Longtime visitors to my blog will remember my good friend in South Africa, Silindile Ntuli. She began contributing poems in 2010 but eventually put her pen down as her health continued to worsen and the nearly constant companion of pain made rest difficult. I am delighted to say that lately Silindile has found new determination to write.
Silindile is a brave young woman, witty and loving. Her malady has not been fully diagnosed but somehow she finds the strength and emotional courage to deal with what life has dealt her.
Sometimes her poetry deals with dark subjects but her conversations are always upbeat even though she must spend much of her life in bed or sitting in a chair outside. Here’s an example of her poem posted here in October 2010 and which received the most votes (we used to vote each month on our favorite W.O.M. efforts).
This Change, Wishing It Away
I’ve seen the devil’s eyes,
Filled with hatred and hungry for torment.
I looked into those eyes; I was just a little girl.
Each touch, no each yank left a bruise on my skin,
Each drag made me scream out loud,
But my heart was suffering the most,
In a fog I could not understand.
A slap across my face followed by harsh words,
The smell of his body suffocated me,
That alone brought him to a smile.
I looked in the eyes of hatred,
Wondering what my crime was.
Till I found myself facing a knife,
I was not even five.
This sudden change was new to me,
But I knew it was evil at its best.
Send me down my angel,
Fling him down, throw him down.
I need help, because my soul is dying.
They told me about angels,
I need mine by my side.
Just a few minutes ago,
I was playing with my teddy.
Now my head is pinned to the dirty ground,
I am only a little girl.
Minutes later I’m sleeping on the ground,
Tightly holding my teddy.
My clothes are dirty from the dragging,
My body is in pain,
The kind I never knew existed.
My soul is filled with hatred,
And burning with anger.
Traumatized little girl,
Heart shattered into pieces.
I cry myself to sleep on the floor,
Clutching my brown bear.
— Silindile Ntuli
Silindile is a Zulu and a natural teacher. Her notes to me are often sprinkled with Zulu words and expressions (with clear explanations) and I’ve kept a list over the years. Today I’m going to give you some examples. Here goes.
Sawubona (hello) othandekayo (beloved) izmngani (friends) wami (my).
Often I think of you as isbhuti (brothers) wami (my) and izdadewethu (little sisters) wami (my).
Unjani (How are you)?
Inhlobo (summer) is passing so I hope you have not isikhathi esilahekile (lost time) when you could be writing an inkondlo (poem) or reading a good incwadi (book) or keeping up with the iphephandaba (newspaper).
Have you gone riding in the imoto (car), in an isikebha (boat), or on an ibhayisekili (bicycle)?
Kade ngakugcina (It’s been a long time) since some of you have commented. Ngihyakukhumbula! (I miss you!)
Ungakhathazeki (Don’t worry) izmngani (friends) wami (my). There is plenty of isikhathi (time) to share your izindaba (news).
Time for me to go. Salakahle (Goodbye) izmngani (friends) othandekayo (beloved). I am happy that my blog is blessed with woza woza (the power to bring you back).
As for you, Silindile, dadewethu (little sister) wami (my), thank you for all the lessons. Thank you for being so courageous. Thank you for being you.