Youth Dear South Africa with love - A Message To South Africa: We Are Going To Be Okay!
Photo Cred: Supplied | On File

But there’s a heart of an African that runs deeper, it’s unspoken and cannot be verbally explained.


Johannesburg, South Africa (27 June 2022) – Dear South Africa with love, a beautiful poem is going viral and was sent to us by a few Good Things Guy readers but it seems the poem’s words have been changed over the years, so we have the original.

Cyndi Barker, a writer born in southern Africa who has published many poems and even an autobiographical novel is going viral after writing a beautiful poem about how even though she is living abroad, Africa is etched in her heart.

The poem which has recently gone viral was originally written for Zimbabwe, and not South Africa.

“Just to set the record straight, my poem, An Open Letter to Zimbabwe was shared on my author page on 24th May 2017 and published in the UK in 2021 in my book African Yesterdays and Other Horizons.

In the last couple of months, it has come to my attention that my poem was adapted without permission by someone unknown and it’s this South African version that is now being shared which borrows from the original but the SA adaptations are not mine,” Cyndi Barker explains.

So here is the original, a poignant poem that still needs to be shared.

An Open Letter to Zimbabwe

I cried for you today
And as the tears spilled down my cheeks
I thought of your warm smiles and open hearts
and how your mothers nurtured me
And the countless children they carried on their backs
And the sunshine waking us up every morning
And how we thought we’d be in our home forever
Never imagining for one moment that we would leave of our own free will
Thinking we would be fine elsewhere
And that Africa and its politics could go and hang for all we cared
And we moved away and boarded planes
And we set up camp
In the far flung corners of the planet
And we barbecued our boerewors on Australian beaches
And celebrated American independence
And wrapped ourselves in blankets against the UK winters
Learnt new languages and borrowed other people’s cultures.
But one African will soon seek out another
No matter whether they be in the Netherlands or Ireland
And we soon flocked together
Made batches of sticky koek susters
And were frowned upon with our raw meat eating habits by our pasty faced neighbours and we too lost our colour
As our vibrancy slipped from us.
And we danced to our Johnny Clegg and Mango Groove to remember our happiness
and called each other Shamwari
And slipped into Sindebele and Shona greetings and “Yebo Gogos” and “tatendas” whenever we met
And we remembered we were not English, Australian or American
No, we are Africans and we are too far away from home
Far from the lazy Limpopo, the mozies in our ears at night
The black jacks in our socks and the goaway birds
The blue Fish Eagles and a Kariba Sunset
And we’re miles away from the mists of Nyanga
And the roar of the mighty Falls and the Zambezi that runs through us as blue as our veins
as surely as we ran through the rain forest as children
While our parents sipped G&Ts on the vast veranda of the Vic Falls Hotel
And our hearts wept and broke when we realised that our childhood was a lifetime away
And we are not okay after all
We were lost and we had left our souls in the land of our birth
Mine is in the Matopos somewhere among the balancing rocks.
How I wish we had something to celebrate as we turn another corner on the 18th day of April every year
But our visionaries are all gone
And our expectations have vanished in the dust of 37 years.
Now all we can do is pray for deliverance
And hope our memories last long enough for us to share them with our children
Who will never know the inheritance we wanted to pass on to them.
This will only live on in our stories and faded photographs
And as we wipe away those tears
And wonderful years
We give thanks for those golden savannah summers in the burnt bushveld
For the love of a million mothers and for fathers who threw us up on their shoulders and pushed us in wheel barrows
And our childhood companions,
brothers and sisters from different mothers who we knew before we knew what different colours we were.
Ngiyabonga, Tatenda from all your children
We are who we are
because of you gave us a happy and loved childhood
And in our dreams we return
Every night and walk where our foot prints have blown away
Although we are no longer there
You reside in our hearts, in our minds
In our identity
For how can a child forget their parent?
I pray for the starving children
And the mothers with AIDS
And the fathers who cannot save their babies dying in their arms
I will never stop longing for peace in Zimbabwe
And hoping for better days to come.
I cannot forget
I curse my inability to change things
And despise myself for running away
But I had my own selfish reasons
And futures other than my own to consider
I haven’t lost my way
I’ve just mislaid the map
Perhaps some day too I will return
For nothing else other than to walk the streets of my hometown
But this is one of the greatest burdens the human heart carries
As every exile knows.

Sources: Cindi Barker
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

1 comment

  1. Hi!
    Thank you for putting things right.
    Cyndi became my friend because I read her poems. Poetry rushes out out of her heart like a cataract. She never forgot one instant of her wild childhood and adolescence in the Matopos, and her experience of being born and living in Zimbabwe is a lost treasure she retrieves every single minute of her life. Having lived 15 years in South Africa, and visited Zimbabwe twice, I understand her.
    May these wonderful people carry on!
    Annick Garache

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