The Young Author

When she was 15, Cissie won the African People's Organisation newspaper award for best poem for a person under 16. Titled "His Mother's Boy", its sentimentality is perhaps to be excused in an adolescent whose talents grew in other directions.

"His Mother's Boy"

Prize Poem

Miss Z Abdurahman

His eyes were bright, his hair was fair,
He was his mother's boy;
He was her pride, her only child,
Her only loving Roy.

Around his neck in flaxen folds
His golden ringlets fell;
His cheek was like the crimson rose,
His eyes like the blue-bell.

She loved her child as life and death,
No sweeter child could find.
Oft in the eve when all was still,
She would instruct his mind.

They lived within a cottage small,
Upon the lonely moor.
Both were proud, and spoke to none
Yet both were very poor.

When children sought his company
On any summer's day;
She'd proudly check the little mites,
And lead him then away.

None saw the boy, he, too, was proud.
He was his mother's boy.
None but her proud and selfish self,
His presence could enjoy.

A sad day dawned, and the happy lad
Lay sick upon his bed;
His crimson cheeks, not turned white,
His curls tangled on his head.

Both day and night she guarded him
With deep maternal care;
She now looked on a faded flower,
Once radiant, rich and fair.

She promised to give her boy to the world,
If ever he recover;
But one winter's night the hour came,
Twixt life and death he hovered.

She knelt beside the pining child
With anxious, tearful eyes.
Oh, God! her boy was sinking fast,
Perhaps would never rise.

Lo! next day when the sun arose
O'er snow-white clouds above,
An angel clad in heavenly robes,
Descended crowned with love.

He smiled, and pointed to the bed,
Where lay the dying boy:
"Your God, he sends me," he gently said,
"To claim your only boy."

All things seemed hushed at the voice of death:
The angel shone with light.
He clasped his hands and gazed above,
Then vanished out of sight.

She gazed upon her child's death-bed.
Where God's gold light once shone;
His soul had passed from death to live [sic],
And she was left alone.

She bowed her head before the Lord.
And yielded up her child;
Gone was her haughty, selfish spirit,
She was humbled, meek and mild.

- Gool, C, "His Mother's Boy", in Everatt, E, 1978, "Zainunnisa (Cissie) Gool, 1897-1963", BA Honours thesis, University of Cape Town, Appendix A


back to the Cissie Gool memorial page

"What I try to do is build a brighter and better population for Cape Town as a whole."
Cissie Gool
Cissie Gool, 1954
Bailey's History Archives


Pictures and promises

In this lesson plan, learners will study some images of Cissie Gool, including an election handbill, a newspaper report and an extract from a poem she wrote when she was a teenager. They will be asked to see how much they can find out about what she was like from this collection of sources.


Lesson plan
You′ll need the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader to view these lesson plans. Download it here.
Archive Photo Gallery
Posters for the "people’s own candidate" and photos from the very public life of Cissie Gool.
Artwork Photo Gallery
Capetonians at play on the inscribed bollards that commemorate the "Jewel of District Six" .
Audio Documentary
Hear how Gool both served and scandalised Cape Town’s Muslim community.
Zoom in on this 360° people-friendly memorial situated on Longmarket Street Pedestrian Mall near parliament.
"Certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg" documentary part 1
Four excerpts from ‘She was certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg,’ by UCT post-graduate student G. Paleker
"Certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg" part 2
Part 2 focuses on Gool as a student and her marriage.
"Certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg" part 3
In Part 3, Gool’s sister-in-law describes listening to her speak at a political event in the Drill Hall
"Certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg" part 4
Gool’s death and funeral brought thousands of mourners onto the streets
Cissie Gool Memorial
Spend some time watching footage of our memorial to Gool, and hear what Cape Town’s residents think of it and the woman it commemorates