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About this story

Author: Shayna Meliker

Date: January 2011

People: Sanele Ntshingana

Sanele Ntshingana likes to write about his everyday life in the township. He plans to head off to college in the fall.

Hlalani, My Dwelling, My Domicile

Hlalani, my dwelling, my domicile
this is how I view you.

Your ever dusty monotonous gravel roads.
Your comic houses engulfed by tall trees
originated from Mount Zion, nevertheless full of wicked deeds.

You will never get tranquility in this village.
Neighbours always swear at each other
fighting fiercely when intoxicated
small children so reluctant to set off to school.

No promising expectations, no unity, no amity,
just Calamity.

When it’s dusk and you enter the first lane of my village
You will see earliest thugs glancing at your possessions
giving you frightening facial expressions
then an apprehensive sentiment takes its toll.

Starvation is the middle name of Hlalani
When you pass by my village during the day
You will perceive some attractive Equus asinus with lean structures
and Canis familiaris seeking for food in all quarters
Due to humongous starvation.

Hlalani, my dwelling, my domicile
you have never given me love
that any typical child deserves
but proclaiming the truth
does not mean I am complaining.

I am successful
and I have vanquished
those ghastly circumstances.

I have acquired endurance, fortitude and charity.

I thank you, Hlalani, for giving me an opportunity to reside in you
and now I have an attitude of gratitude.

Data points: According to estimates made by the Human Sciences Research Council, 57% of South Africans were living below the poverty line in 2001. In the Eastern Cape Province that includes Grahamstown, it is 72%.

Poetry releases his “inner man”

By: Shayna Meliker

Sanele Ntshingana is a 17-year-old living in Grahamstown, South Africa. He writes poetry and is involved in Upstart, a youth newspaper project that began in 2007. A senior in high school, Sanele plans to attend college next year and major in journalism or marine biology.

Sanele has been composing poetry for three years, and said he only writes when he’s inspired by something. He wrote this poem, “Hlalani, My Dwelling, My Domicile,” about Hlalani, his neighborhood in the township of Grahamstown.

“I want people to see just a different image of what other people are going through,” Sanele said. “We face different situations in different places and hence, in this poem, I reveal a different image and different perspective of what I think about my village.

“When I relax having nothing to do, I just take out a paper and a pen and I write. I love creativity and I just take what’s in my inner man and I express it through writing. Every situation in life that I come across with which I feel like it has to be heard by people, I just write it down.

“And I write only when I’m inspired by a particular thing.”

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  • Fantastic!  Watch out for this young man in the years to come – he is clearly talented but keeps his feet firmly and modestly on the ground. He and his peers are the future of the new South Africa.

  • Sarah

    Well done Sanele, you are going places. You have Talent, so never let that fall. Its an inate thing!