Four poems by Siphiwe Ka Ngwenya


Music flows
Like booze down the throat
Causes a commotion
A moral erosion
Back to back
Front to front
Hips for keeps
Sweetest lips
Cause a cosmic body ripple


(Ku David Mmbi)

Iphimbo lakho
Liwumzwilil’ezindlebeni zami
Izwi lakho
Litshiloza okwezinyoni
Emoyeni wami
Umculo wakho
Ungenza ngihlengezele izinyembezi
Eziyimpophoma zenjabulo
Kuqhakaz’izinkanyezi emehlweni ami
Ungibuyisel’enkabeni yeAfrika
Izimpande zakho zizinzile
Ujulil’okwesiziba somful’othelayo
Umculo wakho uzothile, upholile
Buya kimi Afrika, ngabadi yokhokho
Buya ngiphuz’emthonjeni wamanz’akho amtoti.


Da inflashun rate keeps risin
(To LKJ)

Da inflashun rate keeps risin
Eat stale bread without butter
High dreams in a squatter
Sip tea without milk and sugar

Da inflashun rate keeps risin
Babies laboured in a squalor
Next to a funeral parlour
Share water with swine

Da inflashun rate keeps risin
En da prices keep risin
Currency on the low
Like an upset stomach about to blow

Da inflashun rate keeps risin
Powers dat be say
What are you cryin for?
What are you cryin for?


To Bavino Machana

Chant a poem
With a strum of guitar
Drumbeat for sweethearts and the bitter
Ibheshu designed for a griot
Fall back dance of a president
The loot exposed in a riot

We lick an X to the ballot
Freedom dangled like a carrot
Truth on a diet
Poet revolutionary never be quiet
Take a sniper’s shot
True verse from the gutter

Uproot the brute
He has overstayed the honeymoon
Wield words like a sword

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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