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Aboard the freedom train
June 2008

View this piece on the Poetry International website


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Still inside the station waiting on the freedom train,
Its inspector came to check on our tickets - if we had paid.
Finally, my people shall be home amongst their relatives and peers,
They could hardly wait to see the city's horizon slowly disappear into the distance,
It was one train with different classes, the luxurious was the first,
Then came the middle-class citizens, then the economy - that's the worst
Not because of its occupants but mainly their conditions,
Where they were packed like animals, sweating like the steaming engines.
"All aboard!" That was freedom's last call
The destination was DEMOCRACY, equality for all but a few,
The few being the masses in the last
That were disposable to benefit the upper-class
"Tickets... tickets please, ambuya1 you did not pay!
Do you think you are going to get a FREE ride on the FREEDOM TRAIN?"
He can see she's clearly sick, in need of some urgent assistance
"Amai!2 I'm not a doctor, all I want from you is your ticket!"
So another passenger dies, for she could not afford
The medication for her ailments, so she succumbed to sores!
Across the gathered masses was the hovering of pain,
Another one of us departed from the FREEDOM train.

Mountains rolled and valleys passed the few that had the view,
Aboard this runaway train of passengers without a crew but the inspector,
They huddled, praying JUSTICE would prevail,
but lived within LAWS of physics, so were destined to de-rail!
A pregnant mother squirmed as her water broke in panic,
Hope was her unborn daughter but her birth was none but tragic.
She only saw the light of day minutes before the crash,
sucked back into a darkness with radiance everlasting!
Everyday the death toll rises from the freedom trains wreckage,
That never saw DEMOCRACY, but destined us to heaven,
Through a passage of pain and tribulation attached,
that only seems to affect those of us stuck in economy class,
If only the inspector started checking on the drivers,
there wouldn't be this ugly scene of checking on survivors,
18 April 19803 was the day we left the station,
aboard the FREEDOM TRAIN, but still haven't reached our destination - FREEDOM!!!

Poet Note:

(1) Mother, polite form of address to an older woman.
(2) Mother(s), polite form of address to an older woman.
(3) Independence day in Zimbabwe.

About the author

Born on the 22nd September, 1983, Tongai Leslie Makawa - better known as OUTSPOKEN - has participated in numerous poetry festivals worthy of note in Zimbabwe. The last of four siblings, he is the projects facilitator for Magamba!, a network that focuses on spoken word fusion activities.

He is also a hip-hop mentor for Power in the Voice, a British Council programme, which seeks to better the performance arts by targeting talented youth and mentoring them in their various disciplines.

Audio File

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