Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Knots

Enlarge poem

As a womyn, I know the duties I owe to the world
We are words thrown into the mouths of those who can risk being heard
My bruised larynx has never spoken false but I tie myself in knots to avoid landing myself on the ears of those who conform
We are moving air sinking, each step a kick
Petals picked from stems for the pleasure of men
Separated from breathing
If, perhaps, you should ‘love him not’ you may find your colourful decorating the unswept floor with its final breath, a clutch of your chest
Eyes, dripping with an unending silence
You will weep your eyelids into closed obedience
Your colour will flitter in the wind
And his search for his one will spend you
Until you are depleted
Draw yourself up
Shape yourself like purpose; posture as if to point into the near distance,
We are only arm lengths from recovered
No. They cannot have us
We are history books as yet undiscovered
Their itty-bitty fingers will get cut just turning the cover
While we may have been drawn on and torn and faded…
We remain here
Womyn
More vivid than memory is
And he will want to write/author you as if you weren’t penned centuries ago by your great great grandparents
Uyinganekwane yokhokho
Nengqondo ekhaliphile
Nekhanda eliqinile
You will be heard
Whether you shout or you tame them
Our power is not known yet
One day we will no longer tie ourselves in knots trying to protect them from the heavens
Let her violent splendour have its way with them.
And let them tie themselves in knots of shame
And we will release them
And kiss the rope burns
And let go
Forevermore

Thandokuhle S. Mngqibisa

Featured Poem:

Garissa

Enlarge poem

ONE

Wake up
The night has run out of ink to plaster across the sky
The moon & his mentor have swapped sides
Now; The light

TWO

Pee. Brush teeth. Shower.
Empty our bodies of yesterday’s guests
The night is a writer
Cleanse yourself of her story
Wear glory on your back
Carry hunger to you quest for language and math and social science and health
Even if you’re not sure you can

THREE

Scream. Duck. Wonder what happened now
How a morning so promised could be sold to terror
The chaos of noise with no source, disbelief with no voice, dust hovering, afraid to hit the floor
Because guns shattered the glossy facade of our normal

Our everyday has become a graveyard with cracked tombstones, unmarked
Abandoned by god’s breath and sight
In our pajamas, in our morning stupor climbing over last night’s empty beer cans and yesterday’s laundry, today, we are tagged, marked for death
Never given the chance to denounce ourselves
These masked men who kill us for being mountains, murder fingerprints
Make mausoleums of our lecture theatres
And crypts of our temporary homes
We’re here surviving wars that were never our own

FOUR

DO survive

If you can’t, then plead with those who are alive
Tell them:
Please
Know us
We are histories. We have names and blood and beauty
Please
Avenge us
We are energy. We had plans and we spoke future into our actions
Futures shouldn’t be snuffed out just like that, ended quite so easily
And, finally, Please
Don’t sit waiting on the fence
The borders we’ve imagined aren’t going to protect us
Don’t do nothing while they’re raiding your neighbour’s house
Don’t wait until they’re breaking your backyard fence down, are standing in your kitchen, have poured themselves juice and are drinking from your glasses to say something
Act now

FIVE

Climb over the bodies of my friends
Leave them there
Run

thando_badilisha

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Biography

Dr. Thandokuhle S. Mngqibisa is a performing poet, medical doctor and an activist for womyn’s issues born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 1984. She studied medicine, completing her MBBCh early in 2011. The time & emotional commitment required for this, however, would never see her second-guessing her place in the performance poetry zeitgeist. The major themes of her written work centre around the issues of womyn in the setting of modern South Africa. She works intimately with womyn on a daily basis as a medical officer in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She discovered stage poetry in 2005 when she met and joined a 7 member poetry collective and inspiration, T.O…T! Together they introduced poetry to different audiences and challenged the status quo by performing fluid collaborative pieces that matched different styles of poetry and used the physical movement of 7 poets to tell a single story.

She has performed poetry for international movement to stop violence against womyn, One Billion Rising (2013, 2014). She was part of the cast of a workshopped theatrical poetry performance called Secret With the Moon; part of the Arts Alive festival (2013) and was invited to perform at the Melville poetry festival (2012).

She has judged various poetry slams like Word n Sound (2014), Drama For Life, Lover and Another (2013) and has helped in preparing prolific, talented poets for the stage for Drama for Life (2014) by conducting workshops to observe and guide their performance technique and discuss and impart knowledge on the subject matter–sex and sexuality.

She has a collection of published poems called One Big Word and has been published in an online magazine and in the Saturday Star lifestyle segment (2008?). She has performed her poems on various radio stations (VOW, ukhozi) and TV shows (etv sunrise, shiz niz, creations).

She has opened for Simphiwe Dana and shared stages with various successful artists like Lebo Mashile, Tu Nokwe, Myesha Jenkins, award-winning poets Phillippa Yaa de Villiers and Vus’muzi ‘Romeo the Poet’ Phakathi. She planned and hosted a poetry and discussion seminar called SPEAK for 16 days of activism.

She is a few months from completing her second collection of poems.

Thandokuhle S. Mngqibisa

thando_badilisha
thando_badilisha

Biography

Dr. Thandokuhle S. Mngqibisa is a performing poet, medical doctor and an activist for womyn’s issues born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 1984. She studied medicine, completing her MBBCh early in 2011. The time & emotional commitment required for this, however, would never see her second-guessing her place in the performance poetry zeitgeist. The major themes of her written work centre around the issues of womyn in the setting of modern South Africa. She works intimately with womyn on a daily basis as a medical officer in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She discovered stage poetry in 2005 when she met and joined a 7 member poetry collective and inspiration, T.O…T! Together they introduced poetry to different audiences and challenged the status quo by performing fluid collaborative pieces that matched different styles of poetry and used the physical movement of 7 poets to tell a single story.

She has performed poetry for international movement to stop violence against womyn, One Billion Rising (2013, 2014). She was part of the cast of a workshopped theatrical poetry performance called Secret With the Moon; part of the Arts Alive festival (2013) and was invited to perform at the Melville poetry festival (2012).

She has judged various poetry slams like Word n Sound (2014), Drama For Life, Lover and Another (2013) and has helped in preparing prolific, talented poets for the stage for Drama for Life (2014) by conducting workshops to observe and guide their performance technique and discuss and impart knowledge on the subject matter–sex and sexuality.

She has a collection of published poems called One Big Word and has been published in an online magazine and in the Saturday Star lifestyle segment (2008?). She has performed her poems on various radio stations (VOW, ukhozi) and TV shows (etv sunrise, shiz niz, creations).

She has opened for Simphiwe Dana and shared stages with various successful artists like Lebo Mashile, Tu Nokwe, Myesha Jenkins, award-winning poets Phillippa Yaa de Villiers and Vus’muzi ‘Romeo the Poet’ Phakathi. She planned and hosted a poetry and discussion seminar called SPEAK for 16 days of activism.

She is a few months from completing her second collection of poems.

Knots

Enlarge poem

As a womyn, I know the duties I owe to the world
We are words thrown into the mouths of those who can risk being heard
My bruised larynx has never spoken false but I tie myself in knots to avoid landing myself on the ears of those who conform
We are moving air sinking, each step a kick
Petals picked from stems for the pleasure of men
Separated from breathing
If, perhaps, you should ‘love him not’ you may find your colourful decorating the unswept floor with its final breath, a clutch of your chest
Eyes, dripping with an unending silence
You will weep your eyelids into closed obedience
Your colour will flitter in the wind
And his search for his one will spend you
Until you are depleted
Draw yourself up
Shape yourself like purpose; posture as if to point into the near distance,
We are only arm lengths from recovered
No. They cannot have us
We are history books as yet undiscovered
Their itty-bitty fingers will get cut just turning the cover
While we may have been drawn on and torn and faded…
We remain here
Womyn
More vivid than memory is
And he will want to write/author you as if you weren’t penned centuries ago by your great great grandparents
Uyinganekwane yokhokho
Nengqondo ekhaliphile
Nekhanda eliqinile
You will be heard
Whether you shout or you tame them
Our power is not known yet
One day we will no longer tie ourselves in knots trying to protect them from the heavens
Let her violent splendour have its way with them.
And let them tie themselves in knots of shame
And we will release them
And kiss the rope burns
And let go
Forevermore

Featured Poem:

Garissa

Enlarge poem

ONE

Wake up
The night has run out of ink to plaster across the sky
The moon & his mentor have swapped sides
Now; The light

TWO

Pee. Brush teeth. Shower.
Empty our bodies of yesterday’s guests
The night is a writer
Cleanse yourself of her story
Wear glory on your back
Carry hunger to you quest for language and math and social science and health
Even if you’re not sure you can

THREE

Scream. Duck. Wonder what happened now
How a morning so promised could be sold to terror
The chaos of noise with no source, disbelief with no voice, dust hovering, afraid to hit the floor
Because guns shattered the glossy facade of our normal

Our everyday has become a graveyard with cracked tombstones, unmarked
Abandoned by god’s breath and sight
In our pajamas, in our morning stupor climbing over last night’s empty beer cans and yesterday’s laundry, today, we are tagged, marked for death
Never given the chance to denounce ourselves
These masked men who kill us for being mountains, murder fingerprints
Make mausoleums of our lecture theatres
And crypts of our temporary homes
We’re here surviving wars that were never our own

FOUR

DO survive

If you can’t, then plead with those who are alive
Tell them:
Please
Know us
We are histories. We have names and blood and beauty
Please
Avenge us
We are energy. We had plans and we spoke future into our actions
Futures shouldn’t be snuffed out just like that, ended quite so easily
And, finally, Please
Don’t sit waiting on the fence
The borders we’ve imagined aren’t going to protect us
Don’t do nothing while they’re raiding your neighbour’s house
Don’t wait until they’re breaking your backyard fence down, are standing in your kitchen, have poured themselves juice and are drinking from your glasses to say something
Act now

FIVE

Climb over the bodies of my friends
Leave them there
Run

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Knots

Enlarge poem

As a womyn, I know the duties I owe to the world
We are words thrown into the mouths of those who can risk being heard
My bruised larynx has never spoken false but I tie myself in knots to avoid landing myself on the ears of those who conform
We are moving air sinking, each step a kick
Petals picked from stems for the pleasure of men
Separated from breathing
If, perhaps, you should ‘love him not’ you may find your colourful decorating the unswept floor with its final breath, a clutch of your chest
Eyes, dripping with an unending silence
You will weep your eyelids into closed obedience
Your colour will flitter in the wind
And his search for his one will spend you
Until you are depleted
Draw yourself up
Shape yourself like purpose; posture as if to point into the near distance,
We are only arm lengths from recovered
No. They cannot have us
We are history books as yet undiscovered
Their itty-bitty fingers will get cut just turning the cover
While we may have been drawn on and torn and faded…
We remain here
Womyn
More vivid than memory is
And he will want to write/author you as if you weren’t penned centuries ago by your great great grandparents
Uyinganekwane yokhokho
Nengqondo ekhaliphile
Nekhanda eliqinile
You will be heard
Whether you shout or you tame them
Our power is not known yet
One day we will no longer tie ourselves in knots trying to protect them from the heavens
Let her violent splendour have its way with them.
And let them tie themselves in knots of shame
And we will release them
And kiss the rope burns
And let go
Forevermore

Comments

Your email address will not be published.