The anthology “A Poem to the President: A Poem in 50 Parts” by Namibian poet Keamogetsi J. Molapong is a small but powerful book of social commentary on the state of Namibia 30 years after Independence.
While an “anthology” is usually a collection of poems by a poet or several poets, this one is a single poem divided into 50 parts, all parts having a different message but along the same theme of political disappointment, economic anguish and social despair.
Throughout the 50 parts of the poem the poet spills his heart out to the head of state, rhythmically and lyrically recounting to the president about the broken state of the nation.
The poet is telling President Hage Geingob about the shattered dreams of many people who thought and believed that an independent Namibia will be a place better than what their fathers and grandfathers had seen during their time under the yoke of colonialism.
The “poem” is simply the voice of the majority, young and old, who are languishing in poverty and are eating the dust of the land of the brave while the president and his advisors wine and dine in luxury at the expense of taxpayers.
If there is a single word that can describe this “poem to the president,” it is: revolutionary.
Below are just two parts of the 50 parts poem:
This evil service of the HaramBEE Shack
Is bloated and smells like the rotten feet
Of the colonial master, chosen by their god
Their breath smells like the stained armpits
Kept close during a quarter century of grabbing
Plundering and stealing, hiding and disbursing
Depleting the already limited capital resources
Taxed from the voters, the marginalized masses
Blinded by lies, promises, fed with hate, instigated
To march into the unknown, the ultimate poverty
Keep them hungry, Mr. President, starved
Tell them the mirage is after the elections.
I saw it with my own eyes, Mr. President
The status of education, infrastructure
In the remotest areas of this vast country
This land of the misplaced and downtrodden
Scattered like rejected dreams in the outskirts
Of a modern and highly selective democracy
Classrooms scorned by faded colours of hope
Children kept hostage in colonial military tents
And taught by teachers revolted by their fate
Inside the rural marginalization of education
These are realities, Mr. President, not fables
As narrated by your ministers and advisors.
While this book contains a brutally honest message meant for the President of Namibia, the message will make sense to anyone who is at all interested in the condition of the Namibian nation, especially in how this condition affects the people, the downtrodden, the voters, the marginalized masses.
So that the book, priced at only N$150, is a must-have.