Music Exchange programme and topics for Cape Town on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th Nov 2022

#MEX22 Cape Town
#MEX22 Cape Town

We have the great pleasure and privilege of presenting the speakers and topics for the Music Exchange 2022 (#MEX22) conference.

The emphasis is on Exchange – Arrive to engage and ask questions of all the speakers and meet fellow creatives. You never know who is in the room. You have read about our keynote speakers over several weeks, Marc Marot and Dr Trevor Jones, and now we are pleased to share the balance of our Cape Town programme.

All the speakers have a lived reality and are actively invested in the local and international entertainment economy.

Siphokazi takes home the Most Innovative Young Artist award at Western Cape Cultural Affairs Awards for 2022

Cape Town, Friday , 14 October 2022 – Having just returned from a successful tour of Europe and delivered a poem at the 12th International Peace Lecture in Cape Town, producer, poet, writer and performer Siphokazi Jonas’ talent has once again been affirmed this week at the 20th Annual Culture Awards.

On Wednesday evening, Siphokazi took home the Most Innovative Young Artist award, pipping her peers, Xolani Marman and Phelelani Ndakrokra, to claim the highly coveted trophy.

“I’m grateful and humbled to receive this award,” Siphokazi says. “It’s incredibly affirming and a reminder that it’s essential to take risks and to be fearless as an artist, and I feel encouraged to keep engaging in more profound, more inspiring collaborations across the board.

“We all have this responsibility to add something to the many voices that have created this incredible industry and these stories that we tell,” she adds.

In undoubtedly one of her most prolific and successful years to date, Siphokazi has seen her highly acclaimed short film #WeAreDyingHere receive a SAFTA in the Best Short Film category and be added to Showmax

She’s also accepted invitations to work and perform at international festivals in the US, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden and goes to Lagos on October 27th for the Lagos International Poetry Festival.

Her next appearance in South Africa will be at #MEX22, the annual entertainment economy conference hosted in Cape Town and Johannesburg in early November. To find out more and secure the limited number of tickets available, go to

For more information, contact Martin Myers:

UN Deputy Secretary-General’s remarks at the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture

Siphokazi Jonas had the  honour to perform at the Tutu International Peace Lecture on Friday 7th October 2022. 

She had the opportunity to open for the UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina J Mohammed. 

Siphokazi Jonas, UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina J Mohammed
Siphokazi Jonas, UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina J Mohammed

She is one of the key people in the creation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 Siphokazi  had a few moments with her afterwards, and I immediately told her about the work which artists are doing to engage with the SDGs and have an example of the global collaborations at the Somewhere Places Festival which I attended in Spain. 

When we have the attention of powerful people, we need to ensure that we advocate for the things that matter. Perhaps she has already forgotten, or perhaps a seed has been planted…

This her speech from that Event 
Deputy Secretary-General’s remarks at the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture [as delivered]

07 October 2022

Our world, our Global Village, is in deep crisis. We are today in desperate need of hope and of healing.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and it is a deep honor to be with you for the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture. I would like to extend the special greetings of our UN Secretary-General and myself to Mama Leah, to Mpho, Naomi, Theresa and Trevor. And especially to you that I have met this evening. It is such an honour to meet you and to see the vision of your father in you.  

It is the first of these lectures since the passing of our beloved Arch, who served throughout his life as a towering global figure, as we have heard so often, for peace and an unwavering voice for the voiceless.

We continue to mourn his loss, yet we celebrate his legacy, which has never been more relevant in our world today of great pain.

Our world, our Global Village, is in deep crisis. We are today in desperate need of hope and of healing. And the Arch stood above all for courageous hope and healing, based on principles rooted in pragmatism.

Hope, the Arch famously said, “is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. You see it wonderfully when you fly and the sky is overcast. Sometimes you forget that just beyond the clouds, the sun is shining.”

As a proud African man, the Archbishop leveraged his position in international bodies, from the World Council of Churches to the All Africa Conference of Churches and, later, the Elders, to promote positive change and share his wisdom, not only in his own country and continent, but around our global village.

Inspired and humbled by his legacy, I am here just as a mere servant of the Global Townhall, to the Global Village, the United Nations – calling for global transformation from the inside out, shepherded by Arch, his steadfast commitment to hope and healing.


As we say often, our world is in crisis with Africa left behind, yet again.

Nearly three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – and I want to say that that was a time that God pressed the pause button so that you need to reflect on which path you want to follow – nations across the world, particularly our African countries, face a multitude of cascading and compounding crises.

More people are poor.  

More people are hungry.  

More people are being denied health care and education – basic rights.

Gender equality becoming dangerously out of reason, and reach.  

Gender-Based Violence, conflict and humanitarian crises are spreading like a virus.

The climate crisis is gathering pace, and it is crossing all borders.

And social cohesion is fraying, with inequalities increasing and xenophobia, nationalism, hate speech and radicalization on the rise.

Yet, it does not have to be this way.

Our incredible world, starting with this incredibly beautiful continent, has abundant riches: immense diversity in our people and cultures, our languages, our food, and most of all, our innovations and our ideas. 

Our planet is packed with the resources we need to thrive: plentiful food and water, and boundless renewable energy.  These are unique, irreplaceable resources and they must be treasured, protected and handed down from generation to generation.  Today we have never been so able, connected by technologies, better educated, living longer and with women in incredible positions of leadership.

Our world is more inclusive. It is more sustainable. It is more hopeful. 

It is with this reality and vision all countries agreed to come together for the 15-year roadmap for peace and development that left no one behind.

That’s the infamous 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable [Development] Goals that I and many spent four years having a conversation with the world as we crafted them. It is the world envisioned in the African Union’s Agenda 2063: the Africa that We Want. 

But it is also a pathway to a world that cherishes human dignity; a world that is free of poverty, of hunger, of violence and injustice.

It’s a world of opportunity; where everyone has access to their basic rights of a quality education, healthcare, decent jobs and a fair shot at life.

It’s a world of equality, where the rights of every woman and every girl are fully respected and where discrimination in any form is rejected.

It’s a world of sustainability; where we embrace the clean energy revolution and ensure our economies and our lifestyles are compatible with the environmental systems that we depend on.

And of course, it’s a world of peace and of justice – where we cherish and respect diversity; where we ensure public participation and fundamental freedoms; where all forms of violence are rejected.

Sadly, halfway through this visionary roadmap we are off track.

How do we get from a world in crisis, to a world more equal, a world in harmony with nature?

How do we realize our common vision for a brighter tomorrow and for the responsibility that we do have for future generations?

From his experience and life, the Arch himself has shown us the way. First, we must begin with our self, believing in our humanity, giving the best of our self so that we reap the best of each other.

At the core of our actions, we must cherish and invest in education for its intrinsic value to both the individual and the society.

Arch understood that education is the most powerful tool that a person can receive to ensure their independence, their self-sufficiency, their dignity and equality.

In 1957, two years after taking up his first employment as a teacher, a young Desmond Tutu resigned in protest against the Bantu Act that instrumentalized education for the oppression of Black South Africans.  

“Inclusive, good-quality education is a foundation for dynamic and equitable societies,” the Arch said.

But today, disparities in access to an education, a quality education, are one of the great challenges facing our world. Instead of being a great equalizer, education is fast becoming a great divider – separating poor children from opportunities almost from birth.

Some 7 in 10 children in poorer countries are unable to read a basic text by the age of 10, because they are either out of school, or in school but barely learning.

As the world goes through a fourth industrial revolution, with enormous implications for jobs and training, nearly half of all students do not complete secondary school.

Seven hundred million adults are illiterate, the majority of whom are women.

People with disabilities, living with HIV and AIDS, and children from marginalized groups face the toughest challenges of all. A blind spot to many.

In convening the Transforming Education Summit last month at the United Nations, in response to Our Common Agenda, the summit helped lift education to the top of the global Agenda and mobilized new commitments to reimagine education that would be fit for the 21st century, decolonizing decades of a system designed for others.

In the coming years, if we are to stand a chance of securing a future of peace for all, we must make good on those commitments, in our homes, our communities and our societies, in the hope that we are able to build nations for now and the future generations.

Dear Friends,

The second lesson from the life of the Arch is that to strive for a prosperous future, we must also be to build peace, together, in solidarity.

The Arch was a firm believer in social interdependence, a central concept in his philosophy, expressed as “Ubuntu”.

Arch called Ubuntu “the essence of being human”.

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together,” as the Arch so beautifully said.

He understood that peace, in its broader concept, can only be achieved if we approach humanity as a community in which – as in any African village – everyone takes care of each other.

This notion of peace is not only the absence of violence or conflict, but the pursuit of common values.

And this concept is often reflected in African thinking and, when we are lucky, in some of our policies today. We just need to implement them.

When African countries adopted the Lusaka roadmap for Silencing the Guns, they acknowledged that tackling the root causes must deal with social-economic issues including inequalities, injustice, and the exclusion of our youth and women, all of which are indispensable to peace and to sustainable development.

Likewise, the Secretary-General’s proposal for a New Agenda for Peace is a key element of Our Common Agenda, addressing new and emerging threats, while ensuring that human rights, political, civil, social, economic and cultural, are leveraged  as a main tool for conflict prevention in the pursuit of Sustainable Development. This we must do, and we must do it in solidarity.

As the Arch once said – “When we see others as separate, they become a threat,”. When we see others as part of us, as connected, as interdependent, then there is no challenge that we cannot face—together.” Ubuntu.

Dear Friends,

The third of the Arch’s lessons I would like to share is that to build a prosperous future, we must be fully committed to working together, collectively, for the common good.

Arch was a true believer in the power of multilateralism.

He was a distinguished member of the United Nations Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention, and took part in a High Level Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza. More broadly, he was engaged in many other global issues, always promoting joint solutions through listening and through dialogue.

He knew that no matter the size of the country, no one can do it alone.

The United Nations remains for me the only forum in the world where parties come together to transform common threats into shared solutions.

We try to face the reality of the day with the aspirations of humankind, and each day, we try to close the gap. Some days are good days, and some days, not so good.

For over seven decades, the UN has offered Member States a platform to address pressing issues, always inspiring hope and a better tomorrow

It has supported major economic and social progress.

It has been a cornerstone of international peace, from promoting prevention and resolution of conflict to providing humanitarian relief, and saving millions of lives and livelihoods.

This country, and its fight against apartheid, is perhaps one of the best examples of the potential of the United Nations to support and enhance positive transformations.

Dear Friends,

Today, global challenges are undermining trust in multilateralism at a time when we actually need it most.

This calls for a reformed and a strengthened multilateral system with the transformation for being more fit for purpose of the United Nations at the core.

A multilateral system that serves those who are furthest behind, not just those who were first in line 75 years ago.

A multilateral system that responds to the needs and challenges of today, looking into tomorrow.

A multilateral system that looks for common ground even in the areas where there is currently none in sight.

A multilateral system that has a renewed capacity to create hope and healing.

Dear Friends,

Let me try to be specific – what does a strengthened multilateral system mean for Africa?

Our incredible continent, our motherland; this vast, prosperous land and human capacity.

How do we get to where we need to be?

I believe that we have to start recognizing first that we are not beginning from nothing, we are not beginning from scratch; we must change the narrative, we are not hopeless nor are we helpless, our potentials are enormous. We are 54 sovereign nations on varying paths of democracy. We have 1.4 billion people, 2,5 trillion dollar market opportunities, and the fasted growing FinTech – connecting people, especially our women, to financial services.

We have the institutions, the United Nations, the African Union, the African Development Bank, Afrexim Bank and we have over 25 stock exchanges, with the largest being in Johannesburg. We have the necessary instruments – there is the 2030 Agenda (the SDGs), there is [Agenda] 2063 and there is the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

So with the potential, with the institutions, and with the instruments, that, I believe, in itself is hope.

So what do we need next to translate that hope into the aspirations of millions?

I would start with leadership.

First, political leadership with the will and the courage to act for the people they represent, bearing in mind that our home, the planet, is one of the first responsibilities they will have. Not to the exclusion of the leadership beginning from the home, through all the strata of our societies, of our communities.

The second, I would say, is democracy and human rights. Although today, I would say that perhaps the model for democracy is failing us while the values remain relevant, and perhaps that is some food for thought.

We need to invest in institutions and systems that deliver on basic rights and services. Those that we look to as second, nonetheless health, education, yet they are the first.


We need to begin at the local level, supporting communities from the ground up, especially our women and our youth. That means a level of devolution of resources to build the resilience and the strong foundations for the house of Africa. I have not yet seen a country in the world that builds their houses from the roof down, except when we come to Africa.  


Ensuring that we have what often is so technical, disaggregated data and statistics. But you know, behind every number, every percentage, are millions and millions of people. Many that are left behind because we don’t see where they are. And we need this so that we can target our investments to ensure that we have transparency and accountability for the resources that we expect results for. It also allows us to communicate the result with credibility, strengthening the trust between the government and its people.

Last, but certainly by no means the least, this includes partnerships.

All stakeholders and partners, to build a nation that includes an approach from local to global. The partnerships globally are much in need, but so are those across our borders, without which the African Free Trade agreement would have no wings to fly.  The foundations for these partnerships must be built within nations and across countries in Africa to begin with, so that we may look tour opportunities for a 1.4 billion population.

In turn, maybe we can begin to heal from the inside out, the tensions, the mistrust, the violence, the hate, the xenophobia within our countries and across their borders.

Dear Friends,

Arch called relentlessly for hope, rooted in the audacity of our convictions.

The commodity of hope has never been more precious, as have our faiths, our beliefs in humankind

As the Arch beautifully wrote, “To choose hope is to step firmly forward into the howling wind, baring one’s chest to the elements, knowing that, in time, the storm will pass. Despair turns us inward. Hope sends us into the arms of others.”

Let us step firmly forward into the howling wind, navigating the storm to face the new dawn of hope and healing in a world of crisis.

With courage and solidarity, let us move together, as Africans and as a member of this God-given earth.  

Let us honor ‘Arch’ on his birthday, by living and acting on the inspiration he gave us for hope so that we may find deep within us, the will to be part of the healing of the torn fabric of our societies in a world of crisis, and yet with so much hope for the future. In Madiba’s words, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”

 Siphokazi Jonas, UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina J Mohammed
 Siphokazi Jonas, UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina J Mohammed

Let’s do it together. Ubuntu.

Thank you.

What Must Fall? | Webinar With Siphokazi Jonas on 13th October at 15H00

What Must Fall? | Webinar

What Must Fall? | Webinar

If we were to conduct a comparative study of anti-Colonial / anti-Apartheid liberation struggles and the #Fallism Movement, we would find that one of the defining differences between these two is the (supposed) clarity of enemy and purpose in the former. Who were we taking down? 
The colonial or Apartheid government. What did we want? Political power for the majority, human rights and access to resources that had been previously denied.
 All other nuanced complexities were secondary to these primary pressures.

The #Fallism movement problematized the way in which the liberation struggles constructed routes to freedom. It drew attention to the fact that winning these struggles had not resulted in the total elimination of oppression. It also noted that oppression was not a singularly defined experience, and that its manifestations could be discovered at the intersection of various identities and socio-economic categories that a singular body occupies.

In deference to the #Fallism movement’s focus on intersectionality, we wanted to explore how one identifies what must fall next? Our featured poets who have themselves been at the center of resistance/empowerment activity in their respective countries will share their journeys to intersectional activism. We’ll explore how they construct ‘the enemy’, the role that youthful oblivion and hindsight play in this process. and how they gauge the impact of their work on the things have and need to keep on falling!

Moderator: Quaz Roodt
Panellists: Siphokazi Jonas, Jim Pascual, Roche Kester

Reflections in pictures of the Desmond Tutu 12th International Peace Lecture with Siphokazi Jonas

Some pictures of a special evening at the City Hall last night (7th October 2022), where Siphokazi Jonas had the honour of opening the 12th International Peace Lecture

This year’s Peace Lecture was delivered by the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, who appeared with best-selling author Doug Abrams.

Siphokazi Jonas to open the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture


Desmond Tutu

The 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture returns on 7 October 2022, marking the first Lecture since Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s passing at the end of 2021.

The event is being held on Archbishop Tutu’s birthday and will honour his extraordinary life while reflecting his legacy into the future.

The heart of the Peace Lecture is rooted in the Foundation’s work to transform our collective consciousness through the courageous pursuit of healing, inspired by the legacy that Archbishop Tutu left for us. In the last few years, we all witnessed the devastating impact of a global pandemic, climate change and conflict. The Arch, as he was fondly known, held a lifelong conviction that one can only get through hard times by holding on to hope. As he put it, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” In line with this, the 12th International Peace Lecture theme is: A Vision for Hope and Healing.

This year’s Peace Lecture will be delivered by the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, who will appear with best-selling author Doug Abrams. Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed is credited as being one of the key architects of the Sustainable Development Goals, setting an agenda for how we can develop flourishing societies and the planet.

She is a globally recognised leader in action to prevent climate change, having served as the Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Abrams is best-known for his collaborative work with Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama to co-author The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.

He has worked with other Nobel Laureates including Nelson Mandela, Jody Williams, and Elizabeth Blackburn, as well as many visionary luminaries like Stephen Hawking and Jane Goodall.

Chairperson of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Niclas Kjellström-Matseke said, “Amina Mohammed, through her extraordinary work as a global leader can share an inspiring vision for global development.

This is well-paired with Doug Abrams’ intimate portraits and ability to draw out the wisdom of many of the elders of our times. I am confident that this will be a powerful moment for us to reimagine the possibilities of a bold future, shaped by collective healing and humanity.”

The Foundation’s “Festival of Hope” will include performances by musician, Vicky Sampson who will be joined by the South Africa Youth Choir.

Award-winning poet, playwright, and performer Siphokazi Jonas will also grace the stage, while the vibrant, female-driven social enterprise Marimba Jam will keep visitors entertained upon their arrival.

Siphokazi Jonas with the SAFTA award for #WeAreDyingHere
Siphokazi Jonas with the SAFTA award for #WeAreDyingHere

We are excited to receive our esteemed dignitaries to our first in-person lecture since the onset of the pandemic.

Visitors will also experience a curation of artworks by children from around the city, reflecting their own visions of hope and healing for the future.

We invite everyone to join us for this powerful dialogue at the Cape Town City Hall, 7 October 2022; 19h00-21h00.

Book your free tickets on or stream the lecture on or on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Mkhuseli by Siphokazi Jonas

From Litnet

Stemme | Voices | Amazwi is LitNet’s series of 15 short, powerful monologues, written by established and upcoming playwrights, presented in collaboration with Suidoosterfees, NATi and ATKV.

In Siphokazi Jonas’ Mkhuseli, a fallen star whose memory was wiped when it fell to earth, stands guard at a shoreline to save the spirits of the drowned. Peggy Mongoato performs the monologue, directed by Qondiswa James. Watch the performance in isiXhosa with English subtitles here:

In this video, Peggy Mongoato and director Qondiswa James discuss their approach to Siphokazi’s monologue text.

The original text in isiXhosa:


A figure standing on the shore looking out to the water. It is a star who was sent to earth centuries ago to guard the shoreline and prevent mysterious drownings. The people of the place would hear a voice calling them into the water and walk in, never to return. The star takes on different human forms to avoid detection, and its memory was wiped before reaching earth so it would not yearn for home. Lately it has been hearing the same voice calling and remembering fragments of its history.

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
 when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place
 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

“Sondela emanzini.”

Libiza mna? Baninzi abahambi kufutshane nolwandle kodwa abeva nto. Ubomi buyaqhubeka. Xa ubizo lufika kuwe wedwa, ingaba lolwakho kuphela? Kudala ndime kule ndawo, ndityale iinyawo nengcinga kulomhlaba; ulikhaya kum ngoku. Ndisabele? Ngeentsuku zengqele, ndigrumba umngxunya, ndambathe isanti okwengubo esindayo. Maxa ligqatsa ilanga ndiye nditshonele ngasezantsi, kuvele intloko kuphela. Ayina mthunzi le indawo, kwinzingo zelixeshana, umqolo ungaphandle. Ndingummi wale ndawo, olunxweme. Ndithuthuzelwa ngumngeni ondibeke kule ndawo, umkhuseli wolunxweme. Ndikubona konke okwenzekayo – abafikayo, abangabuyiyo. Ndimi phakathi kwamaza nobomi. Inyawo zabo ziphaphatheka nomoya. Inyama yabemi beli iyonakala, bonzakala kukuhamba kwexesha, Amagama, iimbali, iimbuso, konke kumka nomoya, ndikhumbula konke okwenzeka kule ndawo, abo bandibonileyo bona bayandilibala lakutshona ilanga kuvuke inyanga.

“Sondela emanzini.”

Ndisabele? Ukusabela kukufa. Iphinde yandindwendwela imibono. Izingceba, ndizama ukuzicalucalula ndidibanise apha, ndidibanise phaya, kodwa kumfiliba. Mhla kuzala inyanga iphelela, iphezu kwentloko yam, kuduka namafu, ubusuku bufana nemini, kumnyama kumhlophe, ndiye ndiphinde ndibabone. Olu lwandle iba sisipili sam, ezinzulwini ndiye ndikhulule ubuntu kuvele umoya, ndiphande izinto zakudala endazilibalayo. Mhla ndivuka kolu nxweme, ndingenamzimba ndavuka ndingenankumbulo. Ndayiqokelela isanti ndayibumba, ndayenza umzimba, ndazakhela owam. Babuyile aba babini. Indoda nomfazi. Andibazi, kodwa ndiqinisekile baziwa ngumphefumlo. Xa ndibabona ngeliso lengcinga umlomo uyazivulekela, liyatyhudisa ilizwi liphuma kwimiphunga, ngomqala, liyazityekeza phezu kwamaza.




Andilazi eli thafa bakulo. Bancumelene. Abandihoyi. Ndiphi mna? Andiziboni kweli thafa kodwa ndiyayazi ndikhona phakathi kwabo, lo mbono uyanditshutshisa. Ndingawuthemba? Ndiqathwa lithemba? Bancumile, kodwa bayandishiya. Bancuma njani bendishiya?



“Ndilindeni, ndiyeza!”



Shwaka, ukukhanya! Amafu osula lo mbono, agquma ubuso benyanga, angcolisa isibhakbhaka angqimbilili, abiza umoya, kukho umsindo emanzini.

Ukufika kwam, ndazinika igama. Abantu bale ndawo babizana ngamagama, kwiilwimi ngeelwimi. Onegama uyasabela. Inyani yona, ayinamsebenzi, ndiphila ngeentsomi ukuhambisa amakhulu eminyaka ndilapha. Qashi, qashi, qashi, qashi, ndizalwa ngubani? Ngunonkala ohamba ngecala? Ziintaka ezigcwalisa isibhakabhaka? Emlonyeni wentlanzi enkulu, etica kolunxweme? Okanye ndifike ngamaza nemimoya ebhudlayo?

Mna ndithi ndizelwe yinyanga nelanga. Kwathi ke kaloku ngantsomi, ngobusuku obungaziwayo, kwinyanga yeSilimela suka ndavela kwisibhakabhaka. Oodade bam abasixhenxe, abazinkwenkwezi bekhona, bebukele, bendilindile. Andinalo igama kulentsomi, ndizithiya amagama amabini ndinguNyana, unyana wenyanga. Ndiphinde ndizibize uNtombi. Intombi yelanga. Nabaya oodade bam bexhonywe phezulu! uMaia, uElectra, uTaygete, uCelaeno, uAlcyone, uSterope, noMerope. Bavela xa ndibabiza, bekhatshwa yimvula. Xa ndizicingela, nam ndandiphakathi kweenkwenkwezi. Ubuso bam bufana nobenyanga …

“Sondela emanzini!”



“Ndilindeni, ndiyeza!”

Bandishiyele ntoni na? uNyana akalahlekanga ulahliwe. Kodwa ndiyakulinda, hleze badlule ngale ndlela kwakhona. Ndakuma kule ndawo mna Mkhuseli, ulwandle lungadluli apha. Abantu besisixeko, nabo bangadluli apha.

“Sondela emanzini.”

Ndikhetha uloyiko njengomhlobo wam. Ubunzulu bokungazi, nokungazazi, nokungaziwa buyandigubungela. Kubhalwe ntoni kule ncwadi imtyuba? Umzi owakhiwa phezu kwesanti uhamba nemimoya. Lo mzimba ngumzi wam. Ulilitye. Phakathi kwezulu nomhlaba.

“Sondela emanzini.”

An English translation of the text:


Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, “This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt”?

“Come closer to the water.”

Is it calling me? There are many travellers near the sea, but they do not hear anything. Life goes on. When a calling comes to you alone, is it only for you? I have long stood in this place, planting feet and thought in this earth; you are my home, now. Must I respond? On cold days, I dig a hole and cover myself with the sand like a heavy blanket. When the sun gets hot, I tend to sink to the bottom, and only my head appears. This place does not have shade; in the moment of trouble, I am exposed. I am a citizen of this place, this coastal area. I am comforted by the challenge that has put me in this position as the coast protector. I see it all happen – newcomers, and the ones who never come back. I stand between the waves and life. Their feet blown in the wind. The flesh of the people of this country is perishing, damaged by the passage of time. Names, histories, kingdoms – all goes with the wind. I remember everything that happens in this place; those who see me forget me when the sun goes down and the moon rises.

“Come closer to the water.”

Must I respond? The reaction is death. Visions visit me again. It is pieces; I’m trying to sort them out here, put them together, but it’s not clear. When the moon is full, and it is over my head, the clouds are gone, the night is like day, dark and white, I see them again. This sea becomes my mirror; in the depths, I release my personality and become spiritual, exploring the old things I have forgotten. When I wake up on this beach, I have no body, and I wake up with no memory. I collect sand and mould it, make it into a body, and make my own. Two people come back. Husband and wife. I do not know them, but I am sure they are known by my soul. When I see them in my mind’s eye, my mouth opens; my voice comes out of my lungs, down the throat, and rolls over the waves.

“My mother! My father! Where are you?”

I do not know this forest they are in. They are smiling at each other. They are ignoring me. Where am I? I do not see myself in this forest, but I know I am in their midst; this vision haunts me. Can I trust it? Am I being fooled by faith? They are smiling, but they are leaving me alone. How are they smiling but leaving me?

“My mother! My father! Wait for me, I am coming! My mother! My father!”

Light disappears! Clouds that obscure the view, cover the face of the moon, darken the sky, call for air, and there is a noise in the water.

When I arrived, I gave myself a name. The local people call each other with names, in different languages. The one with names responds. The truth is, it doesn’t matter; I live by myths to pass hundreds of years here. Guess, guess, guess, guess whom I was born to? Is the crab walking sideways? Are the birds filling the sky? In the mouth of a big fish, landing on the shore? Or did I come with the waves and storms?

I say I was born of the moon and the sun. Once upon a time, on a strange night, in the month of June, I suddenly appeared in the sky. My seven sisters, who are the stars, were there watching and waiting for me. I have no name in this myth. I give myself two names: I am Son, the Son of the Moon. I also call myself Maiden – the Maiden of the Sun. And those sisters of mine hanging up there! Maia, Electra, Taygete, Celaeno, Alcyone, Sterope and Merope. They appear when I call them, accompanied by rain. When I think about it, I am also among the stars. My face is like the moon.

“Come closer to the water.”

“My mother! My father! Wait for me, I am coming!”

Why have they left me? The Son is not lost; he is abandoned. But I’ll wait, lest they pass this way again. When I stand in this place, I am the Protector; the sea does not pass here. The people of the city, too, do not pass by.

“Come closer to the water.”

I prefer fear as my friend. The depths of ignorance, ignoring myself and being ignored overshadow me. What is written in this salty book? A city built on sand is carried away by winds. This body is my home. It is a stone between heaven and earth.

“Come closer to the water.”

Stemme | Voices | Amazwi is supported by the National Arts Council.

Stemme | Voices | Amazwi is a New Writing project of LitNet and is supported by the LW Hiemstra Trust.

All the monologues are available here:

Stemme | Voices | Amazwi