Poems by Khanyile Mlotshwa

Bubble gums

The day before yesterday
We bought them for coins, darling
Sometime in between
The central bank played a naught child
And lost all the coins
So today, the vendor wants another note
Exactly the colour of yesterday’s note
So two notes for one bubblegum!
He says, on a similar note,
It’s another price hike again tomorrow
Of another two notes of a similar
Colour and pattern and design
So tonight darling, what do we buy?
Condoms or bubble gums?
Because while we make love
Prices go up
Is it the love or it is the night or both?
If it is both, then to hell with all
For who needs to make love
In the middle of madness


Sharing Jokes With The Night

Through the window
I stick out my face
To jeer at the night:
“You black one”
The night laughs softly:
“As if there’s anything
Evil about my colour
My colour
Is the colour
Of your face
I have stars
You have eyes
We’re twins”


Faith Healer

Tell me faith healer
In the storm of my problems
I have patronized this shrine of yours
All the time
I have taken off my shoes
For this place is sacred
But all the time –
I have wondered
So tell me faith healer
Whose faith heals me?
Your faith or my faith?

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Myesha Jenkins – Tribute

Botsotso would like to pay homage to Myesha Jenkins, the poet and promoter of poetry who died on Saturday, 05 September 2020. Myesha was a founder member of Feelah Sistah, the all-woman poetry group that in its time made such an impact. Thereafter, she was indefatigable in organising and strengthening poetry platforms on radio and for live performance/readings. Myesha’s work was included in two Botsotso productions – the anthology Isis X and the recording Roots and Branches. Her spirit as a politically conscious, jazz-loving artist lives on and is well expressed in her seminal poem Autobiography which was included in both these projects.

Click here to read Autobiography, a poem by Myesha Jenkins.

A Call for Submissions: Johannesburg in Poetry