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BOOKED @ Muse: Thabo Lehlongwa (Motho Fela)

Thabo Lehlongwa (Motho Fela) Thabo Lehlongwa A.K.A Motho Fela (formerly known as Common Man) is a prolific writer, cultural activist and spoken word artist dredged in the hip hop movement. He has been using his voice since he was 15 years old to contribute to the development of young people, particularly those in townships. He has exhibited his wordsmith prowess by offering poetry performances, inspirational talks and life skills workshops to youth in high schools, clubs, prisons, churches and street corners around the country.

His works have appeared on numerous publications such as Timbila, In-Sight, Words Gone 2 Soon and a variety of material published within the development sector, such as NGO Matters and the Land Digest. He also wrote a poem titled “The Landless have Landed”, which became a battle cry for the Landless People’s Movement. Motho Fela recently contributed a track in Rise Mzansi, a compilation album that features socially conscious rappers and poets from townships around Gauteng.

He is currently working on the publishing of his debut collection of poetry The Seed of Life which is accompanied by a hip hop/poetry CD. Through his Film/TV production company and as a film producer, he is currently involved in a few film projects, including a documentary about Matsemela Manaka, a full length feature about the privileged black youth called Cheese Girls. He also co-produced Sivelaphi Siyaphi, a documentary film that chronicles the legacy of the 1956 women’s anti-pass march.

Mothofela has performed at gatherings such as t WCAR (2001) 16 Days of Activism Special in Muvhango (2006), Jozi Spoken Word Festival (2007), World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002), and the Launch of the Landless People’s Movement among many others.

When the Muse caught up with Mothofela he was reading Conversing with Africa by Mukoma Wa Ngugi, as well as is rehearsing for his upcoming explosive theatre-styled one-man musical poetry show entitled Remember Me! inspired by one of his classic poems (see below). The core theme of the show is “Embracing Humanity”, with a special focus on “celebrating the resilience of the human spirit”.


Remember Me
from the anthology Seed of Life

Remember me the common man
from the land of the common people
where poverty pierces souls of the feeble
like needles do skins of dizzy junkies

Remember me when you see
that hungry kid begging for money
to buy poisonous sweets,
before he goes to sleep
in a filthy corner of the street

Remember me coz you see
that’s my brother,
a product of a runaway father
your brother’s keeper’s cousin
who was never there to raise him

he was raised by harsh streets
that taught him how to be mean and brave
he never saw love
all he knows is how to hate
watch out as he allows his rage to escape
your wife, mother and daughter are about to get raped
not forgetting your brother
in the CITY where the SUN never shines

remember me when that happens
and ask yourself if you and your fellowman
have planted enough seeds of love
for you to seek peace in this wicked land

remember me ‘coz you see
everything you’re about to see
is just another repetition
of the future’s history
remember me when you meet
that angry hungry urban jungle man
in dark alleys
scheming on stealing your empty wallet
before he finishes skinning you alive
ask yourself if you and your fellowman
have planted enough seeds of love
for you to seek peace in the wicked land

remember me when you see
that small red dot between
the lifeless eyes of your beloved brother
ask yourself if this evil action
of your fellowman’s off-spring
is a true reflection of your own investment
to the bank of social strength

remember me when you’re in your lovely car
waiting for that red light to turn green
then suddenly through your clean windscreen
you see a man-made compassionless subhuman being
pointing a deadly instrument to your head

your heart stops to beat
you find it hard to breathe
your cell phone is hard to reach
you cannot call the police
on a number that’s toll free 0800 11 12 13

remember me when that happens
and ask yourself if these evil deeds
of your fellowman’s off-spring
are true reflections of your teachings to society

remember me when these casualties of reality
are suffered by the ones you love and need
ask yourself if you and your fellowman
have planted enough seeds of love
for you to seek peace in this wicked land

remember me the common man
from the land of the common people
where poverty pierces souls of the feeble
like needles do skins of dizzy crack junkies

this is where mental malnutrition
turns kids into super-killing machines
trigger happy creatures who never hesitate to kill
sucking all your blood until you stop to bleed

Remember me when you realise the need
for you and me to INCREASE love and peace
before these cannibals of reality
swallow all those we love and need



face the music

self-pity is a deadly disease
fortunately there is a remedy
self-love and preservation of sanity
losing the mind over shit is never worth it
positive thinking is a noble mission
but only a few can really accomplish it
those who find life to always be amusing
the beautiful ones who have the guts
to face the music

the fighting spirit must always be at ease
wounds in the spirit should not be licked
wolves in sheep’s skin should not be killed
for lessons of life they bring to the weak
are worth learning, as part of life’s journey

fearing the greatness from within
is the greatest tragedy
celebrating life means embracing the pain
it’s in that tune, where we find priceless gains
facing the music is the ultimate test of endurance
just learn to dance
coz the music will never stop playing


remembering the times

                                          like a real soldier
you carried battles on your shoulders
                                          walking side by side
                              you and me on straight line
fighting wickedness, from the same side
                              many battles have been won
                  but the struggle continues to go on

                                          i still vividly remember
those times when we lived like brothas
                                          breaking bread together
                              you on the forefront, like a father
                                                a reliable bread provider
                              making sure that we neva gave up

i remember those times
which are now long gone
from a distance i see you taking strolls
with those who oppressed us before
you no longer respond
to my desperate calls
except of course
when you need me at the polls

Poems copyright Thabo Lehlongwa


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