Home 9 Literary Journal 9 Volume 21 9 Volume 21 Poetry 9 Salimah Valiani – “Natalia Molebatsi and Bab’Themba Mokoena in dance” and “Diepsloot Winter (pre-loadshedding)”

Salimah Valiani
“Natalia Molebatsi and Bab’Themba Mokoena in dance” and “Diepsloot Winter (pre-loadshedding)”

Natalia Molebatsi and Bab’Themba Mokoena in dance

after Poetic Thursdays, Soweto Theatre, February 28 2019


she was easy as sunflowers
lacing words with feeling

he warp and weft
viscerality in strings



we were made of flesh and the blues[1]

we are made from skin and notes

we were crafted into love and loss and lies many
many times

we craft ourselves into plains and jungles tundra and desert
becoming one with the cycles


[1] italicised words, as remembered from Natalia Molebatsi’s poems that night

Diepsloot Winter (pre-loadshedding)

dark evenings
waking early
rejoicing for sun   first things
all that is fallen   not picked up
unintended dishevelment of candlelight

endless bending    making tending fire
finding water   warming it
finding food   cooking it    not too much
no refrigeration

Salimah Valiani is a poet, activist and researcher. Her 2021 poetry collection, 29 leads to love, is the 2022 Winner of The International Book Award for Contemporary Poetry. She also authored four previous poetry collections: breathing for breadth (TSAR 2005); Letter Out: Letter In (Inanna 2009); land of the sky (Inanna 2016); Cradles (Daraja 2017). Her story-poem, Dear South Africa, was one of seven works selected for the 2019-2020 Praxis Magazine Online Chapbook Series.