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Joy Roxborough

Ode to Enrico Stennett


What do you do when you don’t belong?

What do you do when your skin colour’s wrong?

What do you do when you try to escape?

But find the same trouble, just in a new shape?


Let’s ask Mr. Enrico Stennett, aka Mr. Magic Feet

Yes, Siree, our Mr. Stennett, never did he miss a beat.


First up, he loved to challenge oppression, not by using his fists to fight

Instead he always sought for solutions when things were not happening right.


And as a mixed race child, he’d been hurt by racism

And knew the harsh sting of unfair criticism

But did he get bitter? Oh, no, he did not!

He campaigned for others and duly forgot


To be held in the chains of his own past and pain;

He was a man on a mission with so much to gain.

He joined unions and movements; formed a League of his own

And through them became a man of renown,

Fighting for rights for people here and abroad

With activists all over, he formed common cords.


In England, he founded the first black newspaper

He called it ‘The African Voice’;

He was astute enough to know that the media

Was a powerful tool of freedom and choice.


Apart from the paper, his voice could often be heard

On the street near Hyde Corner where he issued the word

That racist injustice, oppression and strife

Was not a good thing in anyone’s life.


But Enrico wasn’t all serious, he knew how to have fun;

At the close of the day when campaigning was done,

He’d be dancing in nightclubs; he was second to none.

That’s why he was called Mr. Magic Feet,

He could rock to a tune and jive to a beat.


Men like Enrico are hard to come by

The world lost an icon when his time came to die

But we celebrate his life and his legacy lives on

And we’ll continue his struggle till the battle is won.

And of no less importance are his wives, also gone

Behind every good man, a good woman shone.


So, here’s to Enrico, please all raise your glasses

To the hero who tirelessly fought for the masses;

And let us encourage the youth to take note

That just like Enrico they can too can vote

For a world that is just, equal and fair

Action by action, we’ll certainly get there.

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