ALL THE PLACES
All the places he goes to
remind him of where he comes from.
He cannot escape his background; it’s always with him.
Like now, seated at a long shiny table in a hotel
with colleagues who overlook his township English
and laugh kindly at his jokes.
He cannot look at his sparkling fork and knife
without thinking of holidays spent at his father’s birthplace
gathered around a huge bowl of maas with his cousins,
digging in with his hands.
In his moving debut collection, Musawenkosi Khanyile speaks for the heartache, perseverance and untriumphant triumph of township life. Through snapshots and memories of family and community, centred around the boy- and young manhood of a single narrator, All The Places is a rare and compelling poetic Bildungsroman, with the ambition and scope of a novel, paired with (and pared down to) minimalist and clear-eyed verse.
Concurrently original and quintessentially South African, these poems mark Khanyile out as a skilled stylist and storyteller – a frank and important new voice in South African literature.
Musawenkosi Khanyile was born in 1991 and raised in Nseleni. He holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Zululand, and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of the Western Cape. His first published poems appeared in an uHlanga magazine released in 2014. He currently lives in Cape Town. This is his first book.