Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Mohala cheche

Enlarge poem

Ke utlwuile ka mohala wa cheche
hore mmao wa loya,
Bare hase, la badimo nthwena,
monna enwa o bolailwe ke boloyi.
Ha kea makala nna ngwanana, Motaung,
monna ke nko e metsi.
Mme ke moloyi e moholo
magwole a pudufetse ke ho kgumama.

Hase kwatsi ya nqulase, ke boloyi.
Hlokomela wa welwa ke tora
o ntse o lora o tsamaya;
o ingamangama ke letswalo la feela.
Lefu la setjhaba ke ho hloka tsebo.
Hase thlokahalo ya timjane le umbhejane,
Haho di aha mmele,
masolenyane le oona a ile.

Ma-Aforika lesang ho supa menwana
Motho ka mong ke setswantsho sa mmopi
Nna mme ke lejakane
O loya ka litemana.

Grape Vine (Translation)

I heard from the grapevine
that your mother is a witch.
they say this was not a natural death
This man was bewitched.
I daughter of the Lion clan am not surprised,
a man is a wetnosed god.
My mother is the witch
her knees a worn out from kneeling.

It is not AIDS but witchcraft
be careful the tower of babel can befall you
while you sleep walk.
Complaining with baseless fears.
The death of a nation is in ignorance
not lack of *Timjane and Umbhejane.
There are no nutrients
blood soldiers are also gone.

Africans stop pointing fingers
each human being is an image of God.
My mother is a believer
she can only bewitch you with a bible verse.

*Timjane and Umbhejane are herbal mixtures commonly associated with the treatment of AIDS and miscellaneous illnesses amongst black South Africans

Hale Tsehlana

Featured Poem:

Mankokosane

Enlarge poem

*Mankokosane, pula e ea na
re tla hola neng? **ha tsatsi le chaba

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it warms the aching heart,
it holds away the falling skies.
It wakes up the little girl inside me,
buried beneath tons of make-up
and foreign tongues.

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it makes grandma smile. It tells of nostalgia,
for innocence and purity.

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it’ s the story of our childhood.
A story of dreams to become the best,
of nurses, teachers, doctors,
film stars and mothers of the nation.

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it is healing to the broken dreams,
broken promises of a life
led in concentric circles.

Mankokosane, pula e ea na
re tla hola neng? ha tsatsi le chaba’

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it is a song of hope, it is a song about tomorrow.
It fills the empty heart with fond memories,
It holds away the falling skies,
it wakes the little girl inside me.

*Mankokosane, pula e ea nare tla hola neng?
There is no English translation for `Mankokosane, but some informal sources say it is the name of a rain god. The song also describes the kind of dance Basotho children would do at the beginning of light showers of rain. They skip, hop and sing that: ‘the rain is falling and ask when they will grow up’.
**Ha tsatsi le chaba – when the sun comes up.
This suggests that the children see themselves as little crops that are being watered by the rains and will have become taller when rain the stops falling.

Hale-Tsehlana

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (8)
  • Pride (17)
  • Optimism (4)
  • Anger (6)
  • Delight (3)
  • Inspiration (10)
  • Reflection (4)
  • Captivation (5)
  • Peace (7)
  • Amusement (7)
  • Sorrow (7)
  • Vigour (5)
  • Hope (11)
  • Sadness (14)
  • Fear (10)
  • Jubilation (4)

Comments

  1. I like the poem very much it has actually brought back the childhood memories. I Sesotho poetry upcoming writer and would like to be in touch with Hale Tsehlana. Please advice

    Motlalekgotso Ponya

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Hale Tsehlana is the Faculty Advisor for the Stellenbosch University Poetry Society, which she assisted to establish. She is a published poet and has read and performed her poetry in and around South Africa, India, Germany, UK and South Korea. Her collection titled Poems and Songs from the Mirea was relaunched in August 2007 at a special celebration for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions hosted by the South Africa National Library for the Blind in Grahamstown and it has been published in Braille and Audio. In the face of current debates on multiculturalism and multilingualism in South Africa, this book takes a multimedia and multilingual approach to poetry with English, Afrikaans and Sesotho poems. The book encourages local writers to reach out to marginalized communities who may not be able to read and write; hence it is made into Braille.

She recently translated a children’s book Phapo’s Gift that will be suitable for use in primary schools. She is featured in Ink@ boilingpoint, a collection of poems and essays by women from the Southern tip of Africa, (2004) 2nd edition. Voices from the Free State (2004), an anthology of Prose, Verse & Creative Articles by Indigenous Women and Youth of the Free State Province, and Basadzi Voices, an anthology of poetic writing by young black South African Women, published in 2006 by University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. Hale Tsehlana was selected to attend the November 2007 Asia Africa Literature Festival in Jeonju South Korea and in May 2008 she represented South Africa as one of the 20 young writers selected world wide to participate in the Seoul Young Writers Festival. In 2009, she presented the Words on Water Festival – Stellenbosch Satellite event sponsored & co-hosted by the by the Indian Consulate Cape Town Office & Stellenbosch International office.

Hale Tsehlana

Hale-Tsehlana
Hale-Tsehlana

Biography

Hale Tsehlana is the Faculty Advisor for the Stellenbosch University Poetry Society, which she assisted to establish. She is a published poet and has read and performed her poetry in and around South Africa, India, Germany, UK and South Korea. Her collection titled Poems and Songs from the Mirea was relaunched in August 2007 at a special celebration for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions hosted by the South Africa National Library for the Blind in Grahamstown and it has been published in Braille and Audio. In the face of current debates on multiculturalism and multilingualism in South Africa, this book takes a multimedia and multilingual approach to poetry with English, Afrikaans and Sesotho poems. The book encourages local writers to reach out to marginalized communities who may not be able to read and write; hence it is made into Braille.

She recently translated a children’s book Phapo’s Gift that will be suitable for use in primary schools. She is featured in Ink@ boilingpoint, a collection of poems and essays by women from the Southern tip of Africa, (2004) 2nd edition. Voices from the Free State (2004), an anthology of Prose, Verse & Creative Articles by Indigenous Women and Youth of the Free State Province, and Basadzi Voices, an anthology of poetic writing by young black South African Women, published in 2006 by University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. Hale Tsehlana was selected to attend the November 2007 Asia Africa Literature Festival in Jeonju South Korea and in May 2008 she represented South Africa as one of the 20 young writers selected world wide to participate in the Seoul Young Writers Festival. In 2009, she presented the Words on Water Festival – Stellenbosch Satellite event sponsored & co-hosted by the by the Indian Consulate Cape Town Office & Stellenbosch International office.

Mohala cheche

Enlarge poem

Ke utlwuile ka mohala wa cheche
hore mmao wa loya,
Bare hase, la badimo nthwena,
monna enwa o bolailwe ke boloyi.
Ha kea makala nna ngwanana, Motaung,
monna ke nko e metsi.
Mme ke moloyi e moholo
magwole a pudufetse ke ho kgumama.

Hase kwatsi ya nqulase, ke boloyi.
Hlokomela wa welwa ke tora
o ntse o lora o tsamaya;
o ingamangama ke letswalo la feela.
Lefu la setjhaba ke ho hloka tsebo.
Hase thlokahalo ya timjane le umbhejane,
Haho di aha mmele,
masolenyane le oona a ile.

Ma-Aforika lesang ho supa menwana
Motho ka mong ke setswantsho sa mmopi
Nna mme ke lejakane
O loya ka litemana.

Grape Vine (Translation)

I heard from the grapevine
that your mother is a witch.
they say this was not a natural death
This man was bewitched.
I daughter of the Lion clan am not surprised,
a man is a wetnosed god.
My mother is the witch
her knees a worn out from kneeling.

It is not AIDS but witchcraft
be careful the tower of babel can befall you
while you sleep walk.
Complaining with baseless fears.
The death of a nation is in ignorance
not lack of *Timjane and Umbhejane.
There are no nutrients
blood soldiers are also gone.

Africans stop pointing fingers
each human being is an image of God.
My mother is a believer
she can only bewitch you with a bible verse.

*Timjane and Umbhejane are herbal mixtures commonly associated with the treatment of AIDS and miscellaneous illnesses amongst black South Africans

Featured Poem:

Mankokosane

Enlarge poem

*Mankokosane, pula e ea na
re tla hola neng? **ha tsatsi le chaba

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it warms the aching heart,
it holds away the falling skies.
It wakes up the little girl inside me,
buried beneath tons of make-up
and foreign tongues.

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it makes grandma smile. It tells of nostalgia,
for innocence and purity.

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it’ s the story of our childhood.
A story of dreams to become the best,
of nurses, teachers, doctors,
film stars and mothers of the nation.

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it is healing to the broken dreams,
broken promises of a life
led in concentric circles.

Mankokosane, pula e ea na
re tla hola neng? ha tsatsi le chaba’

Let the sound of ‘Mankokosane play on,
it is a song of hope, it is a song about tomorrow.
It fills the empty heart with fond memories,
It holds away the falling skies,
it wakes the little girl inside me.

*Mankokosane, pula e ea nare tla hola neng?
There is no English translation for `Mankokosane, but some informal sources say it is the name of a rain god. The song also describes the kind of dance Basotho children would do at the beginning of light showers of rain. They skip, hop and sing that: ‘the rain is falling and ask when they will grow up’.
**Ha tsatsi le chaba – when the sun comes up.
This suggests that the children see themselves as little crops that are being watered by the rains and will have become taller when rain the stops falling.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (8)
  • Pride (17)
  • Optimism (4)
  • Anger (6)
  • Delight (3)
  • Inspiration (10)
  • Reflection (4)
  • Captivation (5)
  • Peace (7)
  • Amusement (7)
  • Sorrow (7)
  • Vigour (5)
  • Hope (11)
  • Sadness (14)
  • Fear (10)
  • Jubilation (4)

Mohala cheche

Enlarge poem

Ke utlwuile ka mohala wa cheche
hore mmao wa loya,
Bare hase, la badimo nthwena,
monna enwa o bolailwe ke boloyi.
Ha kea makala nna ngwanana, Motaung,
monna ke nko e metsi.
Mme ke moloyi e moholo
magwole a pudufetse ke ho kgumama.

Hase kwatsi ya nqulase, ke boloyi.
Hlokomela wa welwa ke tora
o ntse o lora o tsamaya;
o ingamangama ke letswalo la feela.
Lefu la setjhaba ke ho hloka tsebo.
Hase thlokahalo ya timjane le umbhejane,
Haho di aha mmele,
masolenyane le oona a ile.

Ma-Aforika lesang ho supa menwana
Motho ka mong ke setswantsho sa mmopi
Nna mme ke lejakane
O loya ka litemana.

Grape Vine (Translation)

I heard from the grapevine
that your mother is a witch.
they say this was not a natural death
This man was bewitched.
I daughter of the Lion clan am not surprised,
a man is a wetnosed god.
My mother is the witch
her knees a worn out from kneeling.

It is not AIDS but witchcraft
be careful the tower of babel can befall you
while you sleep walk.
Complaining with baseless fears.
The death of a nation is in ignorance
not lack of *Timjane and Umbhejane.
There are no nutrients
blood soldiers are also gone.

Africans stop pointing fingers
each human being is an image of God.
My mother is a believer
she can only bewitch you with a bible verse.

*Timjane and Umbhejane are herbal mixtures commonly associated with the treatment of AIDS and miscellaneous illnesses amongst black South Africans

Comments

  1. I like the poem very much it has actually brought back the childhood memories. I Sesotho poetry upcoming writer and would like to be in touch with Hale Tsehlana. Please advice

    Motlalekgotso Ponya

Your email address will not be published.