Home ADVANCED LEVEL LIVE AND LET DIE by Kundi Faraja

LIVE AND LET DIE by Kundi Faraja

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LIVE AND LET DIE by Kundi Faraja

LIVE AND LET DIE Kundi Faraja

One says that

My children are dwarfs

That no one seems taller

Than the other.

That they never take a bath

That they are soiled.

That they eat lice

From their clothes

Let them eat, brothers,

Until the system changes,

Until exploitation ends;

Let them eat brother,

Because we are on the way

To build Ujamaa

But, at present,

The system has not changed.

Let them eat, brother,

Because the rich nations

Are not yet ready

To die a little

So that the poor nation may live:

Let them eat, brother,

Because the rich man

Is not yet ready

To die a little

So that the poor man may live

Let them drink water,

Let them eat air,

Let them digest the sunshine

Because that is what

I can afford to buy.

Meanwhile I wait

For Uhuru to flower,

For Uhuru to come

When the time is ripe.

Let them eat brother,

Because the rich man

Is convinced that

It’s because I’m lazy

That they don’t have food.

That they don’t have good health.

That they wear rags.

And that their house

Is like an abandoned hut

Let them eat brother

Because the rich man

Thinks that it’s because

I don’t plan my family

Let them eat brother.

Because the rich man

Does not like to hear

That he is rich

Because of me

That I work hard,

But for him and

Not for myself

That it’s only because

I’m a slave of a system

That I lead a poor life.

INTRODUCTION

As usual Kundi Faraja is speaking for the lower class. The poet disabuses the idea of vicious cycle of poverty which asserts that ‘the poor are poor because they are poor’. For him he shows that the poor are so because somebody is behind it.

Most of the time, it is because the rich (men or countries) have exploited the resources and efforts of the poor that they have remained at the bottom.

So the poet shows that there is a need for the upper class to sacrifice their interests a little so that the poor people may also have something to push their lives.

THEMATIC ANALYSIS

The poem has successfully depicted various themes that justify the condition of common people in our country.

The central theme is poverty and the following themes justify the causes of this poverty.

These include

  • exploitation
  • classes
  • awareness
  • bad leadership
  • neo-colonialism

POVERTY

The poem discusses how poverty dehumanises the dignity of people and makes them slaves for the rest of their lives. The poet complains because people keep on mocking his/her children that they are dwarfs, dirty and hungry.

However he shows that it is the exploitative system that keeps him/her at the bottom.

Until the system changes,

Until exploitation ends

He also shows that it is even harder to get food although he states it in a more exaggerated manner. He does all this however to show his dissatisfaction towards the system.

Let them drink water,

Let them eat air.

Let them digest the sunshine

Because that is what

I can afford to buy

The excuses of the rich are that, the poor man is poor because he does not plan his family and is lazy.

EXPLOITATION

The poem shows that one of the reasons we have poor people is because the rich are feeding on their efforts and resources. In any society where the bourgeoisie class exploits the proletariats the poor live miserably.

The poet shows that there is exploitation at individual level, national level and international level.

At individual level the poet says

That he is rich

Because of me

That I work hard,

But for him and

Not for myself

At national level he shows that the system of the country also exploits its citizens and there are no changes yet.

Until the system changes,

Until exploitation ends

At international level he shows that the rich nations also exploit the poor nations.

Because the rich nations

Are not yet ready

To die a little

So that the poor nation may live

CLASSES

Another issue discussed is the issue of stratification on economic basis. The poet shows that there are two contrasting classes in this society-The rich and the poor.

He goes a step ahead by showing that the poor are so because of the exploitative system that favours the rich at the expenses of the poor.

He says:

Because the rich man

Is not yet ready

To die a little

So that the poor man may live

There are rich and poor people in the society. Nevertheless, these rich people have become parasites who feed on the blood of the poor. So the poor get poorer and poorer while the rich get richer and richer. The poet uses the figurative language that the rich ought to die a little that the poor may live.

Actually he does not refer to death as we literally know it, but at least that the rich should be ready to consider the poor people by helping them to get their basic needs.

NEO-COLONIALISM

The poet shows the cases of neo-colonialism and how it has put a powerful influence on the poor nations. The poet shows that at international level there are also rich and poor nations. But the poor nations are in the state of poverty because the rich nations keep on exploiting them.

The rich nations, like rich people are not read to sacrifice some of their demands so that the poor nations may rise out of poverty. The poet says

Because the rich nations

Are not yet ready

To die a little

So that the poor nation may live

AWARENESS

The poet is aware that his poverty is caused by exploitation by the rich people. He is aware that his efforts are wasted because he is not working for his own welfare but his efforts benefit the rich. However the sad thing is that he is not ready to do anything to change his current state.

He is patiently and optimistically waiting for the system to change by chance. That is not a good approach for building the future. People must be active and take measures to solve the problems facing them.

Let them eat, brothers,

Until the system changes,

Until exploitation ends

He believes that the time is not yet ready for him to enjoy the fruits of independence and he says.

Meanwhile I wait

For Uhuru to flower,

For Uhuru to come

When the time is ripe.

BAD LEADERSHIP

The poet has also discussed about bad leadership. Rich people especially leaders and rich nations have been exploiting the resources and efforts of poor nations but they claim that it’s because poor nations are lazy, have no family planning etc that’s why we are poor.

They don’t remember that they are rich because of exploiting our efforts and resources. He says

Because the rich man

Does not like to hear

That he is rich

Because of me

That I work hard,

But for him and

Not for myself

IRRESPONSIBILITY

The ruling class is irresponsible as they exploit the efforts of the poor and claim that the poor are lazy and they don’t plan their family that is why they are poor, have no food in the house, and have poor health and so on.

Irresponsibility is also seen on the side of the citizens. While the persona knows that he is poor because of the rich person/nation. He is not ready to take any measures to change this status. This is irresponsibility.

He believes that the time will come when the system will change automatically.

Until the system changes,

Until exploitation ends

MALNUTRITION

The children are suffering from malnutrition as a result they have impaired growth. They look like dwarfs and that no one looks taller than the other.

This is a result of eating poor diet or lack of proper balanced diet.  The poet uses strong images to show his dissatisfaction. He says

Let them eat air,

Let them digest the sunshine

Because that is what

I can afford to buy.

The fact that the persona says his children eat lice, air, and digest the sunshine, is an emotional appeal to show his deep dissatisfaction about the current situation.

GUIDING QUESTIONS

What is the meaning of the title of the poem; “Live and Let Die”?

The poet uses a paradoxical statement that some people should die that others may live. It may seem ironical but it does not refer to the literal death that we know.

It implies that the rich should sacrifice some of their luxury and unnecessary wants so that the poor may get at least the basic needs.

What is the tone and mood of the poem?

The tone is lamenting, and unhappy toward the rich people and rich nations. So it creates a sad and sympathetic mood to the readers/ listeners.

Who is the persona? How do you know?

The persona is a citizen from poor class who is a victim of the system. This is evident as he says;

I’m a slave of a system

That I lead a poor life.

Comment on the rhyming pattern

The poem has irregular rhyming pattern with exception of few lines (8-11) that seem to rhyme accidentally.

From their clothes

Let them eat, brothers

Until the system changes,

Until exploitation ends

Comment on the Figures of speech

(a) Overstatement/exaggeration. The poet exaggerates some facts in this way; that his children eat lice, air and sunshine.

Let them eat air.

Let them digest the sunshine

(b) Personification. The rich and poor nations are regarded as people who can live or die.

Because the rich nations/Are not yet ready/To die a little/

So that the poor nation may live

(c) Parallelism

Let them drink water,

Let them eat air.

Let them digest the sunshine

(d) Simile

And that their house is like an abandoned hut

(e) Barbarism (using more than one language)

To build ujamaa (ujamaa is a Swahili word which means socialism)

For uhuru to flower (uhuru a Swahili word which means independence)

(f) Metaphor

I’m a slave of the system

(g) Anaphora

That they never take a bath

That they are soiled.

That they eat lice

6) Is the poem relevant to Tanzania?

Oh yes it is! In Tanzania we have these two basic classes of poor and rich.

Poverty is scattered everywhere. And most of the time it is due to exploitation of the poor by the rich class.

There are people who are aware of the exploitation but take no measures/actions.

Our nation is also suffering under the heat of neo-colonialism.

Bad leadership and irresponsibility are common in African countries.

7) What lessons do you get?

The rich people should stop exploiting the poor people.

Classes are an obstacle to national development.

Poor countries should be careful with the tricks used by rich nations to exploit our resources.

The poor should take measures to change the system instead of waiting for the system to change automatically.

Bad leadership and irresponsibility are obstacles to individual and national development.

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