Thursday, November 13, 2014

My spoken word poet profile on Badilisha Poetry X-Change, the largest online collective of Pan-African poets on the planet. Please listen and leave a comment, preferably on the artist profile page. And share. From the pen to the stage and beyond more verses will flow. Hugs

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dear Zonke

The passing clouds of rain bring blessings  
Under sombreros gathering fans were rained with passion
From Viva the legend, Ina Ethe to Feelings
We were waving, humming, singing and springing
When your promoters escorted you out in a hurried fashion
The day you came to our land 1000 words I almost missed
As you were whooshed you showed me compassion
Then I caught the flash and you gladly granted my wish
The day our land caught wind of a supporting element of creation

Friday, April 6, 2012

How I spent earth hour

This year I took part in Earth Hour, it fell on the 31st of March during my 10 day study break. For those that don’t know Earth Hour is a worldwide event organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and held on the last Saturday of March annually, encouraging households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change.

Before Earth Hour I charged my phone, in order to use the flashlight when I switched off the lights. I heated my dinner in the microwave. Then the alarm went off, it was time. I updated my WhatsApp status to Earth Hour. At 8pm I switched off the television, the lights, I unplugged the radio and my phone. The microwave emitted the only light left within my room like a furnace in an eerie basement. It soon went off too and I was in darkness. Albeit not in total darkness, looking into the courtyard outside my window I saw that nobody else was taking part in Earth hour in my complex.  In my corridor, all the lights were still on. One other room was in darkness, that person could have either been taking part in the cause or just left for the break. I laid out my yoga matt and did 150 sit ups in the dark. I’ve been doing them consistently since the start of the year, but I have to say it is a mission to get those perfect abs. In just about every media source that features a dude with ripped abs chances are he is flexing them, look closer they never breathe. I usually do them in two varied sets, after 60 straight push ups I feel the pain but I push further to 75+, focusing on my breathing rather than the pain. After mini-workout I looked into the mirror with the flashlight projecting from my phone, maybe it was the contrast in lighting but I could see some defined contours on my abs. Progress. 

Then I took the food out of the microwave and ate. Pork chops with gravy, rice and vegetables on the side.  While eating I wondered what was on TV, we’re so dependent on technology that when removed from it we become fish out of water with our gills still flapping for it. During Earth Hour I ate my meal rather slowly, I literally took my time. Afer taking the last bite, in the spur of the moment I made hand shadows, projected by my cell phone light towards the wall. Sitting there alone I chuckled at my momentary return to innocence. I made a bird, a duck, a dog and a rabbit, I had not done this in years. We are so caught up in our day to day activities that we forget the trivial things that once brought so much joy to us. It was 8:45, I had work to do so I got to it with my flashlight.
I read an article on the March 2012 issue of “New African”, the article entitled “Is Africa there for the taking?” was a reading into former president Thabo Mbeki’s thought-provoking address at a conference organised by the Makerere University of Social Research, in Kampala, Uganda. It spoke of how since postcolonial independence the dominant superpowers, the capitalist US and the socialist Soviet Union, intervened in Africa to keep the continent under its sphere of influence. Even with the end of the Cold War that neo-colonialist system continues in the capitalist world today pressuring Africa to become a continent of democracy and free market economy to be accepted as a worthy international partner in the dominant capitalist system. It was an interesting article and relevant to an African Film essay I was writing concerning the films Lumumba, Karmen Gei and Blood Diamond. The last half hour elapsed and with that I turned back on the technological appliances. I had to adjust the clock on my radio/docking station, it got disorientated after an hour without electricity. I changed my Whatsapp status to “Eye on the ball”.
Did I feel virtuous? I am not an environmentalist, the best I do normally is not littering. But there was no hypocrisy in my participation, I just felt like doing something significant. Some critics however, disagree with the significance of Earth Hour. In March 2010, the Telegraph quoted electricity experts that “it would therefore result in an increase in carbon emissions” due to complications related to rapidly lowering then raising electricity generations.  Some have argued that Earth Hour is an anti-technology cause and that people will simply use candles instead which are undesirable because they are petroleum based. I think these critics are missing the point, Earth hour isn’t a quick fix to climate change. Earth hour is symbolic, it is supposed to shake people out of apathy. Just in the last few years our planet has experienced droughts, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, things are not looking good. Everyone on earth is united by one thing, our planet and it is the only one we have.
Edgar Munguambe

Monday, October 17, 2011

Looking for racism in South Africa

When speaking negatively of South Africa most international people complain about the racism. Ever since I was small I’ve walked in and out of South Africa mainly for holidays and shopping over weekends. But I never really lived in South Africa until enrolling at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University this January. I knew that eventually I would encounter racism but had no idea in what shape or form.
Semester 2 was drawing nearer, I was all set to go back to Port Elizabeth, except for one setback. My left eye lid started twitching incessantly two weeks prior semester 2, it was annoying. After the first week I tried acupuncture. It hurt, I was pricked in sensitive areas like my forearm. Arms and feet feel the most pain because that’s where the nerve ending are, so I endured some intense pain…in vein. Recess ended, and I went back to P.E. twitching in a sinister manner. Whenever I spoke to people I felt like a villain with a hidden agenda. In lectures it really distracted me. A daily hot water sack over my eye did not help. Finally, I decided to try out reflexology, another holistic approach. I have faith in parallel medicine, even if it doesn’t cure you, it has no side effects. I got the contact of reflexologist and massage therapist from an Indian lady at an herbal shop. The reflexologist’s name was Star, and she was quite a character. She was the real life version of Dee-Dee from Dexter’s laboratory if there ever was one, blond, long legs, huge blue eyes and very energetic. Her place was at 1 Fort Street, just up Govan Mbeki Av.

The first session was relaxing, it didn’t stop the twitch. The following week I went back for my second session. Amidst small talk she asked me if I spoke Xhosa, I replied that I did not and she exclaimed, “Then how do u talk to people?”
-“Err in English, just like you”, I said.
What kind of a stupid question was that, assuming I could only relate to local black people? Anyways I shook it off, soon after I fell asleep as she rubbed my feet. When she was done, the twitch was still there but I felt relaxed. I paid her the R180 due, she thanked me and offered a ride down the hill to the taxi rank, I accepted. She asked me to wait outside while she changed her daughter’s diapers. I walked out of the house, it was a nice spring afternoon. By the gate were two white men were fixing the hinges, I greeted them politely and waited next to Star’s car outside. One of them stopped what he was doing and came towards me, “what are you doing?” he barked.
-“I’m waiting for Star, can I help you?”
-“You were just in my house”
-“Err I was doing reflexology”
Then Star calls out for me from her house, “Edgar, Edgar!”, then she pops out with that animated smile, “There you are, is Jo giving you trouble?”
-“I think he is”
Then he laughed, “I was ready to jump you, see last time we got robbed by a guy came in the house with a bag just like yours and walked out casually”
-“Right”, I said.
Then Star walked out, “Edgar was doing reflexology, I told you earlier”
Jo cracked a chuckle and waved goodbye, he was her husband. We got in the car and drove off all the way she was apologising with words like, “Shame man, what did he say?” and “I told him”
I wonder what she meant by “I told him”, I told him a black guy would come for reflexology maybe? When she dropped me off she said, “Text me when you can come for another session”
To which I said, “OK”. I never spoke to her again.

In hindsight I could think of many diplomatic ways I could have settled that episode with Jo.
I could have told him straight, “This is a classic example of profiling. Never mind if I have an NMMU student bag, a foreign accent and a presentable look. This would have never happened in my country, only in South Africa”. Had I said that I would have put him on the spot and most likely gotten an interesting reaction.
The annoying twitch persisted for a month, eventually it went away but the offense I took form that episode didn’t. What adds insult to injury is that Jo had a black belt in Tae-Kwando, in martial arts you are taught to be integrated, to have self-control and honour. Jo displayed none of it, he didn’t even apologise. This was the one episode in my 10 months in South Africa so far that racism found me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I was chilling below my building with my hommie
Having a laugh over the stories he just told me
An unexpected event then unfolded
An exotic beauty walked by, whose body moved to a rhythmic anthem,
She made me lose my momentum
Her hair billowed as she passed by,
looking at my hommie with a smile she said “Hi”
My jaw dropped as she walked
“Do you know her??”
“I’ve seen her around, forget it she’s out of your league, I don’t think she gets down”
My hommie waved a hand over my face,
I wasn’t there I was in space
Was I in heaven was I in paradise I couldn’t figure,
this girl was alluring through fullness of figure
My eyes were on her in a trace as she walked away…

A few days later I was in the cell shop
Over the cashier about to top up my phone
Then I heard a voice in a soft mellow tone
In a stupor I turned, it was her.
She asked the attendant for airtime
While I stood there thinking, “man this girl is fine…”
She paid, got her top up and her aroma followed her as she left in no time
She whisked me away,
I was about to follow her when the attendant said, “hey, you’ve still got to pay!”,
pointing his finger at me as if I was so cunning,
when I only wanted to introduce myself to that honey
“Sorry here’s your money”
Then I ran outside looking to the sides, she was gone with no trace besides her aroma, she was gone…

Saturday night I was in the club, with my cousin and her hub.
I was the odd one out, the one without love
I was dancing to the sound of the DJ above with my cous
Trying to have fun sober, whilst people were drunk and high allover
As I spun I saw her on the banister coming down
I lost my flow and stepped on my cousin’s toe
The girl saw it and laughed, whilst my cousin shouted, “watch your steps!”
I said, “My bad”, then I looked back and the girl wasn’t there
My eyes darted but I’d lost her track. Once again she walked away…

I went home and felt like the night was unfulfilling and silly, I acted unwillingly.
The next day was a quiet Sunday, I had nothing on my agenda.
My mind wondered about that exotic girl, ‘who is she? where does she live? Did I blow it, will I ever see her again?’
And then my phone rang
“Hi…”…a soft mellow voice
“Hi, I got your number from a common friend, I hope it’s no prob, see I saw you at the club and also the other day buying airtime, I know girls don’t usually do this but can we meet up sometime?”
I said, “Believe it or not from the moment I saw you that was my aim but I had no game”
“That’s the thing about you, that’s cute in a clumsy sort of way”
I laughed, “it’s a date then, just one thing, what’s your name?....”

    Edgar Munguambe