Ingrid Jonker - "The Child is not Dead"

The child is not dead

The child lifts his fists against his mother

Who shouts Afrika ! shouts the breath

Of freedom and the veld

In the locations of the cordoned heart


The child who was shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga Nelson Mandela read this poem in the original Afrikaans, during his address at the opening of the first democratic parliament on May 24, 1994.

Ingrid Jonker (19 September 1933 - 19 July 1965) was a South African poet. Although she wrote in Afrikaans, her poems have been widely translated into other languages. Ingrid Jonker has reached iconic status in South Africa and is often called the South African Sylvia Plath, owing to the intensity of her work and the tragic course of her turbulent life. Her work has also been compared to that of Anne Sexton. During the night of 19 July 1965, Jonker went to the beach at Three Anchor Bay in Cape Town where she walked into the sea and committed suicide by drowning.

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