First Day After the War: Mazisi Kunene


1. Discuss the tone of the poem, quoting to support your answer. (4)
tender, gentle, warm – “soft light” / “young blades of grass”
Joyous – “ululating to the mountains”
Contented, glad – “it is the first day after the war”
Proud, grateful – “We saw our Ancestors travelling tall on the horizon” (SS)

2. What mood does this poem create? (1)
Hopeful / content / celebratory /

3.1 Who is the “she” referred to in line 6? (2)
(Freedom? The end of war?!)

3.2 What other reference is made to her in the poem, and how is this significant? (4)
“her footprints” – not yet herself, but the evidence of her; leading them towards herself?
“her face emerged” – not completely clear at first, but becoming clearer all the while
“her eyes of freedom” – close/clear enough to see her eyes (windows to the soul)
“She woke us up with a smile” – woken up from despair/darkness/the past

4. Explain the significance of the last line of the poem. (3)
Ancestors are highly revered in Zulu culture
They are “travelling tall”, which speaks of their pride and positions
All that the ancestors believed in/sacrificed for has come to fruition – it is the end of the war, and time to celebrate
Thankfulness towards the ancestors for mediating with God on behalf of the people
Even the ancestors are coming to join the celebration, to hold “hands with a stranger”

5. Identify three images of celebration, and explain their effectiveness. (6)
“songs of a wedding party”
Unity, families coming together, singing with joy
“ululating to the mountains”
Triumphant and joyful, no longer silent
“demanding a festival”
Wanting to celebrate, not willing to wait any longer. Festivals are usually colourful, noisy, exuberant, full of life and joy (SS)

6. Which image in the poem most strongly speaks of peace? Quote, and justify your answer. (3)
Quote any appropriate phrase from the poem (1 mark) and defend choice (2 marks). E.g.:
“We held hands with a stranger”
Holding hands signifies unity, solidarity, willingness to be/work together
Poet is looking forward to a time beyond apartheid when people will once more be reconciled and united.

By fierypen Posted in Life

5 comments on “First Day After the War: Mazisi Kunene

  1. this is one of the exciting poem ever that remind us of the reconciliation after the apartheid.indeed joy comes in the morning

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