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"A poem in commemoration of Women's Parliament" - 29 August 2007: by Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. MOTHER Mother, children are like arrows in a hunter’s bag Mother, it was painful when you delivered me to this earth You suffered birth pangs, but they subsided And your body recovered When you heard my first cry You smiled to yourself and experienced joy in your heart - Knowing that you had conquered the birth pangs You said to yourself: I have achieved my Freedom. My body and my soul are rejoicing I have reveled in the warmth of your hands I have relished the warm milk of your breasts I have cherished the warmth of your back I have rested on your warm chest There I was - on your back With wood or water on your head Your back never tired of carrying me While your hands were hoeing the fields, Grinding the corn so that the family could eat There you were - brewing beer for the men to drink And building mud huts Then came the heroines such as Lillian Ngoyi, Charlotte Maxeke, Ruth First, Helen Joseph, and others, Who said: We are going right inside the Union Buildings! And Freedom was born. You suffered anew the birth pangs when your children were incarcerated in apartheid prisons Gunfire reverberating day and night - your children’s blood flowing like streams in the streets And yet you replied: Backwards never! Forward ever! And the new South Africa was born Thank you, Mothers Stop crying - wipe away your tears Nurture this child Feed this child and make it grow Support this child Reinforce this Freedom And don’t ever look back We have seen the good deeds that you have done We thank you!!!
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