Nangolo is widely acknowledged as the national poet of Namibia. He studied in Europe for several years before returning to Africa in the mid 60's. An active member of SWAPO (South West Africa Peoples Organization), a political liberation movement, the South African government sentenced him (after a year in solitary confinement without being charged) along with a large group of his compatriots. He spent 16 years (of a 20 year sentence) in Robben Island beginning in 1968.
After his release in 1984, he remained active in the Namibian independence movement and in the Namibian government after the country's independence in 1990. He continues to write today.
Nangolo's second poem, Guerilla Promise is GANGSTER! These lyrics could very well have been spit by NWA or ICE-T back in the days.
Dedicated to comrade Andimba Toivo ya Toivo who spent eighteen years of a twenty year sentence on Robben island.
Just how far is Robben Island from a black child at play?
What forces take his father there with all the world between?
Oh! Mother caution your warrior son again
or else he'll show his might
Just how far is Robben Island from the United Nations
Have I time to ponder now when patriots are drilling fast?
Spears are flying and the shields are once more bloody
for the drums of war are beating again
Just how far is Robben Island from the London Stock Exchange?
You couldn't hear my talking war drums
for uselessly loud is the enemy's cannon roar
Just how far is Robben Island from the Yankee's White House?
I have no sight for I do not speak languages so foreign
the stars and zebra stripes are dazzling me
the US President speaks--his foreign secretary cheats
Then just how far is Robben Island from the field of Waterloo?
A few bushes away
a village or two in between
and the warrior son will take you there.
I'll rush upon you
like escaping newborn sunray
that dazzle you with my lethal swiftness
'cause I'm the Fight
As unknown as an unborn battle
labouring with steel and hand grenade
I'm death conceived
'til my moment arrives
with pain...blood and terror
I'm a soldier of this realm
I'm a poisoned arrow
I'm a string-bow
I'm a sharpened spear
I'm a sword
waiting in my sheath
only for your death.
Some of my favorite poetry books: