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African Writing Archives


Phelelani Makhanya



Phelelani Makhanya

Makhanya is co - founder of Bare Thoughts Poetry Society, based at the University of  Zululand, which also produces a yearly journal for the university community. He has perfomed poerty in many venues in South Africa. His poetry has appeared in journals.






Freedom was on special
I bought it
I didn't get a receipt
Now it doesn't fit.





Today mysteries reveal sacred clues
In abstract slides
Clearly I can hear ancestral
Whispers echoing from distant shores
I see hopes cascading down
The cliffs of legacies.

Today I find a reason
To cast my seeds
In the fertile fields of memory
My hands juggle stars and planets and visions
Deep inside poetry reveals
A fetus of possibilities
Today I am at peace.




A Brief Revival

Inspired by “JOJO”

Rejection will peel
Out hope on us,
We’ll be disposed of
And thrown into bins of rot,
Time will suck all the honey
In the combs of our spirits,
History will spit our chewed
Names in the deserts of memory

But deep in the ribs of imagination
Love will prevail with oiled hands
To pick and cleanse us,
To breathe in us a whiff of a new scent,
To lift us up to the castles of defiance,
Where just for once we’ll skip
The compulsive pulse of defeat
And just for a short moment
Forget our eternal bond with dust.


The Moon

The moon hid its glowing face
A peep between tiny fingers
Of drifting clouds
There is guilt in the heavens.



Skull Deep

Chronicles create labyrinths in my head
Riddles weave threads in my skull
Bloodstained visions make strange sounds
And clicks in ancient languages
My head feels like a lyceum of cicadas
My brain gets caught and stuck in this cobweb
And slowly suffocates.




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