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Imfundiso yokuzixolela (lessons in forgiving myself)

On 18 August a box full of books arrived and changed my life forever (incidentially 18 August was also the birthday yabatshana bam who turned 11 and 17). In the box were two books zesiXhosa: Unam Wena by Mthunzikazi Mbungwana and Ilifa by me (published by Uhlanga Press ). Yes, I published a book of poems ngesiXhosa. Nothing could have prepared me for the mixed emotions of imincili (excitement) and iinevs (anxiety). It was finally done. The book would be getting to people's hands and taking on a life of its own. I kept the moment to myself barring a short video which I've been sharing slowly with friends and family: zifikile iincwadi! The vulnerability of writing and sharing poetry has always had a different texture from sharing prose writing. As an academic I am less precious about my other writing. I have a pretty good handle on it; by and large I do it well; I have been told I write well. I have written thousands and thousands of words. But poetry. That's different. It ha

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