Thursday, February 08, 2007

Amakeia, deur A.G. Visser

The first time I heard this poem, it was early evening, and it was raining. My mother was preparing supper and explaining the poem to my older brother, and she took him through it step by step, telling it as if it was a story.

I didn't know it was a poem; I thought it was a real story, about real people. Maybe an event that happened years before, and I couldn;t understand why my mother wanted to talk about it. It was only when they saw the tears running down my cheeks that they realised the story was upsetting me, and explained that it was a poem for school.

Reading the poem always evokes part of the sadness I felt for Amakeia then.
D

.................

AMAKEIA ~ deur A.G. Visser ( a poem by A.G, Visser)

In die skadu van die berge,
bos-beskut aan alle kant,
staan alleen die hartbeeshuisie
op die grens van Kafferland.

Saggies neurie Amakeia
op die wal van Kei-rivier,
tot hy slaap, die tere wiggie
van die blanke pionier:

"Stil maar, stil maar, stil Babani;
kyk hoe blink die awendster.
Niemand sal vir kindjie slaan nie -
stil maar, al is Mammie ver."

Amakeia had belowe
toe haar nonna sterwend was,
om die hulpelose kindjie
tot hy groot was, op te pas.

Liefd'ryk sorg sy vir die wit kind,
tot vir hom die lewenslig
straal uit aia Amakeia's
vrind'lik-troue swart gesig.

Onheilspellend sien sy tekens,
oorlog kom daar in die land:
Snel die inval, huis en hawe
uitgemoor en afgebrand.

Selfvergetend, doodveragtend,
met die wit kind op haar rug,
na die Amatola-berge
het sy ylings heen gevlug.

"Stil maar, stil maar, pikanienie;
oor die bergtop rys die maan.
Niemand sal vir ons hier sien nie;
môre sal ons huis toe gaan."

Ag, dat oë van verspieders
ook haar skuilplaas moes ontdek!
"Spaar hom, hy's so klein nog," smeek sy
met die hande uitgestrek.

Woedend tier die wilde bende:
"Sterf of gee die wit kind hier!"
"Oor my lewelose liggaam ..."
antwoord Amakeia fier.

"My belofte aan my nonna -
beste wat daar ooit nog was -
waar hy gaan, moet Amakeia
saamgaan om hom op te pas."

"Is jul lewend nie te skei nie,
bly dan in die dood vereen -
kort proses met haar, Maxosas,
laat die blink asgaaie reën!"
*
In die Amatola-klowe
sing nog net die winterwind
deur die riete in die maanskyn:
"Tula - Tula - stil, my kind!"

21 comments:

Lindi McCurry said...

Damaria, I have been looking for this poem for a long time. I heard it first when I was in primary school and still cry every time that I read or hear it. It is such a profound poem, I'm not sure why it isn't more widely known. I teach in the US and want my students to present this poem at our winter concert. Thank you for posting it!
Lindi

Damaria Senne said...

Hi Lindi

I am so glad you found the poem. Good luck with the winter concert. I hope you get this note - tried to follow your link but could only find your profile.

Ansie de Wet said...

Hi

I might be a little late leaving a comment about this poem, but I love this poem so much, I have to say something about it. My mother taught me how to sing this poem, many years ago. I live in Australia now, and try to hold on to some of our Afrikaans culture. Lately, I couldn't get this poem out of my head. I could only remember a few of the stanzas and couldn't remember how to spel the name of the poem. I typed in 'hartbees huisie' on the internet and got this site. If you think this poem is something to cry about, you should hear it as a song. It's beautiful.

Ansie

Nikita said...

This poem is a wonderful poem!! It brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps...like all previous times I've read it...it was one of the poems i had to know by heart when i was at primary...it's a poem that touches your heart strings!! Thank you! Lovely blog!

Dr Pieter du Plessis said...

Hi Damaria
When I were a little boy, my older brother used to read me poems when I were ill in bed and later I started reading teh peoms myself. Thank you very much for puuting Amakeia on the internet, I were looking for this marvellous poem.
Take care
Pieter du Plessis

alda said...

Damaria,yesterday, I heard a classical version of "Clementine", and immediately I realised that long, long ago I knew Afrikaans words to the music. I could recall a word here and there only. On the Web I entered Amakeia, and there it was!
Such a beautiful, sad, sad song! Thank you Damaria! Alda Kruse

Ernest said...

Hi Damaria

Toe ek destyds op skool was in Suidwes Afrika nou Namibia , het ons die gedig opgevoer. die woorde het nog altyd by my gebly en ek glo baie gevorm. Die deernis, lojaliteit en pligs getrouheid.
Baie dankie

Frieda said...

Ek stem saam met Ansie. Dit is 'n wonderlike lied. My moeder het dit altyd vir ons as kinders gesing, met baie trane en erg hartseer, dan het ons aan haar lippe gehang. Sy is nou al amper 81 en kuier op die oomblik by my. Baie dankie vir die woorde, ek gaan dit vir haar gee sodat sy dit vanaand vir my kleinkinders kan sing. (Ek het hul al baie van die liedjie vertel) KAN NIE WAG NIE!!! Frieda

Lady Nix said...

Nicolett Voeght

I was taught this poem in 1982 when I was in standard two and a friend of mine Wilhelmiena Manus sang it to me and I loved it so much and everyday I use to sing it, even when I was done with school and after that I never worried about it, only when we talk poetry I would refer back to this poem and last night my daughter was humming this certain tune & I started singing the owrds & she was like WOW mom, can I also have the words & this morning I decided to look it up and thanks God I found it and I am going to teach my kids the words and the song and also explain it to them. Have a blessed day in the Lord

God Bless

Regards
Nicolett

basie said...

Sjoe, na al die jare, nog steeds 'n tranetrekker anders is jy nie mens

basie said...

Sjoe, na al die jare, nog steeds 'n tranetrekker anders is jy nie mens

basie said...

Sjoe, na al die jare, nog steeds 'n tranetrekker anders is jy nie mens

BoB said...

Dear Damaria

Thank you, my grandmother taught this poem to my mother, as a song, who in turn had attempted to teach it to me and my siblings. Unfortunately many of the words had been forgotten with time. This song has meant a lot to me and my family.

patrick3870 said...

This poem will remain with me for a very long time. It is so intrinsically linked to my primary school days & I still can see (with a smile )myself reciting it in front of the class. This is Afrikaans op sy beste. Another Poem that also touches my by the same Poet is "haar uitvaart". The poets little baby girl was busy dying & he captures her last dying moments in this poem

Wrathex said...

A favourite poem, my mom used to sing to us, we we would cry. Beautiful.

This is a poem about love.

Tshidiso Pule said...

My Name is Tshidiso Jeffrey Pule, the first time i heard this poem was through my late mother. She once told me that as a young girl during her school days back in those dark days of S.A, she had performed this poem on the radio... i could see the emotion when she said it off by heard and i too today simply can say it off by heart. This poem has been like a war cry in our family and i just adore people that could see the message behind it.

Solly Mazibile said...

I first heard this poem 31 years ago. Growing up I heard many references to it. These were from teachers who,d been teaching since the seventies.

Thanks for posting it here. All those years ago I didn't know what it said. I wonder what's its meaning in present day South Africa?

Solly Mazibile said...

I first heard this poem 31 years ago. Growing up I heard many references to it. These were from teachers who,d been teaching since the seventies.

Thanks for posting it here. All those years ago I didn't know what it said. I wonder what's its meaning in present day South Africa?

Siki Mahomed said...

This was a poem I did 1963 at school.
never forgot it. so glad I could read it again.

There is a book titled "Century of South Africa Short Stories".

A great read. memories of our school days in the 60's

Siegfried Ngubane said...

Thank you so much for posting this poem. I have been looking for all these years and tonight - planning a trip through Eastern Cape and Amathole region - this came to mind and I typed the name of Amakeia and there it was - so thank you very much. I don't know Afrikaans at all but my teacher when I was in Sandard 5, in the 80s once took us through this poem. I still remember very well tears rolling down my chicks. I thank God for him Mr Ndzinga from Kokstad. The school was in Ixopo, Mariathal Mission School then. Thank you once again. Siegfried

Emdos Awaseb said...

During the seventies when I was still at primary school, this was one of the favourite poems that we used to recite out of our heads - thinking back to those years still gives me goosebumps. Thanks for posting!