Mzansi's Red Earth

Photo by Chris Scott

Photo by Chris Scott

This poem was written by South African poet Toni Stuart, as part of an activity during a Translators in Schools  workshop in February 2015. She wrote it as a "trans-inspiration" of Mar Português by Fernando Pessoa.

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Mzansi’s Red Earth

after Mar Português by Fernando Pessoa (trans-inspiration exercise)

O red soil, how much of your colour

is the blood of slain sons?

How much of your sand, is the bones

of our forgotten fathers, who died alone?


How many mothers, waited at empty coffins

for you, Mzansi, to be free?

Were their lives worth it? We do not know 

Our souls hang heavy in their silence


by Toni Stuart

(Translators in Schools, February 2015)