(Written for all former Rhodesians for the 11th November, 2000.)

DO YOU REMEMBER how Cecil Rhodes at the Matopos' high,
faced the fierce impi with nought but a call.
A call for peace and a better land for all.

He stood like a colossus across the shining savanna to create an African jewel.
A jewel, which sparkled as it prospered and grew, giving of itself, to answer calls
to world battles now remembered by few.

Then, when came the dark days of conflict with the Mother of Parliaments,
another great Rhodesian stood up and made his country's claim.
A true son of the soil, he was a quiet man with a simple name.
When the world doubted him, fellow Rhodesians, no matter their hue,
stood with him, convinced and unafraid, defending what was rightfully due.

For fourteen years this man and those who loved their land faced the storm.
Two generations of Rhodesians answered this call. Such life was the norm.
And then their stand was lost, amidst clamours of right by their enemies and
shouts of the good to come.

But the story has unfold, sadly, as it was foretold.
This jewel of Africa has splintered and lost it’s gleam.
Yet those powers who so fervently wanted Rhodesia gone, now in silent
detachment, march on.
Who cares if misery has made that country lean.

Like a rising wind, voices from the past, will say, "We cared.
With our souls and our lives, we cared for this land of flame lily flower.
And when the great scorer comes, it will not be whether Rhodesia won or lost, but
that with so few she had fought her finest hour."
Let those who were there be proud.

And on this historical day, those who were Rhodesians ,
are asked, one and all, to once more answer a call.
Remembering the beauty of warm days and star-studded nights,
please raise your voices to the skies and there, storm the gates of heaven with this simple prayer -
"Please God, release our birth land from the folly of powerful men."

Written in Gonubie, South Africa.
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© Sam Partridge
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