The Rhodes Language Committee had run a multilingual poetry competition in the run up to the 16 May Multilingualism Awareness Colloquium. Poems were written in two or more of the Eastern Cape’s official languages (English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa or seSotho). The winning poem was “On the path of Izimvi” by Simthembile Matyobele, who received a prize of R500.
On the path of Izimvi
Phonoshono neNtaba uMthekhala
I saw long, gray broom-hair and scour-brush
Beards sweeping filth off the minds of abakhwetha,
Izimvi zihlwayela kumlimandlela wemilondekhaya.
Life rhythms flow from the hand of Ingcibi;
White-ochred, terrified and scarified to ward off
Oonomathotholo. Across the river Unkcwe evil spirits dwell.
Somagwaza ubugwala bubalekile! The song goes;
Burning incense, goat’s blood boiling, fire and incantations;
Husky voices, sonorous songs and humming and whistling;
Red-ochred, pain dead; spiritual dialogue is embraced,
Abayelenqi bafudukile abanxamnye nelemilondekhaya.
Aheziya! Aheziya! Aheziya!!
New seeds are cocooned in the earth’s bosom
Namhlanje amadoda abuyile, ishenxile imishologu!
Ngenani mlisela ningancathami, namkelekile!