15 April, 2024


Our Eternal Hope, Mandela!

By Lionel Bopage

Lionel Bopage

People usually pay tribute to great individuals, once they are no more. However, I wrote this poem about Nelson Mandela, in order to pay homage to him, while he is still with us.


Our Eternal Hope, Mandela!


Would you soon bid farewell to this world?

May be, may be not

but darkness cannot drown your light

as you will live in all our hearts

you have done us proud

and will leave us with pride

as a prisoner, a president and

an ambassador of the voiceless!


A slave caged for 27 years

Condemned to hard labour; breaking stones

But none could break the dignity and humanity in you

Instead you broke apartheid forever

standing up with a straight backbone!

being the master of your fate

and the general of your soul!!


I also sat alone like you

in dungeons for a decade

surviving torture, trauma and tricks

keeping my back straight

and my head unbowed

full of hope and aspirations

dreaming of justice

and a better future for humanity


You kept your ideals

moving from authority to morality

walking from arms to talks

but never giving up the struggle for peace

leading your people to freedom and dignity!


I too wonder sometimes

Seeing my comrades move

from morality to authority

to build a land full of wrath and tears

destroying our ideals

have I wasted my life?


Clouds of darkness, fogs of fear

hover over my land

after years of menace and devastation

we have made a new apartheid regime


As a great man, who hoped for a better world

you destroyed apartheid in your land

made a hopeful land for your people!

Yet, in a South Africa without you

would your comrades be true to your  ideals?


Our future generations

deserve a decent and better world

I hope and wish

you will never fade into oblivion

as your ideals will keep shining!

inspiring those yet to be born!


How many Mandelas does the world need

to lead us towards justice and freedom

from discrimination and exploitation?

Mandela, our Mandela

you will never be forgotten!

May your ideals never be abandoned

we live in that eternal hope!!

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Latest comments

  • 0

    He will also be one of those ‘ Eternal lights’ lighting our horizon forever and showing us what we could be as humans, politicians and leaders. Such men never die. We die, but they live on and on and on. Such are men, who become our Gods.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0

    Hilarious voice from the wilderness from a refugee in a foreign land fleeing after betraying the cause he stood by for over two decades. He might even compare himself to Mahathma Ghandi in the near future.

    • 0

      His betrayal of the cause is nothing compared to the betrayal of the real lives of thousands honest young guys in 1971 … It is unbelieveble …
      The guy who was supposed to take the PM of the country at the time, Sirimavo, as a prisoner was sleeping under the bed of a monk in a temple while his group was exposed on the street of Colombo without knowing their boss was sleeping under the bed far away … His and his other comrade of arms, Uyangoda’s betrayal of young lives is legendary …. Look at how their lives flourished at the expense of thousands of younger lives of the decades of 70’s … Thousands were buried young while not a single leader of the insurrection lost even a finger at the time …. Even now, some parents are crying remembering lost lives of their sons and daughters lost in 70’s ….. These sons and daughters were the cream of the society … Bright, honest , brave and young … They were taken for a ride by their ‘leaders’. …
      I have not seen any poems written for them by their so called leaders who are enjoying the life in full in CAPITALIST countries …

  • 0

    Mandela is the greatest icon of both the 20th. and the 21st. century. He did not have the hypocrisy of Gandhi. He refused to be released from his imprisonment and went on for 27 years until Apartheid was destroyed. Bensen

    • 0

      Bensen Burner

      “He did not have the hypocrisy of Gandhi. “

      Are you sure about the above comment.

      Please check your facts.

  • 0

    Hilarious backboneless refugee attempting talk of backbone that he never knew or had.
    Disgraceful lackey yet trying to hog the limelight.
    Bopage, is a disgraceful son of the land

    • 0


      “Bopage, is a disgraceful son of the land”


  • 0

    I dont think either Gandhi or Mandela were hypocrites. They were men of their time; born in places which needed them. They were very human but they also had great courage-if they made mistakes it was because of their humanity. They were not Gods. Such men are ‘born’ not ‘made’.

  • 0


    “Such men are ‘born’ not ‘made’.”

    You mean Mahinda too was born not made.

  • 0

    There is no question that Mandela is the greatest icon of the 20th and 21st Centuries but I fully agree with Chandra and Thondamanaru on the ‘hilarious voice.’ Having misled an entire generation youth into graves and prisons in 1971 this clown is now pontificating on Mandela and human rights while living in comfort in Australia

  • 0

    Native veddah
    No comparison- no comment!!!

    • 0


      “No comparison- no comment!!!”

      Do you mean MR is exceptional?

  • 0

    Sri Lankans’ hobby is attacking others without any ground.Not only Bopage, many have left the country for various reasons.Some to escape the wrath of the rulers.I believe Bopage left the country disappointed after dedicating many years of his life for socialism.Even from a far away country he stands for justice in Sri Lanka.His stand on the National Question was rejected by the chauvinistic JVP leaders and it led to his resignation from the party.One has a right to leave a political party. So why do some criticize him?

  • 0

    Native Vedda & Bensen Burner

    NV, do you really expect an explanation from this absurd Bensen Burner for his frivolous comment?

    Not fit to be a speck of dust on the Mahathma’s slippers, this fellow accuses the APOSTLE OF TRUTH of hypocrisy.

    To a dog that licks, there is no difference between a chekku(oil press) and Siva Lingam(Adorable Deity) goes a Tamil proverb.

    • 0


      In May 1922 Gandhi himself invited the district judge to impose 8 years of imprisonment for sedition charges brought by the British.

      He was sent to prison for 6 years.

      I believe he served all 6 years in prison.

  • 0

    Mandela was recognized as Father of the Nation by all citizens including whites of South Africa.But we have Sinhala Fathers,Tamil fathers and Muslim Vappas. We never had/have a National Leader ( Father) in our country.All papas represent their own race or community but never represent the whole nation.This was the reason for blood sheds, and these papas are also responsible for all kinds of crimes including mass killings of their own citizens in the name of their own community.

    Mandela is extra ordinary and unique and genius of the century.

    I am worrying a lot ………….

    • 0

      Voice of Justice

      “But we have Sinhala Fathers,Tamil fathers and Muslim Vappas.”

      You have missed Christian fathers. Why?

      “We never had/have a National Leader ( Father) in our country”

      VP was the national leader.

      I suggest you find a Veddah mother who will be acceptable to all communities.

  • 0

    Why do commentators to this website criticise people who honestly don’t share their beliefs?
    Bopage, while obviously being one who was misled by the Wijeweeras of this country into an initial belief that the JVP was not a Fascist outfit, chose to leave it when it revealed its true identity.
    Just because he is living in Australia (“in luxury” as some describe anyone who is forced out of Rajapakistan or – previously – Jayewardene-pura) certainly does not, of itself, constitute a disqualification.
    Many of those early JVPers were tortured and killed and it took a degree of bravery that many of their critics cannot ever aspire to for them to have held on to their beliefs as they did. Misguided? Perhaps. Politically naive? Obviously. But legitimate targets of a bunch of boot-lickers to a rotten regime? Certainly not!

  • 0

    Indeed that Dr Lional Bopage’s evaluation of Nelson Mandala reputation of anti-imperalist struggle of People’s South Africa will be diminish!
    Needless to say reputation of history COWARDICE of Dr Bopage’s, image go against Nelson’s courage of long-term leadership which that people of world, has recognized as well as Sri Lanakns.

  • 0

    Before writing a poem on Mandela, Bopage should have written a poem apologising to the near and dear ones all those unfortunate young people whom he and other JVP leaders misled into their graves in 1971. That is the only way he can atone for the blunder to which he contributed Bopage not being in the JVP now does not absolve him of his share in the crime. It was this same party which he helped to found also led a second generation of youth to their deaths in 1988-89.

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