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Skhumbuzo Letlaka PDF Print E-mail

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. HIn 2015, his novel, Condemned Again, was released. Condemned Again discusses the persecution of UDF activists, poverty under the new dispensation, and the failing education system under the current government.


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.

2015. Condemned Again. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibirs Corporation.