Tuesday Shorts: Lyrics – Nomashenge Dlamini

Part I: The Pilgrim

Burdened by this ghostly cargo,
The carnal leakage too far gone.
Lucid dreams swindle my rest,
A timely vent for a smothered soul on a prodigal quest.
I self-mutilate like a vandal,
A nagging summoning to let myself go.
Delay my demise another day,
To feign control over mortality.

A pilgrim to my every scar.
A pilgrim to my every scar.

Discerning spirit from breath,
Like anchor from stifle.
Discerning wanderlust from abandonment,
Like freedom from habit.
Discerning peace from death,
Like dark from black.
Discerning shadow from shade,
Like fate from consequence.

Who am I?
Am I you?

A pilgrim to my every scar.
A pilgrim to my every scar.

Part II: The Boogyman

Dining with the boogyman
Gobbling like a hooligan
Glutton for a can of worms
Hunger give me busy jaws
Troubles loitering my plate
Silver spoon ain’t got no weight
Starve from peace, serenity
Drown in pain and mockery

Whispers utter after life
Slicing with a blunted knife
Lover left an open wound
Turned my body to a tomb
Burying breathe and mother’s dreams
Blinding light an ultra beam
Honking sound a woman’s wail
Told them read between the rail.

Attempting to fathom
The dawning of doomsday
Attempting to fathom
The dawning of mayhem

Failing with the upkeep
An insufficient black sheep
Creeping in a corner
Intentional with the horror
Detangled from a noose but

Gagging on a fake gut
Tell him tears are timid
Watch him sink in livid

Emerging as a monster
Pounce on all the daughters
Evaded by his conscious
Discardable and callous
The panic and the frenzy
The frantic seed of envy.

Attempting to fathom,
The dawning of doomsday,
Attempting to fathom,
The dawning of mayhem.

Hide the children close the curtain
A former child is lurking,
Is death the only certain end
or are we still retrieving?

Attempting to fathom
the dawning of doomsday
attempting to fathom
the dawning of mayhem.


The Sibongile Fisher Collection

Sibongile Fisher has been holding down the fort in the Tuesday Shorts lane and I can proudly say it has been nothing short of amazing. Sibongile has written four Tuesday Shorts during her residency and this is the Sibongile Fisher collection.

She kick started the month with Mary. The story left me asking if the comfortable silence in which we sit with those we’ve always known is really comfortable? In this story it isn’t. It’s a silence that swallows the things one hasn’t yet found the courage to say.

Second came Kintsukuroi, which stands testament to the saying – You can take a person out of the village, but not the village out of a person – in this case, poverty, strife. Can one truly leave behind who they are? Curses and all?

Third was The Legend of Mobu. Stories are like a photograph, they capture a specific moment in time and avail it to those who dare look. This here story captures the root of many South African stories both modern and ancient. It reads as a rich adaptation of a myth, with nothing lost in translation and everything captured delicately in the poetry.

Sibongile signed out with The Pigeon’s Nest and by now it is clear that death was the chosen subject. Death, the thing we never see happen. We know it’s coming. It taunts and threatens, it teases and mocks, and we appease it only for us to be tricked by it, denying us to witness the smoothness with which it operates and when it has passed we can only say, She had faded into the most peaceful corpse I had ever seen.’

What an honor it was to be graced by this amazing writer. I’ll forever be grateful for her gifts.


About Sibongile Fisher

Sibongile Fisher is a poet, writer and drama facilitator from Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds a BCom degree in Marketing Management and a higher certificate in Performing Arts and wishes to pursue an MA in Creative Writing. She is the co-founder of The Raising Zion Foundation, an arts organisation that focuses on promoting literature, poetry and the performing arts in high schools. She is also the winner of the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Prize for her short story, A Door Ajar which is also shortlisted for Brittle Paper Literary Awards. Her short story Sea of Secrets written for young adults was published by Fundza under their mentorship program and it appears in their “it takes two!” volume 2 anthology.

Photo: Provided by Sibongile.

DEJAVU – Boipelo Maetla

“I could stay like this forever, with your lips between mine I would never get tired of clenching my fingers between yours, reluctantly pushing away when you want to slide my earlobes between your teeth. I love your kind of pain, whips and chains are heaven enveloped in sadistic objects. Your scent cripples me, I love kisses and I love yours more, I love how silence holds the hands of time firmly at you-and-I-will-never-part o’clock and I really feel like caramel fudge and wine right now, but I will have you first, build up my appetite”, a note left on the bed read. He took it into his hands and crushed it. Why would her confidence put him off, the very element that drew her to him in the first place? Suddenly no woman was going to be vocal about anything in his bedroom, in his house. Her purpose was to be given and to receive. Indeed he had returned a whole different man.

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He counted – Baeletsi Tsatsi

It’s 2008. A biting winter and a lonely heart. Beige is the colour of the season and you wear yours with olive. Last night I told my friend about how ready I am to try again and I wake up to convince myself that I am ready to try again.

The dress, faun, is already laid out, the brown shoes are out and I’m not wearing lipstick. Nude. At 18:03 I’m half dressed, shoes and lingerie, standing in front of the mirror wondering what to do my hair. At 18:05 I still haven’t figured it out and I wish “I wasn’t my hair”. At 18:06 it’s up in a bun and I slip my dress on, grab my bag and I’m out for the 18:45 date. What an awkward time, I had thought when he first told me. And at 18:39 I spot him sitting in the corner at a two seater table, he waves and I think, corner? Great. Two seater? Hmmm. I love a four seater.

I wave and walk towards him, I’m no longer thinking two seater. A song threatening to seduce me plays in the background. He stands up to greet me, I steal a look at my watch, it’s 18:42 and I’m thinking why am I doing this? Wait, why am I 3 minutes early? But with only two seats, I don’t wait for him to pull my chair and I hang my bag on my chair and shake his hand. With that done, we stare at each other for about 1 full minute, I counted with my pulse. It was regular. He takes out his hand to shake mine again and he shows me to sit. Good. Now what? Within 30 seconds he has asked me if want anything to drink. I order a gin and tonic and he orders a gin and tonic. Ok. What now? I shuffle around in my bag for a while, but its awkward and clumsy and too crammed, but I go on about that for another 8 seconds. Still with a regular pulse and I stop. He is on his phone and he also stops. Our drinks are coming and I think, yes, we will talk about drinks. And I’ll do the thing girls do, slip my straw into your drink and steal a sip. But then I think, oh, he ordered a gin and tonic? Why did I order a gin and tonic? I don’t even like it. I should have ordered a Long Island. Soon, I’m thinking, why am I exploding my mind during people?

“I hope I didn’t keep you waiting,” I say.

“Why were you three minutes early?” He asks, not serious also not cool. Just something. Before I get lost in the glory of mystery, 3 minutes flashes in my mind. He counted? I take a sip of my drink and I do the thing girls do, even though I hadn’t wanted to do it.

He smiles the smile that says “You also counted”.

Back at my place I sit on my couch, a mug of chamomile steeping on the coaster on the table. I have been chanting “I’m not going back there” long enough and I do it while thinking “What if it grows?” What if the thing that made my father attracted to my mother grows on me and I’ll also attract the same kind man, at I’ll be so severe with me that with all my knowledge I’ll stay and claim to be loved? What if I have children and it grows on them. Do I come from a generation of cursed people?

Hate. Love. What if the thing you feel for someone only grows. Grows and never dies.

Before I told my friend I had told myself that I should try again because I will never know unless I try.

I’m a love child, or so my mother thought. I’m yet to meet someone who has clear visions of something that happened when they were only 7 and a half months old. Because I remember my father beating my mother into a pulp in my nursing room. I sat quietly in my crib, looking intently at the blood that I wiped from my forehead, my mother’s blood. My father storms out and comes back after a while, he strokes my mother’s bruises and pulls her closer, the monster that lives inside him is gone and he whispers sweetly into her ear “I love you” and my mother sighs as if she had though that his love for her was no more.

At 8 months my grandmother comes to take me. We drive for long and arrive at a house with only two bedrooms and it is in there that I first hear the word hospital. I stay here until I’m 8 months 3 and a half weeks, my mother comes to get me and we drive back, from my chair I try to steal a look at her arm. It is broken. That is why I’ll only drive an automatic car. You can drive it with only one arm.

I’m turning a year old and everyone is here to celebrate at my Mickey Mouse themed party, my mother doesn’t know that I love ben 10. After the party, just as my uncle’s car is pulling out of the drive way, my mother picks me up for my bath, my father tells her to put me down and he slaps her across the face. She stands there, shocked. The people who came to my party sang the birthday song for 3 minutes 8 seconds, he says as he storms out. My mother picks me up and heads towards the bathroom for my bath. Sometimes, he does it because he pays for everything, sometimes he just does it. It’s like he can’t help it, he just does it. At five, I hear him tell my mother that she is uneducated. My mother has a degree in journalism and has never practised since she met my father. At 10 he tells her that she is nothing and at 15 he tells her that he did her a favour by loving her.

At 28, I’m a PhD candidate, I’m someone and I’m definitely educated. My mother is still with my father and because of that, I’ve stopped talking to them. But I have a fear of falling in love.

He counted? He shouldn’t have. I take a sip of my drink and make up a lousy excuse, take my bag and prepare to stand up, he holds my hand and signs for me sit down. I continue standing and he flashes me a smile that says “Should I make you sit down?” A waitress passes, he lets go of my arm and says, “Don’t make that mistake. My father has cursed me.”

My father is a mathematician. A very manipulative man. He used to count how long it took for my mother to make him a cup of tea and if the number was uneven he would blame her. After dinner he would count how long it took my mother to clear the plates and if the number was even he would blame her. He also used to count how long it took for my mother to put me to sleep and if the number was a decimal he would blame my mother. He never knew his father and his mother raised him in resentment. He worked very hard for everything he had and everyone had to know. He wanted a son he would love dearly, but after giving birth to me my mother fell down the stairs, and something inside of her shifted and now she is barren.

When I met the guy from the cult, he looked at me the way my father used to look at my mother when he picked her up from the blood soaked floor, so gentle. Until one day he asked me to make him coffee at his place, and he counted, then I knew, it grows.

The things our parents are made of, grows on us and it will continue to grow.

📷Hazel Fasaha Tobo

A Pair of Gifts – Boipelo Maetla

The boys in my street are singing struggle songs again.

And prison songs.

No one knows where or when they learnt these prison songs. There is an irony where these melodies meet. There is so much passion in their voices, you can tell that something dies inside them when these words reach their lips.

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The GONE Collection

I started the year with a writing team of five writers, but due to unforeseen circumstances three have pulled out of the team. I’m sad to compile this collection but I’m so proud of the work that the writers produced during their stay here at Naane le Moya. I continue to wish them only the best as far as their writing and their creative careers go.

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Swithins Avenue – Boipelo Maetla

My machete wielding white neighbor absolutely makes me sick.

We got to Johannesburg and we drove to every single student accommodation there was on the internet, and few of them actually looked like the pictures they put up online.

Some had caretakers who were old enough to be needing to be taken care of themselves, the irony. Some communes had holes in the kitchen ceilings, blood stains on bathroom walls, champagne splattered all over some bedrooms! Christ! What do the people here get up to?

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The drunk prayer warrior of Battlemount – Baeletsi Tsatsi

We had heard about what they had done to the other villages, these demon possessed men that killed without any conscious. Those who managed to escape came to tell us how they tore open the bellies of pregnant women, how they set their shrines alight and how they gave the village a new name every time they moved on. We lived in fear for we knew that they were coming to our village, Battlemount.

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Tuesday Shorts: The things we forget – Baeletsi Tsatsi

My aunt tells me that my father left me three weeks before my fourth birthday. He knocked at her door and handed me over to her like a parcel, he could not handle it anymore he said. My mother left ten days after my birth, leaving my father with their first child. My aunt tells me my parents relationship had always been toxic. They met on the 21st of December in downtown Johannesburg. My aunt and my mother were doing the last Christmas shopping before going to my grandmothers place for the festive season.

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Trip past the graveyard – Boipelo Maetla

Explain death to little children, lest it kills them when they are older and they mourn without intent, never really letting the dead ones go, wishing them birthdays long after they have passed, keeping even the minutest of memories alive. Explication means when they look at deceased people’s pictures, they will not cringe, but be strong enough to reminisce about them without falling apart. We are born, and we die, and the space in between is mercy, this we should teaching little children to cherish it, and not to fear it.

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