Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

I do destructive things

Enlarge poem

Must the whole world STOP because I’m feeling sad…Hell yes
Even for an untimed 60 seconds with a therapist
I crave the listening of a look or an unintentional caress
It’s this need from when I was three I consistently address
When I critically analyse the reason why
I do destructive things
I’m trapped in a washing machine cycle spinning out dry I’m sorrys’ hopelessly drowning and I’m taking you all with me
I sometimes cry so heavily my face begins to sag but smiling simultaneously
So seeing nothing wrong the world walks on through my puddles in their selfish individuality
I want to scream my tears are liquid glass melted from shattered dreams
In simplicity its an expression of my deepest feelings
But I’ve learnt to cry in a dark corner of the room because your pity silences yes I do destructive things
I needed a shoulder to cry on but all I had was my sleeve I can’t believe I have finally decided to leave you
I am empowered by my choice knowing if I stay you’ll destroy me I’m at the door with such clarity as you beg me not to go
And the first ground shaking step…awakens regret. And the abuse and the profuse excuses I was so used to I forget. Universally it’s not just me, suffering is glamorized like it was poetry. Look at Novels on Black history it’s easy to view things in retrospect, I suspect.
But I still walked backwards tripping over myself, self destruction neatly packed because I do destructive things.

Mbali Kgosidintsi

Featured Poem:

I stand between my Africa and me

Enlarge poem

I once did an interview and the headline read ‘Botswana born beauty’,
Pride beamed inside me despite the fact that I was born in Durban actually, but lets overlook that, it’s just a slight technicality.
I can feel I’m at home as soon as I’ve crossed Tlokweng border posts and I’m welcomed by the nasal Dumelang of a lazy customs official
Thinking of it now, I miss home. I don’t go back often though, only on special occasions, this time stamped as a South African citizen.
You know what I’ve always thought as I’m filling out forms, it’s a pity they don’t have SADC as a nationality,
It would certainly make my life easy.
With my half Ndebele aunts and uncles I’d just write “from all of the above” next to Country of Origin.
My life would be simple
I wouldn’t have to launch into a recited summary of my personal history when asked, so where are you from?
Oh no, my mom, Zulu-born went into exile and married a Motswana man my dad,11 years and three kids later they divorced. We came back, got S.A. passports, and had to transform,
Issues of identity became blessings of diversity, interesting stories and a collage of poetic childhood memories.
I remember the dust rising streets of scorching hot Gaborone, we grew up catching raindrops in orange plastic jugs,
Our tiny feet would thomp heavily on the ground in a rain dance, not just for fun but necessity,
Seriously, we were so thirsty, two savannahs short of a drought. Yes that’s how I’d describe my home city
But we survived and felt vibrantly alive in my desert home that I deserted a long time ago

The Motswana in me comes through in my laid back sticky pap and morogo attitude ga oka mpona ke rapame mo stoeping oseka wantshwenya thlemma kea ithetsa as batswana do,
Mangifuna kodwa nginga khuluma isizulu and that is respectfully due to umama’s bedtime stories which she beat into our hearts like a steady drum, always ending too soon in ncos ncos yaphela, we were still too young to see that she preserved our mother tongue

I have ancestors all over the show.
bloodlines spilling across borderposts.
I have a cousin Mazuba from Zambia,
That didn’t prevent blood wars fought with family members right next door in Zimbabwe,

There’s more, I even have heritage in Kenya apparently!
It’s funny a friend once told me, after we had just met, her name is Awino, she smiled and said,
You know Mbali, you have the pride and nature of a Luo, She told me that Mbali isn’t a flower it means ‘far’ in Swahili. It moved me in a way I can’t explain because far is how I feel

I am running so hard cutting across geographical invisible lines to stay safe inside the right one, i.e the one that’s convenient at the time
I the nouveau African, I wear dresses handmade and mailed by a friend from Mali,
I deshell prawns with my Mozambican friends as we engage in debate about third world poverty
I say bonjour ca va to parking guards, laugh and ask will they vote Kabila if they can get back to the DRC?
In the meantime I’m calculating where to say I’m from, to whom, to seem closer to them to feel more African, without being too true about my family lineage,
Turns out my gogo is from the wrong type of Zimbo, so I hide that, and emphasise my new found Eritrean friend.
playing it easy meanwhile I’m seriously worried, the thought running through my mind is like, what if I end up dating some guy from Nigeria
I am Xenophobia…
I am Africa not African condemning instead of celebrating my diversity. I am the new face of Africa, cutting my nose to spite my face. I am the Hutu calling myself Tutsi in conflict with my shared heritage, instead of opening my eyes and seeing that I am self colonized

In my African fantasy I stand in the shade of a Baobab tree its smell seeps through the black and protrudes through the juice of a Marula perfectly.
Only thing wrong with this picture is that no one speaks ‘African’ in the restaurants I frequent, this new found revolution is recent.
Truth is, the who I am, is a Cape Town city girl consuming what is termed the coca cola culture. You can feel it, it’s in the long street fever where we merge on a level where we can all relate because we’ve all bought shares in this new South Africa
We’re part of a culture that sells that all is well. We have mixed race International friends but that cosmo city ends in the CBD. Fifteen minutes out of town there’s a war going on. didn’t you read the headlines of the murdered Somailians. Africans killing each other what, what next? Come on, it’s ridiculous. We don’t’ need xenophobia, what, with race, class, issues and HIV we can sustain our hate for each other for at least another century.

It’s a fear of what we don’t understand mentality it has to stop!
Go back home you Refugee, because we choose to forget a time when we too weren’t free,
We are shouting makwere kwere take our jobs, because we have millions unemployed,
It’s the foreigners who sell drugs, because we need to blame others for what we have destroyed
Me included, I am struggling to choose sides because I want to be seen in my stoned cherry outfit as the one of us of the African renaissance
Shouting proudly African silently, because I don’t want to be teased that I’m from upper campus. Running, panting, ten years later after pass laws holding my green ID book up.
I want to stop, pause, sink my bare feet into red African soil. Trace my blood line with my big toe, create a map no matter how far back, of my people, and find my roots so I can stand.
Dream of an Africa I claim as mine, I will fight for this continent with fierce pride because it is only I that stands between my Africa and me.

Mbali-Kgosidintsi

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (3)
  • Pride (13)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (5)
  • Inspiration (10)
  • Reflection (12)
  • Captivation (2)
  • Peace (3)
  • Amusement (2)
  • Sorrow (3)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (8)
  • Sadness (6)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (1)

Comments

  1. Here I sit in Sydney, Australia listening to this amazing piece of African poetry. Inspirational young poet, your reading was so inspiring, I will seek out more.

    John Tomlin
  2. It’s very impressive your consciousness of an African identity, that goes Beyond nation, state and race.
    Good poetry!

    enzo strazzera

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Mbali Kgosidintsi graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2004 with a B.A in Theatre and Performance and was on the Deans Merit List for Drama. Her professional debut was on the Maynardville stage where she played the young lead of Hero in
Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Fred Abrehemse.

She then went on to do Tall Horse with The Handspring Puppet Company, which opened at The Baxter Theatre in Cape Town 2005, before touring to the Theatre de Welt Festival in Stuttgart Germany, followed by an eight state American tour at various prestigious venues, from the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York to The Kennedy Centre in Washington DC.

In the same year, she joined The Mother Tongue Project who collaborated with members of the Darling community to workshop and produce Breathing Space for the Darling Festival. On her return from Darling she staged her first production, By word of Mouth- A night of Lace and Petals which combines dance, music, poetry and theatrical aspects to tell a story featuring Rite 2 Speak. She is one of the members of Rite 2 Speak, a female poetry collective that addresses identity in contemporary South Africa. They have performed at prestigious events ranging from National Women’s Day 2008 to Heritage Day in Portugal and Urban Voices Festival 2009.

Mbali played the lead of Electra in Yael Farber’s Molora which opened in Yokohama, Japan 2006. She was recruited as one of four writers / adapters to develop two productions for the London/South Africa based company Portobello productions. The writing team, directed by Mark Donford-May, adapted A Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo and it went on to win the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical Revival.

Mbali was awarded a writing residency on the island of Sylt, Germany to develop her autobiographical novel, which formed the basis for her one-woman show, which was then produced by The Mother Tongue Project entitled Tseleng The Baggage of Bags written and performed by Mbali and directed by Sara Matchett. It won the ovation award at The National Grahamstown festival 2010. Mbali was invited to participate in Poetry workshops hosted by Badilisha Poetry X-change featuring internationally acclaimed poets and selected to participate in a two-week workshop with internationally acclaimed poet, Stacey Ann Chin where they investigated themes of the self and the body.

She recently played the character of a modern day Medea in award winning playwright and human rights activist, Ariel Dorfman’s Purgatorio, at a play reading hosted by the Baxter Theatre.

Mbali continues to write and perform poetry and is working on her first novel.

Mbali Kgosidintsi

Mbali-Kgosidintsi
Mbali-Kgosidintsi

Biography

Mbali Kgosidintsi graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2004 with a B.A in Theatre and Performance and was on the Deans Merit List for Drama. Her professional debut was on the Maynardville stage where she played the young lead of Hero in
Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Fred Abrehemse.

She then went on to do Tall Horse with The Handspring Puppet Company, which opened at The Baxter Theatre in Cape Town 2005, before touring to the Theatre de Welt Festival in Stuttgart Germany, followed by an eight state American tour at various prestigious venues, from the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York to The Kennedy Centre in Washington DC.

In the same year, she joined The Mother Tongue Project who collaborated with members of the Darling community to workshop and produce Breathing Space for the Darling Festival. On her return from Darling she staged her first production, By word of Mouth- A night of Lace and Petals which combines dance, music, poetry and theatrical aspects to tell a story featuring Rite 2 Speak. She is one of the members of Rite 2 Speak, a female poetry collective that addresses identity in contemporary South Africa. They have performed at prestigious events ranging from National Women’s Day 2008 to Heritage Day in Portugal and Urban Voices Festival 2009.

Mbali played the lead of Electra in Yael Farber’s Molora which opened in Yokohama, Japan 2006. She was recruited as one of four writers / adapters to develop two productions for the London/South Africa based company Portobello productions. The writing team, directed by Mark Donford-May, adapted A Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo and it went on to win the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical Revival.

Mbali was awarded a writing residency on the island of Sylt, Germany to develop her autobiographical novel, which formed the basis for her one-woman show, which was then produced by The Mother Tongue Project entitled Tseleng The Baggage of Bags written and performed by Mbali and directed by Sara Matchett. It won the ovation award at The National Grahamstown festival 2010. Mbali was invited to participate in Poetry workshops hosted by Badilisha Poetry X-change featuring internationally acclaimed poets and selected to participate in a two-week workshop with internationally acclaimed poet, Stacey Ann Chin where they investigated themes of the self and the body.

She recently played the character of a modern day Medea in award winning playwright and human rights activist, Ariel Dorfman’s Purgatorio, at a play reading hosted by the Baxter Theatre.

Mbali continues to write and perform poetry and is working on her first novel.

I do destructive things

Enlarge poem

Must the whole world STOP because I’m feeling sad…Hell yes
Even for an untimed 60 seconds with a therapist
I crave the listening of a look or an unintentional caress
It’s this need from when I was three I consistently address
When I critically analyse the reason why
I do destructive things
I’m trapped in a washing machine cycle spinning out dry I’m sorrys’ hopelessly drowning and I’m taking you all with me
I sometimes cry so heavily my face begins to sag but smiling simultaneously
So seeing nothing wrong the world walks on through my puddles in their selfish individuality
I want to scream my tears are liquid glass melted from shattered dreams
In simplicity its an expression of my deepest feelings
But I’ve learnt to cry in a dark corner of the room because your pity silences yes I do destructive things
I needed a shoulder to cry on but all I had was my sleeve I can’t believe I have finally decided to leave you
I am empowered by my choice knowing if I stay you’ll destroy me I’m at the door with such clarity as you beg me not to go
And the first ground shaking step…awakens regret. And the abuse and the profuse excuses I was so used to I forget. Universally it’s not just me, suffering is glamorized like it was poetry. Look at Novels on Black history it’s easy to view things in retrospect, I suspect.
But I still walked backwards tripping over myself, self destruction neatly packed because I do destructive things.

Featured Poem:

I stand between my Africa and me

Enlarge poem

I once did an interview and the headline read ‘Botswana born beauty’,
Pride beamed inside me despite the fact that I was born in Durban actually, but lets overlook that, it’s just a slight technicality.
I can feel I’m at home as soon as I’ve crossed Tlokweng border posts and I’m welcomed by the nasal Dumelang of a lazy customs official
Thinking of it now, I miss home. I don’t go back often though, only on special occasions, this time stamped as a South African citizen.
You know what I’ve always thought as I’m filling out forms, it’s a pity they don’t have SADC as a nationality,
It would certainly make my life easy.
With my half Ndebele aunts and uncles I’d just write “from all of the above” next to Country of Origin.
My life would be simple
I wouldn’t have to launch into a recited summary of my personal history when asked, so where are you from?
Oh no, my mom, Zulu-born went into exile and married a Motswana man my dad,11 years and three kids later they divorced. We came back, got S.A. passports, and had to transform,
Issues of identity became blessings of diversity, interesting stories and a collage of poetic childhood memories.
I remember the dust rising streets of scorching hot Gaborone, we grew up catching raindrops in orange plastic jugs,
Our tiny feet would thomp heavily on the ground in a rain dance, not just for fun but necessity,
Seriously, we were so thirsty, two savannahs short of a drought. Yes that’s how I’d describe my home city
But we survived and felt vibrantly alive in my desert home that I deserted a long time ago

The Motswana in me comes through in my laid back sticky pap and morogo attitude ga oka mpona ke rapame mo stoeping oseka wantshwenya thlemma kea ithetsa as batswana do,
Mangifuna kodwa nginga khuluma isizulu and that is respectfully due to umama’s bedtime stories which she beat into our hearts like a steady drum, always ending too soon in ncos ncos yaphela, we were still too young to see that she preserved our mother tongue

I have ancestors all over the show.
bloodlines spilling across borderposts.
I have a cousin Mazuba from Zambia,
That didn’t prevent blood wars fought with family members right next door in Zimbabwe,

There’s more, I even have heritage in Kenya apparently!
It’s funny a friend once told me, after we had just met, her name is Awino, she smiled and said,
You know Mbali, you have the pride and nature of a Luo, She told me that Mbali isn’t a flower it means ‘far’ in Swahili. It moved me in a way I can’t explain because far is how I feel

I am running so hard cutting across geographical invisible lines to stay safe inside the right one, i.e the one that’s convenient at the time
I the nouveau African, I wear dresses handmade and mailed by a friend from Mali,
I deshell prawns with my Mozambican friends as we engage in debate about third world poverty
I say bonjour ca va to parking guards, laugh and ask will they vote Kabila if they can get back to the DRC?
In the meantime I’m calculating where to say I’m from, to whom, to seem closer to them to feel more African, without being too true about my family lineage,
Turns out my gogo is from the wrong type of Zimbo, so I hide that, and emphasise my new found Eritrean friend.
playing it easy meanwhile I’m seriously worried, the thought running through my mind is like, what if I end up dating some guy from Nigeria
I am Xenophobia…
I am Africa not African condemning instead of celebrating my diversity. I am the new face of Africa, cutting my nose to spite my face. I am the Hutu calling myself Tutsi in conflict with my shared heritage, instead of opening my eyes and seeing that I am self colonized

In my African fantasy I stand in the shade of a Baobab tree its smell seeps through the black and protrudes through the juice of a Marula perfectly.
Only thing wrong with this picture is that no one speaks ‘African’ in the restaurants I frequent, this new found revolution is recent.
Truth is, the who I am, is a Cape Town city girl consuming what is termed the coca cola culture. You can feel it, it’s in the long street fever where we merge on a level where we can all relate because we’ve all bought shares in this new South Africa
We’re part of a culture that sells that all is well. We have mixed race International friends but that cosmo city ends in the CBD. Fifteen minutes out of town there’s a war going on. didn’t you read the headlines of the murdered Somailians. Africans killing each other what, what next? Come on, it’s ridiculous. We don’t’ need xenophobia, what, with race, class, issues and HIV we can sustain our hate for each other for at least another century.

It’s a fear of what we don’t understand mentality it has to stop!
Go back home you Refugee, because we choose to forget a time when we too weren’t free,
We are shouting makwere kwere take our jobs, because we have millions unemployed,
It’s the foreigners who sell drugs, because we need to blame others for what we have destroyed
Me included, I am struggling to choose sides because I want to be seen in my stoned cherry outfit as the one of us of the African renaissance
Shouting proudly African silently, because I don’t want to be teased that I’m from upper campus. Running, panting, ten years later after pass laws holding my green ID book up.
I want to stop, pause, sink my bare feet into red African soil. Trace my blood line with my big toe, create a map no matter how far back, of my people, and find my roots so I can stand.
Dream of an Africa I claim as mine, I will fight for this continent with fierce pride because it is only I that stands between my Africa and me.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (3)
  • Pride (13)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (5)
  • Inspiration (10)
  • Reflection (12)
  • Captivation (2)
  • Peace (3)
  • Amusement (2)
  • Sorrow (3)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (8)
  • Sadness (6)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (1)

I do destructive things

Enlarge poem

Must the whole world STOP because I’m feeling sad…Hell yes
Even for an untimed 60 seconds with a therapist
I crave the listening of a look or an unintentional caress
It’s this need from when I was three I consistently address
When I critically analyse the reason why
I do destructive things
I’m trapped in a washing machine cycle spinning out dry I’m sorrys’ hopelessly drowning and I’m taking you all with me
I sometimes cry so heavily my face begins to sag but smiling simultaneously
So seeing nothing wrong the world walks on through my puddles in their selfish individuality
I want to scream my tears are liquid glass melted from shattered dreams
In simplicity its an expression of my deepest feelings
But I’ve learnt to cry in a dark corner of the room because your pity silences yes I do destructive things
I needed a shoulder to cry on but all I had was my sleeve I can’t believe I have finally decided to leave you
I am empowered by my choice knowing if I stay you’ll destroy me I’m at the door with such clarity as you beg me not to go
And the first ground shaking step…awakens regret. And the abuse and the profuse excuses I was so used to I forget. Universally it’s not just me, suffering is glamorized like it was poetry. Look at Novels on Black history it’s easy to view things in retrospect, I suspect.
But I still walked backwards tripping over myself, self destruction neatly packed because I do destructive things.

Comments

  1. Here I sit in Sydney, Australia listening to this amazing piece of African poetry. Inspirational young poet, your reading was so inspiring, I will seek out more.

    John Tomlin
  2. It’s very impressive your consciousness of an African identity, that goes Beyond nation, state and race.
    Good poetry!

    enzo strazzera

Your email address will not be published.