Friendship Textile Mill where Mapolu went to work after resigning from his academic job at the University.
  4. Nyerere’s private secretary at that time.

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Poems for the Penniless Copyright © 2019 by Issa G Shivji. All Rights Reserved.

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