lebo mashile – ‘sisters’ | the body bill of rights

I see the wisdom of eternities
in ample thighs
belying their presence as adornments
to the temples of my sisters
old souls breath
in the comfort of chocolate thickness
that suffocates Africa’s angels
who dance to the rhythm of the universe’s womb
though they cannot feel its origins in their veins

Blessed am I to be love in the temple of my own skin
my nappy centre kisses the sun
in a harmony divine
devoid of the ugly that does not know this as God
but the sons of oppression
never gave sisters
loaves to feed the hungry fury in their bellies
nor did they teach them to fish for spirit

So I pray
to the voices that whisper in my soft curves
for the lionesses of my blood
to hear the songs of the cool reeds
to feel the green blood beat of cataclysm on their breasts
and to know the embrace of freedom
in nourishing silences
where their radiant ebony vessels
are reflections of their souls


The illustrious Lebo Mashile is one part messenger, one part voice of African women, one part revolutionary and all parts Queen.

Last year she headed up a campaign with Marie Claire magazine promoting body love and healthy attitudes towards our bodies as women. Taking ownership of our vessels.

She penned the Body Bill Of Rights, which is a manifesto to women everywhere to commit to honour, respect and fiercely love the temple which we have been given.

Inspires with her words, empowers with her spirit.

Lebogang Mashile, we salute you.


more about Lebo here: http://www.lebomashileonline.com


star tissue

the enzyme of truth cut through ruses of raw reality;
unblemished, my layers, once shed without resistance;

return to me, oh prodigal existence of the rational mind;
magnified bruises of doubt and indiscretion, stain flesh untainted by consequence;

psyche runs fluid, into a river of drowning daydreams;
heart marked for life, scarred totem in honour of our whispers;
to heal, the sting must multiply;
to grow, the screams must amplify.


a eulogy to wrong love

the angels mourn today, a heart laid down to sleep;
cherubim grieve, seraphim seethe, the memories were never theirs to keep;

celestial union turned burnt out nova, wandering across lost galaxies,
purpose of formation yet unseen though felt in empty chest cavities;

womb to tomb the silver thread links spirits through existence,
gardens grew from concrete graves,
where the hopes of a legion of long-last loves met saccharine death untimely;

here lies the legend, the one who got away, the fallacy of dreamt up desires, that never got to dance in the cold, green light of day.


(Inspired by this excerpt from C.S Lewis’ book Four Loves)

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”


ma – antjie krog

Ma, ek skryf vir jou ‘n gedig
sonder fensie leestekens
sonder woorde wat rym
sonder bywoorde
net sommer
‘n kaalvoetgedig
want jy maak my groot
in jou krom klein handjies
jy beitel my met jou swart oë
en spits woorde
jy draai jou leiklipkop
jy lag en breek my tente op
maar jy offer my elke aand
vir jou Here God.
jou moesie-oor is my enigste telefoon
jou huis my enigste bybel
jou naam my breekwater teen die lewe
ek is so jammer mamma
dat ek nie is
wat ek graag vir jou wil wees nie.

By extraordinary South African poet and writer Antjie Krog (pictured here).

One of the most memorable poems I recall from high school. My grade 11 Afrikaans teacher made us recite this poem everyday for a week, the intensity of the words, the imagery, the raw emotion, the beauty of the Afrikaans language. This poem makes me think of my own relationship with my mother. The respect, the gratitude, the admiration and most of all the LOVE I am shown by and have for a woman who raised me on her own for 18 of my 28 years. It has stuck with me ever since.

Mommy I salute you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and guardians out there.