Ada Aharoni
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    IFLAC is a voluntary Association that strives for peace by building bridges of understanding and peace through culture, literature and communication. IFLAC is founded and directed by Egyptian-born Israeli writer Ada Aharoni (Ph.D), since 1999.

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    Poem of the Month, January 2014: On South Africa and Peace

    As the first Poem of the Month in 2014, we actually chose two poems on South Africa, both by Ada Aharoni. “They seem pertinent now that Mandela has passed away,” Dr. Aharoni says. The first one, Africa Sings Freedom, is dedicated to Nelson Mandela and was written when Apartheid was finally abolished. The second poem, Take Us to Free Soweto, was written in Johannesburg in 1977 and is dedicated to the African Black Poets Aharoni met at the American Embassy, where she read peace poems from her book Poems from Israel.


    By Ada Aharoni
    Dedicated to President Nelson Mandela
    (Written on the occasion of the abolishment of Apartheid)

    President Nelson Mandela
    delivers inevitable freedom
    in South Africa’s scorched belly.
    From Pomona’s throat
    triumphant songs
    fill the air while

    Mandolins play: Mandela, Mandela, Mandela!

    Africa sings, laughs, dances,
    flying fire-blown stars
    explode into millions of blooming
    proteas in rainbow colors
    toppling over old Apartheid’s grave
    Nelson Mandela waves away the pain
    with a grave handshake, a smile
    and a raised, noble forehead

    Thousands mandolins play: Mandela, Mandela, Mandela!

    The sceptics
    thrust their leering grins
    deep down their throats,
    while Africa joyously sings
    the song of free children
    and glorious
    colorful proteas

    Millions mandolins play: Mandela, Mandela, Mandela!


    By Ada Aharoni
    Dedicated to the African Black Poets I met in Johannesburg, at the American Embassy (Johannesburg, May, 1977)

    Lady from Tel-Aviv, lady from Tel-Aviv,
    now that we’ve read our poems together,
    now that we’ve wept together
    with you and Nadine Gordimer,
    please take us back to Soweto,
    with our poems “abalonga goddam”
    full of cries of crippled children
    full of spears of anger
    wrapped in black blankets of pain –
    please take us back to Soweto –
    we’ve missed the fatal midnight train
            and we will go to jail!

    If I only could,
    I would have taken you
    not only to Soweto –
    but to where the leaves’
    free rustle roams,
    where poems grow ripe
    before they grow hoarse,
            where missing the midnight train
            does not send you to jail

    But I’m not even
    from Tel-Aviv,
    I’m only from Haifa –
    and have no car
    to take you to
    the leaves’ free rustle,
    or to Soweto
    my brother poets,
            and my heart burns for you
            like a black torch in me.

    See also: Mourning Mandela


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