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Ode to a Wild Woman (for Karima Brown)

Karima Brown and Zenariah Barends Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency/ANA

Karima Brown and Zenariah Barends Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency/ANA

Published Mar 7, 2021


Zenariah Barends pays tribute to veteran journalist Karima Brown who died of complications due to Covid-19 this week.

Ode to a Wild Woman (for Karima Brown)

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How will we be in this world without you?

Oh wild woman

oh fierce spirit


to pierce the hidden veil


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by your uncompromising vigilance

You travelled

the unenviable path

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of the hero

From behind your framed eyes

You roared with a smile

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Springing from your incisive mind

laced with wisdom

your questions

unveiled forbidden cities

rendered visible

spiralling castles built on blood

made public

avaricious deceit

unmasked the oozing slime

of our country's underbelly

pointed out

who would be Ozymandias*

amongst us

The storyteller tells of women

who run amongst wolves **

of curious women who leap

from wily traps

that would ensnare them

who dart from those

who would imprison them

Wild, wonderful women

sisters, mothers, daughters, lovers

blissfully dancing

as they rip the spiteful corset

that constrains them

Fighting and loving hard

who cherish their children

as life itself

Oh how we grieve

wild woman

this is not the end

You watered

your garden well my love

precious flowers bloom

as holy tears fall

a river flows

to the boundless ocean

so take a deep rest

when you find that soft shore

Your life's work

so profound

will shine golden

like the brightest of stars

* References: Ozymandias - a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Women who run with the Wolves - Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes

** Zenariah Barends is former chief of staff at Independent Media and current head of publications at Community Chest.

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