African history
The Revenue Hall rises above a field of palm trees in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Located between Robert Mugabe Way and Samuel Parirenyatwa Road, ratepayers pay their bills at Revenue Hall. (Ndaba Sibanda)

That Is Where My Umbilical Cord Is
by Ndaba Sibanda

Today you stand tall in defiance of all the challenges
Right in the southwestern part of the country

Just like in the year 1893 when a Union flag was raised
As the huts of King Lobengula’s capital were up in flames

Did Dr. Leander Starr Jameson not congratulate himself
For scoring a British South Africa company’s victory?

In the first place, why did King Lobengula say: I’m he who is
Persecuted and rejected, if his ascension had been bloodless?

* * *

These days some young folk affectionately call you Skies
I prefer to call you Ntuthuziyathunqa or Ntuthu in short

A nickname which speaks volumes
About you being an industrial hub

Or so you used to be a habitation
Where industrial smoke abounded

Bulawayo my majestic city
Bulawayo what a stunning city

Bulawayo rich in cultural history
Were you not the commercial capital?

A great gateway to Southern Africa?
Were you not our transport nucleus?

For you provided rail links between
Botswana and South Africa and Zambia

Located within the vicinity of the Matobo Hills
And the Victoria Falls and the Hwange National Park

They can do or say whatever they want
But Bulawayo you are my umbilical cord

You are my pride and in my heart forever
Bulawayo City of Kings and Queens

Roar Into Life
by Ndaba Sibanda

it’s better to give us a plate
full of fried bitterness than
too much sugar because
that causes fat droplets!

it was as if I were listening
to a team of tough-talking
health and fitness experts
but those were editors!

they ranted: speak rawness
into the truth about life
stretch our capacity
for compassion

test our understanding
enter the heart of what
we cherish or cheapen
and interrogate it madly

I knew then that the narrative
was never going to be a sleep-
inducing affair anymore
but a wake-up call

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Ndaba Sibanda’s poems, essays and short stories have been featured in many and various journals and magazines like: The Piker Press, Bricolage, The Dying Goose, Whispering Prairie Press, Saraba Magazine and He is from Zimbabwe and lives in Kuwait.