Africa’s poetry ambassadors

Some time this year I entered the BN Poetry Award, and I have received the news that I made the short list.

Joining me on the short list are poets from all across the continent, and we are as diverse as they come.

I’m so honoured to be part of this list of wordsmiths.

Here is my poem

Under the Guava Tree by Annetjie van Wynegaard (South Africa)

The red earth under my nails makes the teacher scarlet rant and jump and jive as I stare out the window for 2 o’clock.

My body is dragged to the bathroom where brush and file and cloth and soap do the necessary work and tangled knots are pulled hither and thither. 

I stare with open mouth at the string of sun that moves along the green and white until the devilled bell and 30 pairs of bare feet race across the dirt to white bread and cheese and netball games.

Vetkoek and jam in hand, zip inside the shadow of the sweet smells my friends with bees and white small leaves and the thing that scares the ladies in hats en route to church is that I am content with being happy.

The seeds let off a mist of pink and yellow zest and the ants steady on, steady on for the moment I could pickle and put in the pantry.

Deep the deep the roots the red the dirt the rife life lies inside the unexplored colonies


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