A Poet's Guide to Mandeland [707541752398]


Author : Wole Soyinka

ISBN Code : 707541752398
Language : English
Pages number : 2 CDs
Format : Audio

Your bounty threatens me, Mandela, that taut

Drum skin of your heart on which our millions  


When he lay ill, battling mortality, his life-long friend and comrade, pleaded with his countrymen and women, and indeed, the world: ‘it is time to let him go’.

​How wrong he was! The world is in no hurry to let Mandela go. And so we hoist him suspended across that invisible realm where avatars reside.  Some have even named him a Messiah come through the prison gates—no, the world does not need a Messiah and, in any case, the very notion was anathema to him. Let it suffice to think of him as something of a miracle, add him to a modest pantheon of rare species, makers of new histories, bearers of new visions. Mandela was a pointer to possibilities of a transformed humanity, one of a sparse breed who offer a glimpse of the depthless fount of universal compassion.

​That is more than sufficient to celebrate, more than sufficient to keep alive, refreshing his unique, boundless presence in unknown places—across race, faith, and politics. It is that Nature preserve of his passage, stretching now into the ancestral realm, that I have designated—Mandeland—a vast, accommodating parkland for all seasons. There, all the songs and dances of the world congregate.

The poems in this recording--a personal choice—attempt to explore the contours of that estateóperhaps I have taken refuge in the safety of  â€˜landscape’ as opposed to the being himself, to avoid attracting the umbrage of a friend and young confidant of Madiba, whose letter complained:​

In the tedious and unimaginative narrative of an “icon” (urgh) the human ​being has been lost.

If this effort is still guilty of the charge, I know we can count of Mandelaís own magnanimity and understanding. The compilation is from a reading that I did, not long after Mandela took his final leave. Hundreds have traced the geography of that giant presence in their own lyrical modes, so this is just another tribute, a private message, shared by a few guests. I was not present at his funeral, so it serves as a farewell to a cherished elder, and pointer. The last word should not belong to my instinctive lament that was provoked by news of his departure, though of course those (adapted) words remain sadly true, and reproachful:

“The soul of Africa has departed, and there is nothing left miraculous in the whole, ​wide, world.”



1. Like Rudolph Hess, the Man Said! - Wole Soyinka

2.  Birthday in the Dust - Houston A. Baker, Jr.

3. Abafazi  (Women) -  Dennis Brutus

4. Excerpt from Mandela — Maxamed Xaashi Dhamac ‘Gaarriye’

5. Word and World — Abena P. A. Busia

6. You Die in Pieces — Sharon Cumberland

7. Birthday Haiku Blessing — Nkosi Sikelela

8. Correctus Historum — Rashidah Ismaili

9. Tribute to Nelson Mandela — Rebecca

10. Mandela — Tijan M. Sallah

11. Our Army — M. Schoon

12. Places of Stone —  Poet Of The People

13. Funeral Sermon, Soweto — Wole Soyinka


1. And I Watch it in Mandela — John Matshikiza

2. Your Logic Frightens Me, Mandela — Wole Soyinka

3. From the Cape to Rio — Breyten Bretenbach

4. Like a Field of Love — Adonis

5. Letter to a Political Prisoner — Patrick Galvin

6. Small Passing — Ingrid de Kok

7. To Mandela — Andries Walter Oliphant

8. The Ballad of Robben Island Gaol — Nancy Morejón

9. No! He Said — Wole Soyinka

10. Release, February 1990 — Lynne Bryer

11. from The Cure at Troy — Seamus Heaney

12. haiku 112 (For Mandela) — Kalamu ya Salaam

13. Nelson — Roger Brirley

14. Departure from the Isle of Torments (Mandela’s musings) — Mazisi Kunene

15. Macbeth — Liz Cashdan

16. To Nelson Mandela: A Tribute — Andrew Motion

17. Mandela’s Cell — Chris Mann

18. When Mandela Goes — Sandile Ngidi

19. Aprés La Guerre — Wole Soyinka

20. Journey — Wole Soyinka

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