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Skhumbuzo Letlaka PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 13:21

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.


Shafinaaz Hassim PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 24 March 2014 12:50

Shafinaaz Hassim obtained a Master of Arts  in Social Science at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. After working in the field of social science research, she lectured undergraduate and postgraduate courses in post-structuralist feminism at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban and at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She has presented seminars based on her research at the University of Humboldt.

Her works include Daughters are Diamonds: honour, shame & seclusion- a South African perspective (2007) and Memoirs for Kimy (2009). Her first book was launched at the Cape Town Book Fair in 2007. Her second book was launched on Women’s Day at Museum Africa during the Jozi Book Fair in 2009. Her most recent offering, SoPhia (2012), is a novel about domestic violence. SoPhia is not a character but rather the multidimensional psychological standpoint of Zarren, the protagonist of the novel. Hassim delves into the process of revelation that Zarren takes, as a victim of abuse, to answer the question of why many women choose to stay in abusive relationships.

Hassim currently works as an online journalist for the Mail and Guardian and sits on the board of trustees of the Wiphold Trust, an investment and operating company based in Gauteng. She is also engaged in the research and write-up of the biography of exiled ANC activist, Maulvi Cachalia.

Faces, spaces, reflections

Often, dreams are severed in the hopes of a happy family. Sacrifice accentuates self-worth. It takes a lot of stepping away from the mirror, and then returning to face it square in the eye before a selfish decision can be made to live the life you're meant to live.
These days, the face in the rear-view mirror seems nervous, at all that is being left behind, perhaps filled with fear at what lies ahead. Sometimes it feels like every step forward, takes you further away from where you belong.
Soon, we'll find that the face in the compact mirror is haggard. Not the same, filled with the memory of yesterday's hopes and dreams, the forgotten songs on the playground that echo to this day; the taste of candy still fresh on the tongue. Alas. They just don't make things quite like they used to.
Faces in the mirror do just one thing: they only focus on what's right in front of them, and sometimes omit to see the full picture. This is the conundrum we're caught up in. We fixate on self-reference. My identity, my race, my beliefs. We make value judgments and decisions based on this form of reference. We choose to imprison ourselves in these frozen boxes of history. And we do very little to bridge gaps.
When I look in the mirror, I want to see transformation. Not just growth, don't get me wrong, there is always growth, change, dimensions of newness. What I want to see is a shift in consciousness, and evolution of spirit. That's the only turn of face that will take this rainbow nation forward. And in order for that to happen, South Africans need active citizen participation. Face to face with a democracy that's very much alive.


2007.  Daughters are Diamonds.  Wandsbeck: Reach Publishers:
2009.  Memoirs For Kimya.  Johannesburg: Wordfire Press
2012.  SoPhia.  Johannesburg: WordFlute

Mafukuzela Week at Ohlange High School PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 March 2014 11:14

By Sbongiseni Dladla

The residents of Ohlange, Inanda celebrated this year’s Mafukuzela week by honouring former President, Nelson Mandela. Mafukuzela week is dedicated to the founder of the school, Dr John Langalibalele Dube and, during the week, the learners at Ohlange Institute performed a series of activities in honour of the late founder. Mafukuzela week runs from the 11th   to the 16th of February, coinciding with the State of the Nation address delivered by President Jacob Zuma. At this year’s event, praise poems and speeches were performed by learners in honouring Mandela’s legacy and the role he played for the school.

Mafukuzela Week acknowledges the tributes paid at Dube’s funeral and includes reading of his obituary and a memorial service. Dube was an educator, African nationalist and politician, ordained minister of the Congregational (American Board) Church, an essayist, philosopher, publisher, editor, novelist, and poet. He was also the founding president of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), which became the African National Congress in 1923.
This year his memorial service included that of Nelson Mandela in honour of him as he cast his vote at the Ohlange Institute in South Africa’s first democratic elections on the 27th of April 1994.

Mafukuzela Week was instated in 1956 as people at Ohlange felt that there was a need for his story to be told by the people who lived in the area. This week draws people from all over the world to come and share their opinions on Dube’s political views.  Through the institution, he sought to create a class of independent and educated entrepreneurs who would represent the political and economic ideas of an educated black demographic.


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