Art and Literature for Africa and the World

Featured art by Mongezi Ncombo

Three Poems

Lullaby for Anokuhle


sweet child of the moon
resurrect the flames
of hope with your divine smiles
when diabetes
creates despair
paint me love
with your pure eyes
in this city
that knows
no peace
where tattered dreams
of black youth
are forgotten
your voice is a melody
that drowns out
sounds of gunshots
in our streets



Blues for an Illegal Miner


it is darkness
that knows the rhythm
of your fear

it is dust
that knows the landscape
of your skin

when you face
straight in the eye

it is the bowels
of the earth
that know your hunger



Illing Road


the air
the assorted scents
of umuthi

battle with fruits
& vegetables
on the pavement

and a tavern
coughs out
with wet gullets
but dried pockets

buses swallowing up
black men
& women

from various
of exploitation





Umuthi may be translated from the Zulu, in this context, as herbs used in traditional medicine. Isiphithiphithi may be translated as chaos or tumult.


Zama Madinana is a South African poet, based in Johannesburg. His work has appeared in The Shallow Tales Review, Stanzas, Africanwriter, Poetry Potion and other literary publications. His poems have been published in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and the USA.  Zama’s work focuses mainly on love, politics and social issues. In 2021, he won the third prize of Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award. His poetry chapbook, Water & Lights was published in June 2021. He has performed his poetry in various places including Botswana, Mozambique, and Lesotho.


Mongezi Ncombo was born in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. He studied Visual Art and Design at Central Johannesburg College. In 2010 he enrolled at the Artist Proof Studio, completing his studies in 2012. He works in mixed media and his work is composed of acrylic drawing ink, paint, and old postage stamp collage. Using abstract impressionism and realistic cubism, he recomposes patterns to project scenarios of urban and rural life. Since 2010, Mongezi has taken part in many prestigious exhibitions He is a participant in the Spier Arts Trust Mentorship Programme, and he is currently artist-in-residence at the Modern Art Project, South Africa. He also manages the Richmond Bookbinding Project.