As If They Minded by Ndaba Sibanda – Book Review by Banqobile Virginia Dakamela, Bulawayo

Banqobile Virginia Dakamela, Bulawayo wrote a compelling review for Ndaba Sibanda’s book, As If They Minded. It is a book that is very relevant these days, and Banqobile gives a glowing description. I encourage you to go take a look.

Book Review by Banqobile Virginia Dakamela, Bulawayo

As If They Minded

Martin Luther King once said, Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light cannot do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love cannot do that. Ndaba Sibanda’s poems are dedicated to what is left of peace and honesty. Indeed they advocate for peace and honesty through a wide range of concerns and subjects that vary from gender relations, nostalgia, nature, politics, race relations to social responsibility. The tone in most of the poems is scathing, satirical, animated whilst the pieces maintain and sustain an alluring rhythm.
In ‘ Family Time’, the poet is nostalgic as his desire to fly on a plane and tour the world is replaced by an ache to spend time with his family.

they say jewelery is timeless and can be
passed down from generation to generation
but now my treasure is quality time with family

He also expresses the frustrations of a long distance relationship in the poem, ‘ A Solid Impression. The poet expresses his love for nature through the idyllic journeys to places of attraction. He is mesmerized by the beauty of the Namibian lands, the incredible rivers, waterfalls and beaches of Angola, the majesty of the Victoria Falls, the grandeur of Matopo Hills, the mystery of the caves and the splendor of the Esigodini Hills.

Visiting Namibia is like taking an excursion
To a heaven of deserts and wildlife reserves;
It is like exploring the lovely curves of a lover.
A rich experience that transports and transforms,
And leaves one mesmerised tenfold times ten!

Poetry in this book is interspersed with wordplay and figurative language. It is one of the ingredients of this publication, and by extension, the signature of the author. For example, the poem ‘Just A Jostling Village’ is alive with humor and wit from the first line to the last one.

they say they do not want to live in a city
where police stations are robbed every day
where marriage counselors are in the habit
of filing for divorce, where working is not working for many
where flameproof fire stations have an appetite for burning down
where purity is as clear as mud, where love is cash, poverty is worthy!
where normalcy is as sweet as seeing pregnant virgins high on the pill!

Relations between men and women are scrutinized in a number of poems. These are marked by either passion or conflict. In ‘ Hotel Music ‘, the persona fails to sleep because of a couple’s passionate love- making sounds which he finds distractive. In ‘Romance Tourism’, a couple’s love and intimacy is explored in what can be summed up by the axiom, ‘ shooting birds with one stone ‘. Whilst they explore their romance, they also get to appreciate and experience the tourism of a country. On a profounder note, the poet bravely casts lights on the racialized, exoticized, and hypersexualized stereotypes involving local men, usually in Africa, the Caribbean or in Asia and the female tourists from economically well-off countries, usually in Europe and North America.

Rich older women in the young loving arms of poor local men who received gifts and cash
They seemed to enjoy succulent seafood and topped it off with beer and romantic carousing

In ‘House Number 12 Foot Street’, a bitter wife is tipped off on her husband’s shenanigans and she exposes the illicit affair. Like a number of pieces in this collection, this particular one is a shape poem.
Sibanda’s poems also touch on social responsibility. In ‘Fierce Fiesta’, people are merry-making and indulging excessively in food and drink. The poet plants a reminder that in the midst of all the fun people should not forget about the future and different fees that have to be paid. In ‘Listening To A Guest On The Radio’,the poet is raising awareness on the need for a healthy lifestyle while in ‘From Scars To Stars’, he is encouraging the inhabitants of a certain city to move away from the hurt and pain of political marginalization to working hard to improve or free their lives. In poems that forge for social responsibility, he is also pushing the audience to frown on all forms of immorality and laziness but to find responsibility in hard work, creativity and resilience.

The poet also touches on the importance of one’s identity, heritage and history in the poem, ‘That Is Where My Umbilical Cord Is’. The persona speaks with pride and passion about his city of birth, Bulawayo. A royal city, it symbolizes his cultural roots and childhood years and their impact on him.

Today you stand tall in defiance of all the challenges
Right in the southern ­western 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?

Some of the poems also speak on challenges that writers experience in their careers. In ‘Roar To Life’, editors encourage a young writer to write quality work. In Hallmarks Of Unprofessionalism’, a female writer is frustrated by the insensitivity of her publishers who fail to give her royalties for the work she has done. Some of his poems have a rousing touch to them. In ‘Crazy, Be Really Crazy Young Man’, the persona is reinvigorated to take up writing not only as a career, but as a challenge to reach dizzy heights.

the profession of writing chose you
like birds building their nests on trees

the prophet said sorry young man
I cannot exorcise you without

getting hurt myself and my conscience
because that`s your forte and science

The poet further probes into race relations, where he questions some sections of the white race’s half -hearted acceptance of the black race. In’Is there Dignity In That Immensity’, the poet lambasts those who are still imprisoned and driven by blind feelings of supremacy, unilateralism, racism and greed instead of embracing true values of decency, democracy, humanity and unity.

The bulk of the poems in the collection are an attack on the political terrain of a country. The poet mocks the self-centeredness of a dictator. In the poem, ‘As If They Didn’t Know’, he mocks the lavish lifestyle of a dictator who preaches patriotism and progress, yet he gallivants about while the masses are forsaken in peril and poverty. The poet has unkind words for a claimant who pretends to better than his predecessor, yet in practice he is just a product of the same undemocratic and tyrannous regime. In the poem, ‘ Of Sycophantic Peacemakers ‘, the inheritor pretends to be sympathetic and peaceful yet he is the engineer and perpetrator of the hatred, chaos and division in a country. When the country seeks to make a fresh break with its scared past and is in need of a true reformer, sadly an antipode takes over. In ‘ Haunted By His Mentors` Disastrous Ghost’, the poet also ridicules the successor for pretending to be different from or be better than his prototype. The poet also laments the state of the dilapidating economy. In the poem, ‘Finally ‘ he shows a country going through the worst economic meltdown in years. In ‘Of Policies And Capacities’ the poet exposes and satirizes corrupt tendencies that he blames for bringing the country to its knees. The poem has an interesting end rhyme scheme.

this economy has whiskey
how can it be so drunk and risky?
the poor say the prognosis is easy
for this country has a terrible leprosy
termites and maggots of corruption
and governance constitute its destruction

There is a spiritual dimension to the presentation of his poetry. In the face of gloom and doom, the poet paints a picture of hope, vitality and victory. For example, in ‘A Done Deal’ there is a biblical allusion of Isaac.

the view could be blurred by
roaring and furious mists over
high mountains and sharp rocks
the road could be filled with thorns
and bottomless potholes and explosives
like an eagle Thembani—soars beyond
the hurdles and prevailing situation around him
like an eagle he knows that as he soars the snakes
he is clutching in his fist are a done and defeated deal
like one Isaac he is prospering in the face of adversities!

Ndaba Sibanda has proved once more that he is a socially, culturally, spiritually and politically conscious poet who is a voice for the voiceless. His poems are a pleasure to read. They are a must-read for both leisure and academic purposes. Sibanda uses language in a gripping fashion because he breathes life into his words. For Betsy Perluss in Wilderness Guide says, “If language is our way of describing the world, poetry gives it life.”

Biography of the author
Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and for Best of the Net, Sibanda is the author of Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things, The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence, The Way Forward, The Ndaba Jamela and Collections and Poetry Pharmacy.

Banqobile Virginia Dakamela, Bulawayo.

Author of Book Review:

Banqobile Virginia Dakamela, Bulawayo is a writer who hails from Zimbabwe. She has written a story that was published in an anthology which was studied at high schools and is a set book in a local university. She has written extensively and is in the process of publishing some of her novels.

Black Lives Matter – Poem by Bethel Abiy

Bethel Abiy sent me this heartfelt poem and asked it to be shared with all of you during this time. Let us take a moment to hear her voice.


Being black is not an option but being racist is

Life is not a joke it’s more than just a heartbeat

Attacking your brother won’t make you any stronger

Crying for your loved ones wont heal your heart faster

Keeping track of the lose of black people through social media is hard but off screen is harder

Love each and every moment of your life cause you might be the next one to die

I thought we get stronger everyday but you are the reason why we are all living in pain

Victim number one is you but somehow you are invisible

Earth is shaking not because it’s weak but because you are destroying its strong armies

Stop taking false action because you are causing a huge distraction

Monday to Sunday are the only days I fear and that is because you are so near

As people call you for help you only arrive to kill lives

Time keeps passing by and as that happens racism should have died

Truth doesn’t exist as each and every crime is fixed with different lies

End doesn’t seem to be near cause you keep fueling it as it dims, but

Remember Black Lives Matter


  Bethel Abiy, born on April 12, 2003, is a young poet. She is a very creative and open-minded artist. She was born and raised in Ethiopia. By her mother Miss Hana and father Mr. Abiy. She is the author of Freedom which was released on February 25.

Pausing For Solidarity – #blacklivesmatter

Dear Ponderbots,

I took a lot of time thinking things over today, and have decided to put a pause on this new series, One-Liners Abound. I thought it might be good to keep going to try and keep spirits up, but it just didn’t feel right given the circumstances. In solidarity of the black community, I will be pausing this weeks with the series and will restart next week.

May we learn to love better, listen more intently, and stop systemic racism.

Thank you all, and stay safe!

-Mia Savant

My Friend’s River Beauty and Other Poetry by Ndaba Sibanda

Still Shining

A beautiful end to our Still Shining Series, we have the talented Ndaba Sibanda! He is a Ponder Savant regular and brings an energy to his writing style. Come see the marvelous poetry that he has written through the pandemic.

My Friend`s River Beauty

why they live in water
it`s a mystery, in a river

they possibly tuck into it–
seaweed, and swim ashore

they also diet on fish, crabs,
clams ,shrimp, oysters , lobsters

my dear friend fell in love
with one of them, his beauty!

a faraway river is their rendezvous
he confesses she`s romantic and fun!

though these days the two lovely lovebirds
barely hang-out owing to self-distancing!

I think she is human, after all
except that she has the tail of a fish

and no wonder she pees and poops
from her belly button, so says my chum!

New Kids’ Register Riddles

2026: Marking The Preschool Register
Teacher: if you’re present, say ‘present’
And, if you are not here just say ‘absent’

Corona 2020. Silence. Teacher: ‘That’s a pass!’
Wear A Mask.’ Yes’. Teacher: Say ‘present please’.
Lowdown. ‘Lockdown’. Teacher: ‘Lord have mercy!’
Cant read this.’Qua…Quarrel?’ Kid: ‘Im Quarantine’
Was Hands.’ I’m Wash Hands’. Teacher: ‘My apologies!’
Sanity-seizer. ‘I’m Sanitizer’. Teacher: ‘For a reason!’
Coffee Fit 9.’ l’m COVID-19′. Teacher: ‘Sorry, whatever’
Self-lation.’I’m Self-isolation’. Teacher: ‘Hmmm, l see’.
Loves.’l’ m Gloves.’ Teacher: ‘Like hand in glove, kid!’
Pandemics. ‘Absent’ Teacher. ‘Wow’. Kid: ‘Coz l hate ’em’


A 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee, Ndaba’s poems have been widely anthologised. Sibanda is the author of The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache: Unsympathetic Untruth, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence and Poetry Pharmacy. His work is featured in The Anthology House, in The New Shoots Anthology, and in The Van Gogh Anthology, and A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Poetic Intersections. Some of Ndaba’s works are found or forthcoming in Page & Spine, Peeking Cat, Piker Press, SCARLET LEAF REVIEW, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the Pangolin Review, Kalahari Review, Botsotso, The Ofi Press Magazine, Hawaii Pacific Review, Deltona Howl, The song is, Indian Review, Eunoia Review, JONAH magazine, Saraba Magazine, Poetry Potion, Saraba Magazine, The Borfski Press, Snippets, East Coast Literary Review, Random Poem Tree, festival-of-language and Whispering Prairie Press.
Sibanda’s forthcoming book Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things: Confronting Controversies,Contradictions And Indoctrinations was considered for The 2019 Restless Book Prize for New Immigrant Writing in Nonfiction. Ndaba’s other forthcoming book Cabinet Meetings: Of Big And Small Preys was considered for The Graywolf Press Africa Prize 2018.
Sibanda’s other forthcoming books include Timbomb, Dear Dawn And Daylight, Sometimes Seasons Come With Unseasonal Harvests, A Different Ballgame and The Way Forward.

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 Let`s Get Cracking! – Ndaba Sibanda -

Courageous & Other Poetry and Music by Tim Kahl

Still Shining

Tim Kahl adds flare to his poetry by setting it to music! Each musical piece is designed to match the essence of the poetry. Take some time to come listen and appreciate the delightful combination!


I always thought brave ideas

   were likely sent from heaven.

Kind of like a monarchy,

   but without all the pageantry.

I was wrong. They’re brushed with the devil’s tar.

   They live amid suspicion.

A Minefield

A minefield of sleeping dogs.

   No place to step without a yelp.

It’s like learning to walk on stilts

   with something precious at stake.

Yo-ho-ho. I’m the Jolly Green Giant.

   I tiptoe but inspire trust.

A Pleasure

Is it wrong to eat your own skin?

    I suppose if you’re that hungry . . .

You can chew it, then spit it out.

   That’s a pleasure. Just don’t swallow.

Think safety. Stop before you have none left.

   You can’t go out uncolored.

The Lefse Lady

Do you know the lefse lady?

   Her apron flies as kitchen flag.

Her country is lit by hot griddle.

   Quick, rice the potatoes now.

Butter them with love or stick to brown sugar.

   Hey. Could she still be alive?

When I Come Home

What, what, what, Miss Wigglebutt?

   Always so glad when I come home.

Does daddy have a biscuit?

   Does he have a juicy bone?

Cut. Cut. Cut. You’re talking like an idiot.

   Need not say a thing. She already knows.

The Licorice

Dogs don’t like the licorice.

   Still they beg for some in my hand.

What the hell is wrong with them?

   Are they that bored? It’s just habit?

Lick my foot, you furry sycophant.

   Is this how dogs befriended men?

Artist Statement:

The Korean Sijo is an antiquated form in Korean poetry that was prominent in the late fourteenth to early fifteenth century. It was typically sung (each line containing four metric segments —what are called hemistichs—with a minor pause at the end of the second segment and a major one at the end of the fourth).

The syllable count proceeds as such:

3/4     4      3/4        4

3/4     4      3/4        4

3       5-8       4        3/4

a logical “leap is employed at the beginning of the third line. Or sometimes this gap/caesura takes shape as a developmental shift. Not unlike the Italian volta in the last two lines of a sonnet, it is considered the crux of the poem. Often there are interjections at the beginning of the third line which address a particular person.

These sijo are designed to not be reflective of the traditional content of the fifteenth century form which reflected largely on nature. Rather, they comment on the texture of contemporary life.

I am doing a series of these smaller poems to explore various tones of this short form. They vary from American conversational styles of being rather entertaining and breezy and European conversational styles which are cautious but aim for something meaningful. The ones here are from the latter group.


Tim Kahl [] is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012) The String of Islands (Dink, 2015) and Omnishambles (Bald Trickster, 2019). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Drunken Boat, Mad Hatters’ Review, Indiana Review, Metazen, Ninth Letter, Sein und Werden, Notre Dame Review, The Really System, Konundrum Engine Literary Magazine, The Journal, The Volta, Parthenon West Review, Caliban and many other journals in the U.S. He is also editor of Clade Song []. He is the vice president and events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Center. He also has a public installation in Sacramento {In Scarcity We Bare The Teeth}. He plays flutes, guitars, ukuleles, charangos and cavaquinhos. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where he sings lieder while walking on campus between classes.

Fertile Easter & Other Poems by Scott Thomas Outlar

Still Shining

Fly on the words of Scott Thomas Outlar! From Atlanta, Georgia, read his exceptional poetry to bring depth to your Saturday.

Fertile Easter

Elements of the sun/

                   past primal


                                 w/truth rising)/

         puffing rays of light

                      (infinite in scope

                            w/tendencies everlasting)/

              huffing a solar frenzy

                       (frantic & resplendent)/

     housed in comfort

                (calm arms

                          of a clear blue sky)

One day an inevitable return/

                 ash again

           & scattered atoms

                    (splintered science

                                   cannot quite

                              taste God’s love)/

                 slanted visions

                              (focused solely

                                           on cross

                                      & crown)/

                           silenced objections

                                     (intense emotions

                                          w/waves of hope)/

                        structured in faith

                                   (peace will reign

                                                 1,000 years

                                           & more)

Test Tube

Glow-in-the-dark cats

            (not just their eyes)


                                 gene soup


        scurry in the labs

                        (rat species)

                    to dream up the next



Aliens in the airwaves

                      (bleeding frequencies)



                                of DMT dreams

         shifting crystal symphonies

                           (rupturing portals)

                                 singing atoms


                                    Adam’s apple


Feed me music from the cut of your tongue

the black of your lungs

I need notes for salvation

I need noise like a plague

Spin your soft spells on my skin

live wire spine

I need a song for the darkness

I need a dance when the hour grows tired


Scott Thomas Outlar lives and writes in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He guest-edited the 2019 and 2020 Western Voices editions of Setu Mag. Selections of his poetry have been translated into Afrikaans, Albanian, Bengali, Dutch, French, Italian, Kurdish, Persian, Serbian, and Spanish. His sixth book, Of Sand and Sugar, was released in 2019. His podcast, Songs of Selah, airs weekly on 17Numa Radio and features interviews with contemporary poets, artists, musicians, and health advocates.

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More about Outlar’s work can be found at

A Goodbye – Poem by Shelby Wilson

Still Shining

The pandemic has taken away many of our events, but it hasn’t taken away the care for those around us. Shelby Wilson, a teacher from Amarillo, TX has written some heartfelt words to the class of 2020. May it warm your heart as well as you read these tender words.

A Goodbye

-For the members of the class of 2020 . . . and their teachers.

Each May,
amidst the blooming and buzzing,
slow songs echo into temperate prom nights.

I experience a rare emotion,
a word often misappropriated in
my classroom—

These students, I know them for
their culmination—
a year of endings
and beginnings.
A year on the precipice,
when kindergarten memories
soothe their fears,
their hearts softened as the final
melody of youth fades out.

Atop the plateau, they
see the horizon,
a view of the rising sun over the
endless Texas plains.

A new song, imperceptible at first,
crescendoes into the mix.

The vastness of the landscape is electric,
making hairs stand on end
while their knees shake
to the backbeat.

They get one last dance,
I take a turn around the floor each year
to a different song—
and as each song ends,
I say goodbye.

Goodbye’s precursors feel familiar—
the caps and gowns,
the gold-embossed script of announcements
on my classroom bulletin boards,
one last test,
one last day.

An interrupted goodbye
is incomplete.
The song’s been cut off.

Bittersweet goodbyes are gifts.
What can I do when the song hasn’t finished?
I can still sing.


Shelby Wilson writes, teaches, and lives in Amarillo, Texas. He holds a B.A. in English from Texas A&M University and an M.A. in English from West Texas A&M University. His work has appeared in Ink & Nebula, Sparks of Calliope, Backchannels, Celestal Review, Madness Muse Press, and elsewhere.