Barolong Seboni (Botswana)

Por: Barolong Seboni


Lekadiba Gorge

being stone
you cannot bleed
yet from your open
springs this colourless
that seems to sustain

being rock
you do not breed
but you
the fertile verdure
that spreads like carpet
at your
insensible feet.

i hear you
in the trickling echo
of water
that resonates
in timeless tunes

against the ancient
walls of stone
that mouth
the thoughts
of your heart
deep as the earth
is dark and warm
like a blanket
that protects the souls
of Moffat



I love my black people
from all four corners
of this round earth.

I love my black people
ever in the quiet
of their loneliness
displaced, disparaged or detribalized.

I love my black people
with a wholesome love
that is rounder than linear
forces that pull all the heart
trying to tear us apart.

I love my black people
even in their moments of insanity
to regain the loss of mind
and recover their sense of pride.

I love my black people
so much that I cry
when they soften in the face
of arrogance and insult
when they grow weak
in the face of brutality
when they falter
in the face of pride.

I love my beautiful black people
for being black in the wash of whiteness
and staying black in
the Europes
the Americas
the Islands
and the world as wide as the yawning seas.

I love my black people
in their blackness
as they carry me
in their wombs
carry me
with their songs
carry me
in their memory
move me
with their deep stillness
revive me in their souls
of blackness.

I love my black people
for I am recreated
in their love poems
I am the black
love song
and I who have
been carried
carry them across
transatlantic treachery
to their ancient cradle
to rest there forever.



I who
meander through
the labyrinths
of your thoughts
in the maze of your mind
gild the cobwebs of time
with golden youth
paint the arch
of a rainbow
with a spray of droplets of dew

I who
peel off your
python skin
of elusive colours
slough off prophylactic barriers
that sex us

Barolong Seboni is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Botswana. He did part of his schooling in London, obtained his BA at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (UBLS), and has a Masters Degree in English Literature from Madison University, Wisconsin. In 1993, Seboni was the poet-in-residence at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

Apart from being a poet and academic, he is also a well-regarded newspaper columnist, radio presenter, and cultural activist, making a significant mark on Botswana’s arts for three decades. Seboni is a founder member of the Writers’ Association of Botswana, the Writers Association of the University of Botswana, and its journal Mokwadi and a patron of the Live Poets. He was also part of the delegations that established the Pan African and South African Writers’ Associations. He recently returned from the International Writers’ Programme at the University of Iowa, where he worked on two projects: an anthology of Nitty Gritty, his columns from The Guardian newspaper, and the translation into English of Botswana proverbs. The compilation of 1400 proverbs is adapted from a Setswana collection entitled Diane la Maele (collected and written by his uncle Professor M.O.M. Seboni). These two works are set to make a notable contribution to Botswana literature. Barolong Seboni’s most recent initiative is to set up a literary journal of free expression at intellectual, political, academic and literary levels, in the hope that it will encourage the exchange of ideas.

Bibliography: Images of the Sun, University of Wisconsin, African Studies Program, 1986; Screams and Pleas, ed Seboni, Mmegi Publishing House, 1992; Lovesongs, Morula Publishers, 1994; Windsongs of the Kgalagdi, Macmillan, 1995; Botswana Cultural Directory, Morula Publishers, 1995; Botswana Poetry Anthology, ed Seboni, and Biakolo, Morula Publishers, 2002; Lighting the Fire – Literature Anthology for Secondary Schools, Macmillan Botswana, 2003.

Took from 8th Poetry Africa Festival

Última actualización: 29/01/2021