A STANDING OVATION TO A PHENOMENAL WOMAN
By: Sinenhlanhla Mthembu
A ‘phenomenal woman’ has dropped her microphone and walked off stage.
Poets and performers don’t die – they live, perform and when the show is over, they take a bow. So here’s a standing ovation to a ‘phenomenal’ poet, performer, teacher and political activist, Dr Maya Angelou.
A life well lived. A legendary legacy lives on.
Angelou was a formidable icon, with a strong speaking voice and a presence that evoked an ageing African warrior queen. A ‘phenomenal woman indeed’; a true reflection of Imbokodo – an isiZulu term which describes the resilience of the African women.
She mentored and inspired great women like Oprah Winfrey, and sparked greatness in every woman she came across. “You are beautiful. You are worth more than you know.” Such simple words, yet so powerful, they brought tears of joy and total closure in many women’s lives.
A woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s her!
Angelou lived a long, lovely life, full of daring, accomplishment and acclaim. This makes her a legendary pioneer and overcomer. A virtuous woman.
How can we forget her sharing her mind, emotions, spirit and power with everyone? Especially all the sisters out there, the women, the ‘phenomenal women’.
In the poem, His Day is Gone, Angelou mourns Mandela’s death and praises him as a modern-day David who slew mighty Goliath and Gideon, who freed the South African people. She also marvels at his endurance of racism and imprisonment.
“Nelson Mandela’s day is done. We confess it in tearful voices. Yet we lift our own to say thank you. Thank you, our Gideon. Thank you, our David, our great, courageous man. We will not forget you. We will not dishonor you. We will remember and be glad that you lived among us, that you taught us and you loved us all.”
And now… We mourn YOU, oh virtuous woman, woman of Proverbs 31 – “you lived life with purpose.”
Thank you, Maya Angelou. Thank you for speaking for us. Thank you for sharing with us. Thank you for being with us for as long as you were able. Thank you for everything you gave to us, you gave the world so much. Thank you for teaching us, for shaping us and for leaving a legacy to live up to.
We have learned. Now drop your microphone, your words will still linger on. Take a bow. We salute you, oh woman Phenomenally, Phenomenal Woman. That’s You!