Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

We were young then

Enlarge poem

We were young then and our land
Was dark
Menacing figures haunted
Our peace
It is always night when our eyes do not see clearly,
Where was the tree of freedom?
The mountain of hope where was it?
In the night black like our ancestors entrails
We slept and dreamt
Oh! What dreams!!
They came for Dikgang and took him away
He was only 15 years old
They came for Ngila he was only 17 years old
They took him
They came for teenage dreams of freedom
They thought by locking them up
Behind bars
On the island with yelping
Waves and gathering storms
The dreams will be drowned
And morning will come with repentant
Sinners who only dreamt of love
Of peace
Of freedom for their beloved land
Now I forgot why we dreamt
Why they dreamt too
Those eerie nights in the methane gassed stomachs
Of recalcitrant vampires who sucked our blood
With long straws of bones
Here in our land!
I do not remember why
I smiled within maximum security cages
In foreign lands
Nor sang with lips and throats of hope
Within the bleeding lacerated stomachs
Of incarceration
I do not remember!
I do not remember
Why I left my mother
Pining away in a four roomed house
For her starry eyed son who could only see
The sun and stars of freedom

2.
I have dipped my index
Finger in the bleeding wound
On my side
To write the quivers of my brain
To capture the asymmetries of power
In our wasteland
My poem bled endless drops into a grail!
With deft fingers of love
I extricated a bullet from my eye
Dazed and in agony
I still maintained a vision of hope
For our wasteland of dreams!
With my lacerated tongue
I painted Guernicas of nightmares
At the very moment they became dreams!
I have become a stalker
Following in the wake of the passage
Of those who walk on dreams
Turn them into corpses with staring eyes
In our wasteland
My anger strains to balance
On a gory galloping horse
With a poisonous mane and spikes hoofs
That tramples on the innocent
But I will not die for anyone
Nor kill for anyone
Neither for Julius Ceaser
Nor Mwalimu
Despite my undying love for them|”

3.
Suddenly
I walk on a slack cord of electric wire
In a raging storm
Balancing with a metal pole forged
From wrought iron
From the bowels of our red earth
That speaks to me with shivering currents
Through my bloodstream
Pulsating
As I cross the river of innocence and reticence
In the bleeding face of our landscape
Of dreams!
Come, please come, let us renegotiate
Our compact with our nights
Of dreams
Tease shards of broken glass from the eyes of
Nightmares so that they may see
Visions of new dreams
In our land

4.
I rode on several mares last night
My legs straddling on slippery manes
Cutting through the air with murderous speed
Into dawn
It dawned on me that I was wasting my time
And that ivory towers are closed already
With iron horse shoes nailed to the door
Of the chapel
But I continued my ghostings
Despite!

Pitika Ntuli

Featured Poem:

Time and space

Enlarge poem

We speak of colonial encounters
Now in the most modern, post colonial intersections
We had our space in our own time
They invaded our space
Reordered our time
It took us time and blood to regain our space
Yet we still exist in the in between spaces of articulation
Balancing history and geography
Time and time again
In time they invaded the spaces of our minds
And filled our tongues with Anglophone and Francophone
Is it not time that Africa must rise?
Africa on your marks, get set, ready, go!
Run Africa run
We had emerged from those dark times
When the apartheid regime run rampage on our shores
We broke diplomatic relations with God
And began to praying to our prime monster PW Botha
Saying P W Bother is my shepherd;
I am in want
He maketh me to lie down
In street corners
He leadeth me beside still waters of rebellion
He disturbs my soul:
He leadeth me in the path of insurrection
For apartheid’s sake
Yea though I walk through the valleys
And shadows of inflation
I will not fear his evil
Though he is against me
His laws and hallucinations
Infuriate me
He prepareth reduction in my salary
In the presence of my enemies
He anointest my head with batons
My anger runneth over
Surely, unemployment and uprisings
Will follow him all the days of his administration
And I will carry my AK 47
Forever and ever
Ratata!ratata! ra-ta-ta-ta11

Pitika Ntuli

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (1)
  • Pride (4)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (1)
  • Inspiration (1)
  • Reflection (2)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

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Biography

Pitika Ntuli is an internationally renowned poet, fine artist and academic. He is widely sought-after as a public speaker and commentator on arts and culture, indigenous knowledge systems and African scholarship. As an acclaimed poet, his poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.

Ntuli holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in New York, USA. He spent his exile years in the U.K. where he helped establish one of Europe’s leading poetry circuits, Apples & Snakes in London. While in London, Ntuli also lectured in Fine Art and English Literature and he worked closely with Amnesty International and Index-on-Censorship.

Ntuli returned to South Africa at the end of 1994 and lectured at the former University of the Witwatersrand before joining the staff of the former University of Durban-Westville in 1995 as Head of the Fine Art Department.

Pitika Ntuli has held several portfolios on boards including the BAT Centre Trust, Universal Creative Arts and Artists for Human Rights. Ntuli was also co-director of the Awesome Africa Music Festival. He is currently Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

Pitika Ntuli has performed his poetry with leading musicians like the late Dudu Pukwana, Mervin Africa, Julian Bahula, Lucky Ranku and Eugene Skeef and has toured Europe several times with his poetry. His poetry has received critical acclaim around the world. In 2004, Ntuli performed at the inauguration of former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Also a sculptor, Ntuli recently held a solo exhibition Scent of Invisible Footprints in Moments of Complexity at Museum Africa in Johannesburg. His book Scent of Invisible Footprints: The Sculpture of Pitika Ntuli is also an exploration of his art form.

Pitika Ntuli

Pitika Ntuli
Pitika Ntuli

Biography

Pitika Ntuli is an internationally renowned poet, fine artist and academic. He is widely sought-after as a public speaker and commentator on arts and culture, indigenous knowledge systems and African scholarship. As an acclaimed poet, his poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.

Ntuli holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in New York, USA. He spent his exile years in the U.K. where he helped establish one of Europe’s leading poetry circuits, Apples & Snakes in London. While in London, Ntuli also lectured in Fine Art and English Literature and he worked closely with Amnesty International and Index-on-Censorship.

Ntuli returned to South Africa at the end of 1994 and lectured at the former University of the Witwatersrand before joining the staff of the former University of Durban-Westville in 1995 as Head of the Fine Art Department.

Pitika Ntuli has held several portfolios on boards including the BAT Centre Trust, Universal Creative Arts and Artists for Human Rights. Ntuli was also co-director of the Awesome Africa Music Festival. He is currently Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

Pitika Ntuli has performed his poetry with leading musicians like the late Dudu Pukwana, Mervin Africa, Julian Bahula, Lucky Ranku and Eugene Skeef and has toured Europe several times with his poetry. His poetry has received critical acclaim around the world. In 2004, Ntuli performed at the inauguration of former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Also a sculptor, Ntuli recently held a solo exhibition Scent of Invisible Footprints in Moments of Complexity at Museum Africa in Johannesburg. His book Scent of Invisible Footprints: The Sculpture of Pitika Ntuli is also an exploration of his art form.

We were young then

Enlarge poem

We were young then and our land
Was dark
Menacing figures haunted
Our peace
It is always night when our eyes do not see clearly,
Where was the tree of freedom?
The mountain of hope where was it?
In the night black like our ancestors entrails
We slept and dreamt
Oh! What dreams!!
They came for Dikgang and took him away
He was only 15 years old
They came for Ngila he was only 17 years old
They took him
They came for teenage dreams of freedom
They thought by locking them up
Behind bars
On the island with yelping
Waves and gathering storms
The dreams will be drowned
And morning will come with repentant
Sinners who only dreamt of love
Of peace
Of freedom for their beloved land
Now I forgot why we dreamt
Why they dreamt too
Those eerie nights in the methane gassed stomachs
Of recalcitrant vampires who sucked our blood
With long straws of bones
Here in our land!
I do not remember why
I smiled within maximum security cages
In foreign lands
Nor sang with lips and throats of hope
Within the bleeding lacerated stomachs
Of incarceration
I do not remember!
I do not remember
Why I left my mother
Pining away in a four roomed house
For her starry eyed son who could only see
The sun and stars of freedom

2.
I have dipped my index
Finger in the bleeding wound
On my side
To write the quivers of my brain
To capture the asymmetries of power
In our wasteland
My poem bled endless drops into a grail!
With deft fingers of love
I extricated a bullet from my eye
Dazed and in agony
I still maintained a vision of hope
For our wasteland of dreams!
With my lacerated tongue
I painted Guernicas of nightmares
At the very moment they became dreams!
I have become a stalker
Following in the wake of the passage
Of those who walk on dreams
Turn them into corpses with staring eyes
In our wasteland
My anger strains to balance
On a gory galloping horse
With a poisonous mane and spikes hoofs
That tramples on the innocent
But I will not die for anyone
Nor kill for anyone
Neither for Julius Ceaser
Nor Mwalimu
Despite my undying love for them|”

3.
Suddenly
I walk on a slack cord of electric wire
In a raging storm
Balancing with a metal pole forged
From wrought iron
From the bowels of our red earth
That speaks to me with shivering currents
Through my bloodstream
Pulsating
As I cross the river of innocence and reticence
In the bleeding face of our landscape
Of dreams!
Come, please come, let us renegotiate
Our compact with our nights
Of dreams
Tease shards of broken glass from the eyes of
Nightmares so that they may see
Visions of new dreams
In our land

4.
I rode on several mares last night
My legs straddling on slippery manes
Cutting through the air with murderous speed
Into dawn
It dawned on me that I was wasting my time
And that ivory towers are closed already
With iron horse shoes nailed to the door
Of the chapel
But I continued my ghostings
Despite!

Featured Poem:

Time and space

Enlarge poem

We speak of colonial encounters
Now in the most modern, post colonial intersections
We had our space in our own time
They invaded our space
Reordered our time
It took us time and blood to regain our space
Yet we still exist in the in between spaces of articulation
Balancing history and geography
Time and time again
In time they invaded the spaces of our minds
And filled our tongues with Anglophone and Francophone
Is it not time that Africa must rise?
Africa on your marks, get set, ready, go!
Run Africa run
We had emerged from those dark times
When the apartheid regime run rampage on our shores
We broke diplomatic relations with God
And began to praying to our prime monster PW Botha
Saying P W Bother is my shepherd;
I am in want
He maketh me to lie down
In street corners
He leadeth me beside still waters of rebellion
He disturbs my soul:
He leadeth me in the path of insurrection
For apartheid’s sake
Yea though I walk through the valleys
And shadows of inflation
I will not fear his evil
Though he is against me
His laws and hallucinations
Infuriate me
He prepareth reduction in my salary
In the presence of my enemies
He anointest my head with batons
My anger runneth over
Surely, unemployment and uprisings
Will follow him all the days of his administration
And I will carry my AK 47
Forever and ever
Ratata!ratata! ra-ta-ta-ta11

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (1)
  • Pride (4)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (1)
  • Inspiration (1)
  • Reflection (2)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

We were young then

Enlarge poem

We were young then and our land
Was dark
Menacing figures haunted
Our peace
It is always night when our eyes do not see clearly,
Where was the tree of freedom?
The mountain of hope where was it?
In the night black like our ancestors entrails
We slept and dreamt
Oh! What dreams!!
They came for Dikgang and took him away
He was only 15 years old
They came for Ngila he was only 17 years old
They took him
They came for teenage dreams of freedom
They thought by locking them up
Behind bars
On the island with yelping
Waves and gathering storms
The dreams will be drowned
And morning will come with repentant
Sinners who only dreamt of love
Of peace
Of freedom for their beloved land
Now I forgot why we dreamt
Why they dreamt too
Those eerie nights in the methane gassed stomachs
Of recalcitrant vampires who sucked our blood
With long straws of bones
Here in our land!
I do not remember why
I smiled within maximum security cages
In foreign lands
Nor sang with lips and throats of hope
Within the bleeding lacerated stomachs
Of incarceration
I do not remember!
I do not remember
Why I left my mother
Pining away in a four roomed house
For her starry eyed son who could only see
The sun and stars of freedom

2.
I have dipped my index
Finger in the bleeding wound
On my side
To write the quivers of my brain
To capture the asymmetries of power
In our wasteland
My poem bled endless drops into a grail!
With deft fingers of love
I extricated a bullet from my eye
Dazed and in agony
I still maintained a vision of hope
For our wasteland of dreams!
With my lacerated tongue
I painted Guernicas of nightmares
At the very moment they became dreams!
I have become a stalker
Following in the wake of the passage
Of those who walk on dreams
Turn them into corpses with staring eyes
In our wasteland
My anger strains to balance
On a gory galloping horse
With a poisonous mane and spikes hoofs
That tramples on the innocent
But I will not die for anyone
Nor kill for anyone
Neither for Julius Ceaser
Nor Mwalimu
Despite my undying love for them|”

3.
Suddenly
I walk on a slack cord of electric wire
In a raging storm
Balancing with a metal pole forged
From wrought iron
From the bowels of our red earth
That speaks to me with shivering currents
Through my bloodstream
Pulsating
As I cross the river of innocence and reticence
In the bleeding face of our landscape
Of dreams!
Come, please come, let us renegotiate
Our compact with our nights
Of dreams
Tease shards of broken glass from the eyes of
Nightmares so that they may see
Visions of new dreams
In our land

4.
I rode on several mares last night
My legs straddling on slippery manes
Cutting through the air with murderous speed
Into dawn
It dawned on me that I was wasting my time
And that ivory towers are closed already
With iron horse shoes nailed to the door
Of the chapel
But I continued my ghostings
Despite!

Comments

Your email address will not be published.