Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Johannesburg – Let my People Glow

Enlarge poem

All the dream-chasers
The skyscrapers that raise us
The moon that brings out the best in us
And stars that pave the way for us
The highways, the one-way-streets
The nightclubs, the township beats
Every child who dares to be:
Opens books to bring new worlds to reach
Those who carry your skyline
In their spine, like me
Who love all these brown girl
Poems into you, intimately
This city could have your back
Like Julius Caesar’s was had
Or hold you up high, infinitely
Power cuts and power trips
Because there is no place like home
Jozi Maboneng keeps its own kind of electricity

So, Johannesburg let my people glow

All them, fathers, husbands
And sons who rise before dawn
Them beat rock to the tune
Of abandoned wives & children’s cries
Mines them deep for an untoward sacrifice…
Can you dig that?
How history a monument of a man,
A maggot can make
Can’t nothing suit your tie
When you’re up to your neck in shackles
That your soul can’t shake
Time turns you into a slow death
At a fast pace
But, we’re born of miners and railway workers
Who built this city on their backs

Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track
Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track
Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track

And go for gold
But this blood is tired of running
So, Johannesburg, let my people glow
And, History, you let my people go

Born beneath the boot of a world
Which earthquakes on our very souls
Likes us more spineless than whole
Forces us to wear brown skin like an apology

But Johannesburg,
I have lived and loved in the way that you let my people glow

And I know
We often question the mercy of a supreme power
But have you seen how even clouds commit suicide
And still resurrect as flowers?
Each time a hero dies, we dance our cries
Into a giant’s shoulders
Because gravity has never ever known
How to hold us
So, glow
Like the stars have nothing on your shine
In time
Love us encyclopaedic
Catalogue the survival in our spines
Reference our pulse as grand centuries of footsteps
The tenacity to strive
The audacity of breath
Glow
And I swear, one day you will know that
There is a sacred sermon in the tone of your skin
The way sun rays unashamedly sing
Their fellowship to your melanin
The music that moulds brown her’s and hymns’ –
Reminds you, that it has always been light –
That worships you as kin

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day
Here comes the sun, little darling
Now, Johannesburg goddamn – let my people glow

Lebohang Nova Masango

Featured Poem:

Two

Enlarge poem

A smile
That would shine like the last line of cocaine.
– Jericho Brown, Obituary

i.

If you can’t be the wife, be the weakness
Instead. What is air to him

When the full-bodied melody of adultery
makes sin sing?

The baptism in we black magic women’s throats
has whipped the world for centuries

My hunger for you is only music, baby,
I come from women who gather the gospel

And the shrapnel of shattered vows
In the same breath –

Not ending up fucked up and forlorn like them
Is what I am prone to do

Women like me shoulder the shadow
And the schadenfreude

I want to hurt you almost as much as I want to have you
I Nina the night with an incantatory Blues

“And I don’t care if you don’t want me I am yours right now”
I put a spell on you

ii.

Your body covers mine like night time. I realise
That I prefer my men brown-bodied, borrowed

And tired. Well-wrung by the strains of Joburg
And dammit – these music men,

They like to have a vice so he calls me Cocaine
I be blowing a good thing. Maybe

A sousaphone, the way limbs curl about him
Demand all the life in his exhale

Thighs, open and hoping. Between them,
All the goodness that Summer promises

The sweltering heat of wet lips, beckon
The calling of moist velvet to drown his thirst in

That warmth of home, of fire
And flesh. Where hunger goes to die

Where music goes to rise. Me moaning
And screaming an orchestra anew

My orgasm is the rupture of daybreak
On his mouth, a horizon, begging.

Holds me on his tongue like a high note
Like the word fuck,

My clitoris is the small fruit that begat the world
For him, I am delicious, each time

But being the secret beneath a music man’s tongue
Will leave you ravenous. You realise

That you do not compel him to language
You realise
That we all tend to hum while doing something insignificant

iii.

“And, didn’t I blow your mind this time,
didn’t I?”

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (18)
  • Pride (15)
  • Optimism (8)
  • Anger (3)
  • Delight (4)
  • Inspiration (14)
  • Reflection (11)
  • Captivation (22)
  • Peace (12)
  • Amusement (6)
  • Sorrow (5)
  • Vigour (5)
  • Hope (8)
  • Sadness (15)
  • Fear (6)
  • Jubilation (4)

Comments

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Lebohang ‘Nova’ Masango is a writer, poet, activist, feminist and speaker – living her best life, in love and service to girls and women. She writes for Essays of Africa magazine and the acclaimed website for teen girls, Rookie Mag. She is currently featured on musician, Reason’s song “Endurance” alongside Hip Hop Pantsula. She is the ambassador of the ‘Zazi’ campaign, the official sexual health programme for girls and young women across all higher education institutions in South Africa. She has also collaborated with Zonke Dikana on the ‘Zazi’ theme song. She was the youth representative at the UNAIDS’ November 2014 meetings in Geneva, Switzerland to address sexual health programming concerns with global stakeholders. Nova has been invited as a speaker at the 7th Annual South African AIDS Conference in Durban. She has been published in the July/ August 2015 edition of the renowned Poetry Foundation’s publication, Poetry Magazine.

Nova is regularly called upon to provide social commentary on varying topics including Feminism, identity politics and youth culture. She has been featured on Kaya FM, Radio 702, Y FM, Power FM and on television shows such as SABC 1’s Shift, eNCA’s live debate with Trudi Makhaya and performed on the country’s most popular music programme, Live Amp. She was a panellist on Global Shapers Johannesburg’s #AreOurGirlsback? panel with Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Steve Letsike and Live Mag’s #VIPDebateclub with Panashe Chigumadzi. She has been published in Mike Alfred’s “Twelve Plus One” – an anthology containing the works and interviews of several South African poets and in 2014, she wrote the Nelson Mandela tribute that was performed at the Metro FM Music Awards. Nova is currently a member of recently founded organisation of South African feminists, the Feminist Stokvel and is studying towards her Honours degree in Social Anthropology.

Twitter: @NovaHerself
Instagram: NovaHerself
Tumblr: www.novaherself.tumblr.com

Lebohang Nova Masango

Biography

Lebohang ‘Nova’ Masango is a writer, poet, activist, feminist and speaker – living her best life, in love and service to girls and women. She writes for Essays of Africa magazine and the acclaimed website for teen girls, Rookie Mag. She is currently featured on musician, Reason’s song “Endurance” alongside Hip Hop Pantsula. She is the ambassador of the ‘Zazi’ campaign, the official sexual health programme for girls and young women across all higher education institutions in South Africa. She has also collaborated with Zonke Dikana on the ‘Zazi’ theme song. She was the youth representative at the UNAIDS’ November 2014 meetings in Geneva, Switzerland to address sexual health programming concerns with global stakeholders. Nova has been invited as a speaker at the 7th Annual South African AIDS Conference in Durban. She has been published in the July/ August 2015 edition of the renowned Poetry Foundation’s publication, Poetry Magazine.

Nova is regularly called upon to provide social commentary on varying topics including Feminism, identity politics and youth culture. She has been featured on Kaya FM, Radio 702, Y FM, Power FM and on television shows such as SABC 1’s Shift, eNCA’s live debate with Trudi Makhaya and performed on the country’s most popular music programme, Live Amp. She was a panellist on Global Shapers Johannesburg’s #AreOurGirlsback? panel with Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Steve Letsike and Live Mag’s #VIPDebateclub with Panashe Chigumadzi. She has been published in Mike Alfred’s “Twelve Plus One” – an anthology containing the works and interviews of several South African poets and in 2014, she wrote the Nelson Mandela tribute that was performed at the Metro FM Music Awards. Nova is currently a member of recently founded organisation of South African feminists, the Feminist Stokvel and is studying towards her Honours degree in Social Anthropology.

Twitter: @NovaHerself
Instagram: NovaHerself
Tumblr: www.novaherself.tumblr.com

Johannesburg – Let my People Glow

Enlarge poem

All the dream-chasers
The skyscrapers that raise us
The moon that brings out the best in us
And stars that pave the way for us
The highways, the one-way-streets
The nightclubs, the township beats
Every child who dares to be:
Opens books to bring new worlds to reach
Those who carry your skyline
In their spine, like me
Who love all these brown girl
Poems into you, intimately
This city could have your back
Like Julius Caesar’s was had
Or hold you up high, infinitely
Power cuts and power trips
Because there is no place like home
Jozi Maboneng keeps its own kind of electricity

So, Johannesburg let my people glow

All them, fathers, husbands
And sons who rise before dawn
Them beat rock to the tune
Of abandoned wives & children’s cries
Mines them deep for an untoward sacrifice…
Can you dig that?
How history a monument of a man,
A maggot can make
Can’t nothing suit your tie
When you’re up to your neck in shackles
That your soul can’t shake
Time turns you into a slow death
At a fast pace
But, we’re born of miners and railway workers
Who built this city on their backs

Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track
Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track
Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track

And go for gold
But this blood is tired of running
So, Johannesburg, let my people glow
And, History, you let my people go

Born beneath the boot of a world
Which earthquakes on our very souls
Likes us more spineless than whole
Forces us to wear brown skin like an apology

But Johannesburg,
I have lived and loved in the way that you let my people glow

And I know
We often question the mercy of a supreme power
But have you seen how even clouds commit suicide
And still resurrect as flowers?
Each time a hero dies, we dance our cries
Into a giant’s shoulders
Because gravity has never ever known
How to hold us
So, glow
Like the stars have nothing on your shine
In time
Love us encyclopaedic
Catalogue the survival in our spines
Reference our pulse as grand centuries of footsteps
The tenacity to strive
The audacity of breath
Glow
And I swear, one day you will know that
There is a sacred sermon in the tone of your skin
The way sun rays unashamedly sing
Their fellowship to your melanin
The music that moulds brown her’s and hymns’ –
Reminds you, that it has always been light –
That worships you as kin

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day
Here comes the sun, little darling
Now, Johannesburg goddamn – let my people glow

Featured Poem:

Two

Enlarge poem

A smile
That would shine like the last line of cocaine.
– Jericho Brown, Obituary

i.

If you can’t be the wife, be the weakness
Instead. What is air to him

When the full-bodied melody of adultery
makes sin sing?

The baptism in we black magic women’s throats
has whipped the world for centuries

My hunger for you is only music, baby,
I come from women who gather the gospel

And the shrapnel of shattered vows
In the same breath –

Not ending up fucked up and forlorn like them
Is what I am prone to do

Women like me shoulder the shadow
And the schadenfreude

I want to hurt you almost as much as I want to have you
I Nina the night with an incantatory Blues

“And I don’t care if you don’t want me I am yours right now”
I put a spell on you

ii.

Your body covers mine like night time. I realise
That I prefer my men brown-bodied, borrowed

And tired. Well-wrung by the strains of Joburg
And dammit – these music men,

They like to have a vice so he calls me Cocaine
I be blowing a good thing. Maybe

A sousaphone, the way limbs curl about him
Demand all the life in his exhale

Thighs, open and hoping. Between them,
All the goodness that Summer promises

The sweltering heat of wet lips, beckon
The calling of moist velvet to drown his thirst in

That warmth of home, of fire
And flesh. Where hunger goes to die

Where music goes to rise. Me moaning
And screaming an orchestra anew

My orgasm is the rupture of daybreak
On his mouth, a horizon, begging.

Holds me on his tongue like a high note
Like the word fuck,

My clitoris is the small fruit that begat the world
For him, I am delicious, each time

But being the secret beneath a music man’s tongue
Will leave you ravenous. You realise

That you do not compel him to language
You realise
That we all tend to hum while doing something insignificant

iii.

“And, didn’t I blow your mind this time,
didn’t I?”

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (18)
  • Pride (15)
  • Optimism (8)
  • Anger (3)
  • Delight (4)
  • Inspiration (14)
  • Reflection (11)
  • Captivation (22)
  • Peace (12)
  • Amusement (6)
  • Sorrow (5)
  • Vigour (5)
  • Hope (8)
  • Sadness (15)
  • Fear (6)
  • Jubilation (4)

Johannesburg – Let my People Glow

Enlarge poem

All the dream-chasers
The skyscrapers that raise us
The moon that brings out the best in us
And stars that pave the way for us
The highways, the one-way-streets
The nightclubs, the township beats
Every child who dares to be:
Opens books to bring new worlds to reach
Those who carry your skyline
In their spine, like me
Who love all these brown girl
Poems into you, intimately
This city could have your back
Like Julius Caesar’s was had
Or hold you up high, infinitely
Power cuts and power trips
Because there is no place like home
Jozi Maboneng keeps its own kind of electricity

So, Johannesburg let my people glow

All them, fathers, husbands
And sons who rise before dawn
Them beat rock to the tune
Of abandoned wives & children’s cries
Mines them deep for an untoward sacrifice…
Can you dig that?
How history a monument of a man,
A maggot can make
Can’t nothing suit your tie
When you’re up to your neck in shackles
That your soul can’t shake
Time turns you into a slow death
At a fast pace
But, we’re born of miners and railway workers
Who built this city on their backs

Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track
Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track
Bless their souls, they dug deep so we could stay on track

And go for gold
But this blood is tired of running
So, Johannesburg, let my people glow
And, History, you let my people go

Born beneath the boot of a world
Which earthquakes on our very souls
Likes us more spineless than whole
Forces us to wear brown skin like an apology

But Johannesburg,
I have lived and loved in the way that you let my people glow

And I know
We often question the mercy of a supreme power
But have you seen how even clouds commit suicide
And still resurrect as flowers?
Each time a hero dies, we dance our cries
Into a giant’s shoulders
Because gravity has never ever known
How to hold us
So, glow
Like the stars have nothing on your shine
In time
Love us encyclopaedic
Catalogue the survival in our spines
Reference our pulse as grand centuries of footsteps
The tenacity to strive
The audacity of breath
Glow
And I swear, one day you will know that
There is a sacred sermon in the tone of your skin
The way sun rays unashamedly sing
Their fellowship to your melanin
The music that moulds brown her’s and hymns’ –
Reminds you, that it has always been light –
That worships you as kin

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day
Here comes the sun, little darling
Now, Johannesburg goddamn – let my people glow

Comments

Your email address will not be published.