Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

English

Enlarge poem

I am colonization personified.
The foundation of my being,
my language of thought,
belongs not to those ancestors
whose blood now feeds my freedom,
but to the slave master
whose oppressive bark echoes deep within my mind.

I am colonization personified.
my strengths have died
as I have tried
with Afro centricity exemplified
to show my mother;
whose eyes cry
as they scan the horizon
and leave her with a sigh,
that in her smile
Afrika will never lie.

I am colonization personified.
Read these words
and see this as true.

Thabiso Nkoana

Featured Poem:

Another Conversation with Smalls

Enlarge poem

Early morning.
Interview in Midrand.
Been bumming off friends
for the past three months.
Timberlands, chinos and one of my boys’ shirts,
remix, “For every master of ceremonies.”
All brown
like the Scummyside street soldier I’ve recently become.
Everything ironed.
Smelling like plenty bucks.
Mara ke baizitse ka motshetshe,
double ironed at the top
but still not looking like a flop.
Got to run to the top
of Celliers
get a lift from my moms and pops.
Bradley’s on the couch
ironic
he sleeps with a closed mouth.
Mdogi’s in his bed,
brand new spreads,
dreaming about his next feature.
Yesterday was a three-fold spread
article, editorial and a poster,
boy’s moving up.
Rich Number gave me ten bucks
had to hit the net café,
part of the project plan,
instead we have a loaf of bread and three rand change,
the manager’s going to be deranged.
There is an August chill
a fridgy breeze
and a cloudy cast.
It is 6h49 in the am.
Check the call list.
Mama, 6h24.
Hope they haven’t passed.
“Where must we meet you?”
“Celliers and Walker.”
“Where is that?”
“You know the Engen garage on Walker?
With the Steers?”
“The what?”
She asks her man.
He seems to know the stand.
“Okay ka e bona.”
“Count three robots,
including the ones tsa garage
and I’ll be there.”
Now they are where?
Send a please call me right there
to both folks
so they are aware
of my anxiety
don’t have much time to spare.
The phone rings, Old Man (W)
Shit, they’ve gone
so what’s going on?
“Young man we’re long gone.”
Their knowledge of the Scummyside leaves much to be desired.
What now?
“May I come through
perhaps get some loot?”
He suggests I do.
It’s 7h00 am
now I have to walk to town
then down to Marabastad.
Let’s make this quick.
Pass the House of Mbeki down Troye street
I pass kabo Dee ignore the memories place aside any future possibility
left onto Rissik
Oh, that’s what he meant when he said you don’t turn left.
Past the Sasol garage double up daar ko Freedom straight onto Mears down to Kotze
“Mama le kae?”
“Ke teng wena o kae?”
Answering is a luxury
“Ke bo kae magwenya?”
“Ke ranta.”
Let’s have one
just go tshwarisa mala.
Ga ke tshwere ke tlala
I have the tendency ya go ngala
sometimes le go kwata
temper tantrum nyana,
that can’t be good for an interview.
We gotta be smooth.
You and whose crew?
Shut up Smalls! It’s me and you.
Let’s grab a smoke from the next lady too.
Legwenya le juice.
Turn left into Kotze
everybody’s looking prepared for slavery
others ready for dry cleaning brains.
Cross at the curve
past Rea’s place, Village Garden or Garden Village
right into Meintjies double up nga se Bull Pen around the salon
Hope the gate is open.
It’s closed, but not locked.
Pull with my right hand
just
a
bit
slender five thirty five matsamaya
a ga khathali
ke wayawaya
slip through ignore the dude I’m feeling rude but I’m in a mood
Stay focused on the job dude.
Onto Esselen cross over to the DTI side
We gotta check this Theosophical Society out.
Si sonke, serious with no doubt.
Don’t want to break my stride.
Watch the traffic lights
traffic itself with one eye.
It’s that complication of crossing Nelson Mandela.
Imagine the complication of really crossing Mandela!
Must be looking strange.
Why?
Many eyes are watching, seem to be scrutinizing.
Shut up! You paranoid geekazoid.
Smalls, we must discuss your manners.
Fuck you and your language planners.
Didn’t see the little boy
on the corner of Du Toit
whose old man sells toys.
Left onto Schoeman.
Around the corner is the point of this poetic joint.
It is now 7h25.
School kids are buzzing
they don’t wear blazers
just grey slacks and blue jerseys on their backs
black shoes
and white shirts with collars peeking through.
They all smell like lunchboxes
tsa borotho bo wit
Rama on that bread
palone ka teng
le Orose ka saiteng.
It’s the funniest thing.
These days a lunchbox is found in the pocket
in the form of a bearer bond docket
or maybe just jingling bells.
As I pass the spoilt delinquency
my ears are alerted
the words sound perverted
my mind feels deserted
my heart seeks an aversion,
“Nigga, you gay!”
Yeah, I’m sure they are just playing
and those are words you would find me saying,
but they can’t be over thirteen
and yes, I might be making a big deal
about an issue that to most is not for real
but I am convinced he don’t know what it means
and if he does
it is a media definition of the word nigger
and of the word gay.
Now he has taken an ancestral slave
made him gay
in an offensive way
then directed it at a schoolmate
and it just seems okay.
Then you wonder how a highschool ninja can infiltrate isgila and chop chop chop
without uk’feela.

E mfwethu, the robot is red! What, you wanna get dead? It’s all that shit in your head. Who gives a fuck what that kid said? He didn’t even swear. Okay, maybe the gay thing was a unfair. I’d hate to be called a fag with a dick up his ass in front of a bitch with a hot ass.
I don’t know Smalls,
it just felt bad…

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Comments

  1. Thabiso’s work is by far some of the greatest works I have experienced if anything its teaching and addressing issues that we sometimes don’t have the words to express. Long Live to his truth.

    amanda jennings

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Born in Kagiso, raised in Diepkloof, polished in Scummyside and studying in Cape Town. Thabiso is a self proclaimed wordsmith exploring the multiverse one syllable at a time.

Thabiso Nkoana

Biography

Born in Kagiso, raised in Diepkloof, polished in Scummyside and studying in Cape Town. Thabiso is a self proclaimed wordsmith exploring the multiverse one syllable at a time.

English

Enlarge poem

I am colonization personified.
The foundation of my being,
my language of thought,
belongs not to those ancestors
whose blood now feeds my freedom,
but to the slave master
whose oppressive bark echoes deep within my mind.

I am colonization personified.
my strengths have died
as I have tried
with Afro centricity exemplified
to show my mother;
whose eyes cry
as they scan the horizon
and leave her with a sigh,
that in her smile
Afrika will never lie.

I am colonization personified.
Read these words
and see this as true.

Featured Poem:

Another Conversation with Smalls

Enlarge poem

Early morning.
Interview in Midrand.
Been bumming off friends
for the past three months.
Timberlands, chinos and one of my boys’ shirts,
remix, “For every master of ceremonies.”
All brown
like the Scummyside street soldier I’ve recently become.
Everything ironed.
Smelling like plenty bucks.
Mara ke baizitse ka motshetshe,
double ironed at the top
but still not looking like a flop.
Got to run to the top
of Celliers
get a lift from my moms and pops.
Bradley’s on the couch
ironic
he sleeps with a closed mouth.
Mdogi’s in his bed,
brand new spreads,
dreaming about his next feature.
Yesterday was a three-fold spread
article, editorial and a poster,
boy’s moving up.
Rich Number gave me ten bucks
had to hit the net café,
part of the project plan,
instead we have a loaf of bread and three rand change,
the manager’s going to be deranged.
There is an August chill
a fridgy breeze
and a cloudy cast.
It is 6h49 in the am.
Check the call list.
Mama, 6h24.
Hope they haven’t passed.
“Where must we meet you?”
“Celliers and Walker.”
“Where is that?”
“You know the Engen garage on Walker?
With the Steers?”
“The what?”
She asks her man.
He seems to know the stand.
“Okay ka e bona.”
“Count three robots,
including the ones tsa garage
and I’ll be there.”
Now they are where?
Send a please call me right there
to both folks
so they are aware
of my anxiety
don’t have much time to spare.
The phone rings, Old Man (W)
Shit, they’ve gone
so what’s going on?
“Young man we’re long gone.”
Their knowledge of the Scummyside leaves much to be desired.
What now?
“May I come through
perhaps get some loot?”
He suggests I do.
It’s 7h00 am
now I have to walk to town
then down to Marabastad.
Let’s make this quick.
Pass the House of Mbeki down Troye street
I pass kabo Dee ignore the memories place aside any future possibility
left onto Rissik
Oh, that’s what he meant when he said you don’t turn left.
Past the Sasol garage double up daar ko Freedom straight onto Mears down to Kotze
“Mama le kae?”
“Ke teng wena o kae?”
Answering is a luxury
“Ke bo kae magwenya?”
“Ke ranta.”
Let’s have one
just go tshwarisa mala.
Ga ke tshwere ke tlala
I have the tendency ya go ngala
sometimes le go kwata
temper tantrum nyana,
that can’t be good for an interview.
We gotta be smooth.
You and whose crew?
Shut up Smalls! It’s me and you.
Let’s grab a smoke from the next lady too.
Legwenya le juice.
Turn left into Kotze
everybody’s looking prepared for slavery
others ready for dry cleaning brains.
Cross at the curve
past Rea’s place, Village Garden or Garden Village
right into Meintjies double up nga se Bull Pen around the salon
Hope the gate is open.
It’s closed, but not locked.
Pull with my right hand
just
a
bit
slender five thirty five matsamaya
a ga khathali
ke wayawaya
slip through ignore the dude I’m feeling rude but I’m in a mood
Stay focused on the job dude.
Onto Esselen cross over to the DTI side
We gotta check this Theosophical Society out.
Si sonke, serious with no doubt.
Don’t want to break my stride.
Watch the traffic lights
traffic itself with one eye.
It’s that complication of crossing Nelson Mandela.
Imagine the complication of really crossing Mandela!
Must be looking strange.
Why?
Many eyes are watching, seem to be scrutinizing.
Shut up! You paranoid geekazoid.
Smalls, we must discuss your manners.
Fuck you and your language planners.
Didn’t see the little boy
on the corner of Du Toit
whose old man sells toys.
Left onto Schoeman.
Around the corner is the point of this poetic joint.
It is now 7h25.
School kids are buzzing
they don’t wear blazers
just grey slacks and blue jerseys on their backs
black shoes
and white shirts with collars peeking through.
They all smell like lunchboxes
tsa borotho bo wit
Rama on that bread
palone ka teng
le Orose ka saiteng.
It’s the funniest thing.
These days a lunchbox is found in the pocket
in the form of a bearer bond docket
or maybe just jingling bells.
As I pass the spoilt delinquency
my ears are alerted
the words sound perverted
my mind feels deserted
my heart seeks an aversion,
“Nigga, you gay!”
Yeah, I’m sure they are just playing
and those are words you would find me saying,
but they can’t be over thirteen
and yes, I might be making a big deal
about an issue that to most is not for real
but I am convinced he don’t know what it means
and if he does
it is a media definition of the word nigger
and of the word gay.
Now he has taken an ancestral slave
made him gay
in an offensive way
then directed it at a schoolmate
and it just seems okay.
Then you wonder how a highschool ninja can infiltrate isgila and chop chop chop
without uk’feela.

E mfwethu, the robot is red! What, you wanna get dead? It’s all that shit in your head. Who gives a fuck what that kid said? He didn’t even swear. Okay, maybe the gay thing was a unfair. I’d hate to be called a fag with a dick up his ass in front of a bitch with a hot ass.
I don’t know Smalls,
it just felt bad…

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

English

Enlarge poem

I am colonization personified.
The foundation of my being,
my language of thought,
belongs not to those ancestors
whose blood now feeds my freedom,
but to the slave master
whose oppressive bark echoes deep within my mind.

I am colonization personified.
my strengths have died
as I have tried
with Afro centricity exemplified
to show my mother;
whose eyes cry
as they scan the horizon
and leave her with a sigh,
that in her smile
Afrika will never lie.

I am colonization personified.
Read these words
and see this as true.

Comments

  1. Thabiso’s work is by far some of the greatest works I have experienced if anything its teaching and addressing issues that we sometimes don’t have the words to express. Long Live to his truth.

    amanda jennings

Your email address will not be published.