Thursday, 11 June 2015


Let me Take you (to the Land of the Gone)

I was born in Africa, under trees tall where leaves fall;
In their season, where rivers behold our souls…
In terrains of our heritage, under shadows;
Between yesterdays and today,
As I walk across dinteta, let me take you to the land;
Not too far but deeper into the wilderness, where our forefathers dwelt,
The land of imaginative kind; Matsaudi—our village;
Our pride, the pride of Africa’s silent wild, our lineage,
Where tongues know each other like winds of the grassland,

Let me take you there, where grandfathers told around a fireplace;
At evening shades like melodies of the wild…
Beneath our toes when rain shadows fall,
Where the great Ntema Saldiwara-a-Sinqaera dwelt;
Along the Tjaratjamba streams, further into Khoo!
Towards N’qarakaqae; the land of the owls,
As I dance to the songs of the gone;
Where great men and women sang their songs…
As the Inginga charmed their leqhuma rhythms;
To the infusion of seorooro,
As women attired in their mejamboro during their shembiro;
By the evening shadows,

Let me take you there;
Where cadences of the shivukuvuku echoed in fingers of the old,
Let me clap my hands old like untold stories of the drumbeat;
As I beat the intunguru altos and sopranos of the ingwama bass line,
Let me take you there, towards the ndoba along Santandadibe River;
To the nature calls of N’guldingani and Namoqhombora,
As tribes canoed and sledged across rivers in their o’to…
Into the thick bushes of N’xeepe;
Where ancient waYeyi buried their gone,
And reveal the mysterious tales of the forbidden jungle; Mazange fields;
Where traditions of witchcraft and superstitious norms behold,
As though our petition to the induna and rainmakers gone;
But times of yesterdays…

Let me walk with you between seekers of souls;
Of many men within, where bush doctors their herbs healed our sores,
From the roots and leaves of trees only known by them,
As orature told us of the great Zukura wafu; the magical one,
The great magicians whose magic was super powerful for one to rise from the dead,
Let me crawl with you there, between twigs and papyrus reeds green;
To the land of the river people; watsharaa! Watshapi!
Our forefathers who built dinteta and indoba as bridges across rivers;
For their crops would yield when winter days neared,
The great fishermen deep in their toes as women cultured their sinqwaa;
Deeper into waters of silent rivers,
As taboos behold in communities of the gone;
Their norms and customs, as herd boys faced each other as they play n’xabi,
And rattled like Mfecane wars, shackled like peasants’ vows in history,
But walked taller without fear of a lion’s face,
Yeme ndi mutsharaa! Ndati xwatisa nishozi paapeshi,
For the day is yet to come, for our eyes’ shine;
Like echoes of the wilderness before dawn…
I yearn to sing songs of the gone;
And tell their folktales like a shining star…


Onalethuso Petruss Buyile Ntema
The Voice of a Shadow, 2016


  1. A socio-cultural interpretative poem that throws one back to orature, wishing to have been there before anthropologic journals. It is a creative tourism piece that tells a poetic story about 'the land of the gone'. It transverses between modern and cultural traits of an African's heritage, a conservationist approach. - Onalethuso Petruss Buyile Ntema​, The Voice of a Shadow, 2016.

  2. Theme: Nature, Wildlife, Culture, Orature, History