Home Page African-Writing Online
HomeAbout UsNewsinterviewsProfiles of South African Women WritersFictionPoetryTributesArtReviews

  Alex Smith
  Amanze Akpuda
  Amatoritsero Ede
  Amitabh Mitra
  Ando Yeva
  Andrew Martin
  Aryan Kaganof

  Ben Williams
  Bongani Madondo
  Chielozona Eze
  Chris Mann
  Chukwu Eke
  Chuma Nwokolo
  Colleen Higgs
  Colleen C. Cousins
  Don Mattera
  Elizabeth Pienaar
  Elleke Boehmer
  Emilia Ilieva
  Fred Khumalo
  Janice Golding
  Lauri Kubuitsile
  Lebogang Mashile
  Manu Herbstein
  Mark Espin
  Molara Wood
  Napo Masheane
  Nduka Otiono
  Nnorom Azuonye
  Ola Awonubi
  Petina Gappah
  Sam Duerden
  Sky Omoniyi
  Toni Kan
  Uzor M. Uzoatu
  Valerie Tagwira
  Vamba Sherif
  Wumi Raji
  Zukiswa Wanner

   Ntone Edjabe
   Rudolf Okonkwo
   Tolu Ogunlesi
   Yomi Ola
   Molara Wood

August Debut

Issue 2; October/November


Napo Masheane


Napo Masheane

Masheane is a South African poet and playwright. She has also written, directed and starred in several works for the theatre. She has co-produced and performed at numerous performance poetry and spoken word events throughout Africa and Europe.

 Two Poems
SAMBURU ‘My People”

We are travellers
We carry our names
With the beat on our feet
Re Barolong, Bakoena, Batlhaping,
Bahlakwana le Bakgatla
We are Samburu north butterfly

I stand on the backs
Of those who are called Bakganka
Singing songs that the rains and the winds
Never whispered to dinoka.
Badimo baka waiting to be praised
With the buzz of the bees,
The beats of the drums
They chant to my unsaid choruses.
I stride on shoes of giants,
Creating the legacy of their conquest,
Embracing their names in verse,
Reflecting their voluptuous looks on lakes,
Pulling their strings from Khalagadi,
Placing them on borwa ba AFRICA

Tshika ngwe ya rona comes from the reeds
They have built Maluti Mountains with their hands
Beautifully, engraved their narrations on sunburnt hills
Leaving their birthmarks on olive caves

We are Samburu north butterflies
Glittering with diamonds attached to our wings
Living after ancient tales,
Our souls are wrapped
In long wedding shawls,
We the wise ones speaking in riddles,
Where our words pass through
Village gossips, metaphors,
Our lands marked by chocolate pebbles
And pale skies
These lands where warriors glide
Effortlessly over rocks.
Striding easily across long life distances

My people have placed graves of their Kings
On top of Thaba Bosiu
They have shaped thorns
To protect their languages
Allowed their spears to rise in anticipation
To create the intimate magic.

And in the night of wisdom,
We sing in puzzles
We come out of our cocoon like little babies covered with life,
We jump like butterflies that have reached their glory,
Our sounds, travel far on the still air
Of story telling and spell dances.
We sleep with darkness calling our names.

At dawn the rays of the rising sun
Kiss our lips
As Virgo the morning stars make out our names

We are Samburu north butterflies
Stringing cords from our ancestors’ guitars
Moving with songs of time
As the meadow carries our fairy-tales
Reitea Kosha, retswa ka pina
As the forest echoes our clan names.
Our tongues recite clicking sounds of the desert
We the Sand people
Constantly in search of the grazing sun
Our red veins mark the soil
The spilt blood of our warrior-ship
Dances with the safari snakes

We are Samburu north butterflies
Our roots are rooted in Leole Mountains
We are calling out Thobela Sekhukhune
Mampuru Mopedi Moholo
Moshoeshoe moshoashoailana
Re Barolong, Bakoena, Batlhaping, Bahlakwana le Bakgatla
Hotswa mosi oya thunya
Re Bo Mankurwane le Bo Manthatisi
We are merely travellers
Carrying our names
With the beat on our feet
We chant and chant Freedom


God grafted the lines of the universe
Making the sunshine
At the birth of every being.
The fire that lights,
Through which new rays of life breaks,
A moment of time,
Where our new voices collectively
Must heal the diseased land-souls,
Liking the aged and the unborn.
Turning our childless grave yards
Into laughing homes,
Where our people are empowered and developed
The chains of our past
Should not trouble us forever,
But seal the lips of slavery caves.
Our people should stop
To live under the tyranny of silence,
Turn deserted lands into farm fields.
We must sow the seeds of UBUNTU
Building and shaping our future on firm grounds,
So that our royal languages can echo proverbs,
At a place where our ancestors walked.
Let us help the poor and the lame
To open the closed doors
So that they can dress our hearts differently.
Let us move earth and assemble our villages
So that our tears can become raindrops
For the sea of education
For the rivers of prosperity
For the lakes of democracy

Our voices should write new poetic bibles
And prose of golden beauty,
Casting away HIV/AIDS- unemployment and felony
Let us use our voices to fashion the old
Build strong bridges of awareness
Bridges that will take us far beyond
The skyline of time.
Bridges that will transform our core from
Dance floors of misconception
As we re-create who we really are.

Let us dress our behaviours like monks
Allowing our offspring to pick fruits
From the highest trees of spirituality
So that they can destroy the walls of orphan villages
Giving each home a name

We are pillars of a proud vote
Bound by a period in which
Every being must speak colour sounds
Of togetherness.
Let our voices find ways
In which the webs of life are woven

A place where mothers cannot escape
The messages of their own bodies.
Let’s allow our fathers’ spirits
To stretch and match science, history and politics
Let our unique voices teach us
How to dig, plant, water our seeds
So that we can buy our children’s smiles.
Let our words call peace
As ancient drums still our voices
Sending us to a place
Where the love of UNITY lives
To draw our people as a unit,
Let our SUNRISE voices shout
For we know where it all begun
We know where we are
We know where we are heading

The sparks of the sun
Opened the sealed envelop of my words
They, tied in endless riddles
Are perused out to the world by my faith
For God grafted the lines of the universe
Making the sun shine
At the birth of my soul.
The fire that lights,
Through which new rays of life break,
A moment of time,
When our voice together
Must weave the diseased land-souls
Liking the age and the unborn.
Turning our childless grave yards into laughing homes
Where our people can speak the same
Let our SUNRISE voices shout

Copyright © Fonthouse Ltd & respective copyright owners. Enquiries to permissions@african-writing.com.