Freedom by Afzal Moolla

Kate Perlioni & Olivia Leach


The poem called “Freedom”, by Afzal Moolla, represents the people of South Africa and their emotions during apartheid. In the beginning of the poem, the word ‘freedom’ is repeated because the writer wants to let us know the joy that has come to her through her newly granted freedom. The struggles that the people of South Africa faced were described throughout the whole poem. This poem was written around the time apartheid was officially no longer a policy. Nelson Mandela was elected as the leader, and everyone is rejoicing in thanks and praise.



The shackles have been cast off.

Chains broken.

People once squashed,

under the jackboot of Apartheid,

are free.

Free at last!

Freedom came on the 27th day in that April, 1994.

Freedom from prejudice.

From institutionalised racism.

From being relegated to second-class citizenship.

Freedom came and we danced.

We cried.

We ululated as we elected

our revered Mandela.

President Nelson Mandela. Our very own beloved 'Madiba'.

Black and white and brown and those in-between,

All hues of this rainbow nation,

rejoiced as we breathed in the air of freedom and democracy.

Today we pause.

We remember.

We salute.

The brave ones whose sacrifices made this day possible,

on that 27th day of April,

18 years ago.

Today we dance.

We sing.

We ululate.

We cry.

Tears of joy and tears of loss.

Of remembrance and of forgiveness.

Of reconciliation and of memories.

Today we pause.

We acknowledge the tasks ahead.

The hungry.

The naked.

The destitute.

Today we reaffirm,

that promise of freedom.

From want.

From hunger.

From eyes without promise.

Today we also wish to reflect

On unfulfilled promises

On the proliferation of greed.

On the blurring of the ideals of freedom.

Today we say

We will take back the dream.

We will renew the promise.

We will not turn away.

Today we pledge

To stand firm

To keep the pressure turned on

To remind those in the corridors of power,

that we the people need to savor the fruits of the tree of freedom.

And till that time,

when all shall share in the bounty of democracy,

We shall remain vigilant,

and strong.

And we shall continue,

to struggle.

And to sing out loud,

"We shall overcome".

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Artistic Connection

The effective use of pathos in this piece evokes a pity in its audience for those affected by apartheid but does not dwell in the sadness of its history but rather celebrates the overcoming of its system and the positive future there is to come with their newly elected president, Nelson Mandela.

Artistically, this work could be related to the star spangled banner as a beacon of continuous surety that the chains of unjust authority are broken.

Thematic Connection

In relation to Kaffir boy, this poem conveys the horror of apartheid in past tense, which was the same daily struggle that Johannes endured from day to day. Afzal Moolla is able to convey the universal appeal of equal opportunity for all, or freedom. The author makes it blatantly obvious that the poem speaks of freedom of the life of apartheid by the use of repetition. This poem also conveys the necessity to remember things of the past as a way to improve the future.