Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

How to be The Other Woman

Enlarge poem

You must learn to carry children who cannot fit in your womb
And just as quickly let them go.
You must learn to be a bride without a groom;
Wear a veil and walk slow,
Impossibly slow,
So painfully slow that you die before you reach the altar
Because no man is waiting for you there.

You must learn to hold a pot, a kitchen cloth, a broom
For the times when phone calls are answered in another room.
You must remember that you are first a woman
Before you are a woman who is not put first.

You must learn that he is not the water to your thirst
And that you are not cursed
And that your heart will not burst.

You must learn your place.
You must plaster indifference on your face
And say “It’s okay, it’s okay” so many times that it sounds like your heart beating,
Tastes like a meal you are re-heating,
Looks like an enemy you are defeating
For the hundredth time
For the same crime.

You must learn her name
And say it until your mouth bleeds.
You must go to Home Affairs during your lunch break
And cry like a child

Because you cannot bear to not be her.

You must learn to knit while you sit on your bed.
Create something that can be destroyed by the pulling of a thread.
Weave loss intricately into the fibre of your being.
Stitch pain into that tapestry
Because you are the other woman:
Not flesh of his flesh
But a thorn in the flesh of another woman.

Nkateko Masinga

Featured Poem:

Betrayal

Enlarge poem

We betrayed our kin
when we burnt
(alive)
our brother
because he was birthed on foreign soil.
We betrayed our skin
when a man’s charred remains
became our own
because we refused him in his wholeness.
His hair was too peppercorn,
his skin too charcoal,
his Africa too North
for our acceptance
so he died on the street,
engulfed in the flames of our rejection.

The next day,
we bowed our heads in shame
when the journalists came.
We shattered our mirrors
(we deserved the bad luck)
but the river redrew our faces.
We became monsters overnight.
Caricatures of ourselves at our worst
became us.

The last man who left me asked,
“Why am I so choked by goodbye?”
I tore away from him and wept.
In Africa it is better to say goodbye
(even if you choke)
than to stay and watch your flesh burn,
stay and see your skin fall off and leave behind
the bones of your forefathers.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (10)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (3)
  • Delight (4)
  • Inspiration (4)
  • Reflection (10)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (5)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

  1. … I love it… Betrayed speaks an unquenchable truth… even as Africa abandons drinking from the banks of the Nile to have her fill from the blood of her children that flows down our streets.

    Lone Poet
  2. Nkateko’s material is so raw and honest, there are no embellishments, she says it like it is. Her style of writing is reminiscent of the work of legends like Maya Angelou. A rare gem. Keep it up sister!✊

    Tsakane

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Nkateko Masinga is a medical student, poet and writer. She has been writing poetry since primary school and her earlier work has been published in various school yearbooks and anthologies.
Her more recent work has been published in an anthology called “Dear South Africa” in conjunction with Poetry Potion, an online poetry journal in South Africa.

In August 2015, she entered the Speak Out Loud Youth Poetry Competition in Pretoria and was placed in the top 30. In the same month, Nkateko self-published her first poetry chapbook, titled “The Sin In My Blackness.”

She is currently working on an audiobook to accompany her chapbook, as well as writing new poems for her second chapbook.

Nkateko Masinga

Biography

Nkateko Masinga is a medical student, poet and writer. She has been writing poetry since primary school and her earlier work has been published in various school yearbooks and anthologies.
Her more recent work has been published in an anthology called “Dear South Africa” in conjunction with Poetry Potion, an online poetry journal in South Africa.

In August 2015, she entered the Speak Out Loud Youth Poetry Competition in Pretoria and was placed in the top 30. In the same month, Nkateko self-published her first poetry chapbook, titled “The Sin In My Blackness.”

She is currently working on an audiobook to accompany her chapbook, as well as writing new poems for her second chapbook.

How to be The Other Woman

Enlarge poem

You must learn to carry children who cannot fit in your womb
And just as quickly let them go.
You must learn to be a bride without a groom;
Wear a veil and walk slow,
Impossibly slow,
So painfully slow that you die before you reach the altar
Because no man is waiting for you there.

You must learn to hold a pot, a kitchen cloth, a broom
For the times when phone calls are answered in another room.
You must remember that you are first a woman
Before you are a woman who is not put first.

You must learn that he is not the water to your thirst
And that you are not cursed
And that your heart will not burst.

You must learn your place.
You must plaster indifference on your face
And say “It’s okay, it’s okay” so many times that it sounds like your heart beating,
Tastes like a meal you are re-heating,
Looks like an enemy you are defeating
For the hundredth time
For the same crime.

You must learn her name
And say it until your mouth bleeds.
You must go to Home Affairs during your lunch break
And cry like a child

Because you cannot bear to not be her.

You must learn to knit while you sit on your bed.
Create something that can be destroyed by the pulling of a thread.
Weave loss intricately into the fibre of your being.
Stitch pain into that tapestry
Because you are the other woman:
Not flesh of his flesh
But a thorn in the flesh of another woman.

Featured Poem:

Betrayal

Enlarge poem

We betrayed our kin
when we burnt
(alive)
our brother
because he was birthed on foreign soil.
We betrayed our skin
when a man’s charred remains
became our own
because we refused him in his wholeness.
His hair was too peppercorn,
his skin too charcoal,
his Africa too North
for our acceptance
so he died on the street,
engulfed in the flames of our rejection.

The next day,
we bowed our heads in shame
when the journalists came.
We shattered our mirrors
(we deserved the bad luck)
but the river redrew our faces.
We became monsters overnight.
Caricatures of ourselves at our worst
became us.

The last man who left me asked,
“Why am I so choked by goodbye?”
I tore away from him and wept.
In Africa it is better to say goodbye
(even if you choke)
than to stay and watch your flesh burn,
stay and see your skin fall off and leave behind
the bones of your forefathers.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (10)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (3)
  • Delight (4)
  • Inspiration (4)
  • Reflection (10)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (5)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

How to be The Other Woman

Enlarge poem

You must learn to carry children who cannot fit in your womb
And just as quickly let them go.
You must learn to be a bride without a groom;
Wear a veil and walk slow,
Impossibly slow,
So painfully slow that you die before you reach the altar
Because no man is waiting for you there.

You must learn to hold a pot, a kitchen cloth, a broom
For the times when phone calls are answered in another room.
You must remember that you are first a woman
Before you are a woman who is not put first.

You must learn that he is not the water to your thirst
And that you are not cursed
And that your heart will not burst.

You must learn your place.
You must plaster indifference on your face
And say “It’s okay, it’s okay” so many times that it sounds like your heart beating,
Tastes like a meal you are re-heating,
Looks like an enemy you are defeating
For the hundredth time
For the same crime.

You must learn her name
And say it until your mouth bleeds.
You must go to Home Affairs during your lunch break
And cry like a child

Because you cannot bear to not be her.

You must learn to knit while you sit on your bed.
Create something that can be destroyed by the pulling of a thread.
Weave loss intricately into the fibre of your being.
Stitch pain into that tapestry
Because you are the other woman:
Not flesh of his flesh
But a thorn in the flesh of another woman.

Comments

  1. … I love it… Betrayed speaks an unquenchable truth… even as Africa abandons drinking from the banks of the Nile to have her fill from the blood of her children that flows down our streets.

    Lone Poet
  2. Nkateko’s material is so raw and honest, there are no embellishments, she says it like it is. Her style of writing is reminiscent of the work of legends like Maya Angelou. A rare gem. Keep it up sister!✊

    Tsakane

Your email address will not be published.