Art and Literature for Africa and the World



Two Poems

We Danced with Strangers Laughter and the touch of strangers are what I remember most that night, moments before the old year gave way to the new. We danced in circles intoxicated not with alcohol, but with something that had nothing to do with the past. My brown arms grew sweaty as they rubbed against […]


We build a pyre, my lover and I, and start to make a pact off the flames here, in the middle of the world here, which doubles as the focal point of nowhere, we trace the twinkling locomotion of glow worms, count moments between each illumination and the next. These nights are theirs, you tell […]

Abecedarian for Death by Euthanasia

After I give release, the body becomes a decision made. No longer body, it is now corpse. A memory to dig a hole for or to scatter in a garden. In death there is no pain. No tails to wag or faces to lick, no excitement, only stillness. Once breath fades, I remove all mark […]


I’ve had the same tightrope for 25 years. Mark, who was trained by the fearless Philip Petite, taught me how to walk the rope. Mark could juggle balls, bowling pins, and torches on fire while walking across. I can’t – but I can let the rope swing wildly under me and then stop it without […]

Left Hand

As sung by those who have experienced miracles. Legend is told of one Saint Francis of Assisi at the mount of La Verna his left hand blocking the rays of scorching sun as he was approached by an angelic figure with visible scars as if inflicted by bronze nails of Jerusalem’s fingers & there is […]

Electronic City

The new suburbs create Confession booths out of lofty balconies. We kneel in front of the remaining trees. The new offshoots in concrete Written off as weed— The soil knows only what it grows. Born as a raita amongst leafy kindness, You ward off tourists in the farmland As meticulously as parasites in a crop. […]

Shutdown – Shotdown

One of the joys of Johannesburg’s summers are the quick, violent, electric thunderstorms that follow a day so hot that the tar on the road melts and sits in the cracks like black shiny lava.  Mid-afternoon relief comes in the form of large raindrops, forked lightning and, sometimes, even hailstones that pelt down from the […]

A Room with No One in It

speaks with copper-tipped tongues, makes more rumblings against silence than any riotous crowd in the market.   The dead’s presence is there as it never was in the days of dinner parties, hellos and goodbyes, teacups, roses.   A classroom screams out children’s names, the great hall shouts of all those who will come or […]


Sunshine, and the veld is suddenly green.More than green – feel the -ness-ness of it all,the lush-ness, avocado-ness, verdurebottled in a rich seenowwetoldyou-nessunfolding across a pregnant hillside. Hatching, emergent, oceanpearlgreen-nessopens its arms in simple greeting, itsolive glow an embrace, new abundance,the welcomehomeourhumanfriend-nessof an elephant’s mountainous smile.             Harry Owen is […]

Two Poems

A Brief Account of His Escalating Petulance His silence, at the start, a small nuisance like gnats in a cramped kitchen. His silence, a snorted Harumph, smug sniggering from a secret room. His silence behind a bogus smile like a clown, or a hyena. A silence whose tongue grows dry. A silence that’s seen its […]


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