Skhumbuzo Letlaka (1964 - ) was born in the area of St. Wendolins Ridge, near Durban, and is the last born of ten children. He attended St. Wendolins Primary School and continued with his secondary education in Clermont, matriculating in 1983. He studied further in the town of KwaMakhutha where he obtained a Teachers Diploma and was awarded a scholarship to study in the United Kingdom. In 1989, he enrolled at the University College of Swansea, obtaining a BSc honours degree in 1992.
He returned to South Africa in 1992 and taught at Clermont high school for a period of ten years. Letlaka was a young activist who participated in the formation of the Clermont Youth League (CYL) in 1983 and was instrumental in the implementation of the Mandela Plan (M-Plan) which organised street committees in the Clermont Township under the tutelage of Mr. Archie Gumede. The CYL was affiliated with the United Democratic Front (UDF) and fiercely opposed the National Party government.
In 1986, he was detained while teaching at Jubilee Primary School. During his incarceration, he went on hunger strike for nine days and was released after a month. In 1987, he was arrested again and detained in the Pinetown Police Station. He married in 1995 and in 1997 he joined the United Democratic Movement, becoming a spokesman KwaZulu-Natal. In 2000, he joined the Democratic Party, which later became the Democratic Alliance (DA).
In 2013 he compiled an anthology of poetry entitled The Marrow of Life. The poems are about his life and those of his people. He is currently writing a novel entitled Condemned Again that discusses the persecution of UDF activists, poverty under the new dispensation, and the failing education system under the current government. The novel is set to be released in 2014.
Excerpt from "Marikana"
I smell trouble
A wildcat strike, it's been days
It's been weeks
I'm sitting on the sofa
Minding my own business
The afternoon is turned into a disaster
Marikana, oh! Marikana!
Why another Sharpeville?
Why are we counting corpses again?
Bodies piling up on the drenched soil
Drenched with the blood of protesting miners
Was it worth it? Genocide on my soil again.
Nelson Mandela is still alive
He has turned into a victim again
Witnessing the brutal carnage in his last days
Silenced and numbed by the infirmities of old age
The trigger-happy police have done it again
Except now, it's in a new dispensation.
2013. The Marrow of Life. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibirs Corporation.