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Day 18 of NaPoWriMo: “And now for our (as always, optional) prompt, which takes us from 2015 back to the 1700s. After all, it’s the eighteenth of April, which means that today is the 240th anniversary of the midnight ride of Paul Revere! Today, in keeping with the theme of rush and warning, I challenge you to write a poem that involves an urgent journey and an important message.”


While Paul Revere’s all very well –
Indeed, he rode like anything –
Another tale I have to tell,
Of Ndongeni* and Dick King.

The year was eighteen forty two.
In Port Natal the Boers had got
The Brits besieged and in a stew,
With, from all sides, shot after shot.

So Ndongeni horses found;
The two, in darkness that same night,
Swam horses to Bluff’s safer ground,
From where they could keep out of sight.

And then began the epic ride,
Brave Ndongeni, but sixteen,
Rode bareback till no more could bide
The chafing; still, halfway he’d been!

The route along a rugged coast;
Some hundred-twenty rivers crossed;
To pests and predators the host;
But Dick King let no time be lost.

Six hundred miles within ten days
(Some seven less than might be thought)
To Grahamstown, without delays,
The tidings of the plight he brought.

From Grahamstown relief was sent: 
In nick of time that help arrived;
The Boers retreated, and this meant, 
With no surrender, camp survived.

Dick King Statue 2

Now locals have themselves disgraced; 
In fits of anti-settler zeal,
The statue to him they’ve defaced –
They find such things have no appeal.

Yet both of Boer and Brit descent
Have celebrated all he did,
And Ndongeni hero call
For his part in the valiant bid.

*Pronounced (with almost inaudible ‘nn’ running into the ‘D’) nDONG-GAIR-(silent ‘R’)-KNEE.
© Colonialist April 2015 (WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
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  1. A really entertaining history lesson, and comments too. 🙂


  2. The Asian says:

    All of these men are part of our history, defacing or removing their statues isn’t going to do anything. The statues are not there to be “worshipped” they are there to remind us what we’ve been through to get where we are today. There’s so many other things that these people could be protesting against and yet they chose something as silly as this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • colonialist says:

      They are also there to remind us of their actual achievements, whatever faults they may have had. Now, some of the ‘achievements’ celebrated by road naming etc. are having blown up innocent public – but that’s OK, it was done in the name of ‘The Struggle’.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bulldog says:

    How things have slowly changed since 1994… in place of raising history we seem to be defacing it… it would be great to see more statues depicting all our past rather than less… I was not a fan of Rhodes, felt his escapades were more for personal gain and glory, but I still feel his statues could remain…

    Liked by 1 person

    • colonialist says:

      Not too many ‘great men’ whose escapades didn’t boil down to gain or glory – (Smuts was one). That doesn’t take away from their achievements – and I doubt if these defacing baboons will have the ability to do even a ten-thousandth of what he did.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Pussycat44 says:

    Now I on Kingsway lived of yore
    With Ndongeni Road nearby
    The water ain’t so sweet no more
    Would Shaka say, were he alive.

    Liked by 1 person

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