Makhosazana Xaba is an ex-Umkhonto we Sizwe combatant who is now a health, gender rights activist and writer. Well-travelled and well-read, she has published her poetry in anthologies such as So much to tell, Timbila and Botsotso. Xaba is 50 years old, with a beautiful spirit and altruism that defy her age. As an activist, she remains grounded in the grassroots.
In a poem dedicated to her father titled X himself and song, she attempts to define their love-hate relationship: "His love for the bottle went through his every bit of body / destroying what love I could have had for him."Xaba will undoubtedly be the first to protest that her politics are twisted, but the anger she often displays in her collection suggests that she’s far away from the much hyped-about reconciliation. Read In case you’re thinking of visiting the apartheid museum and you’ll be shocked by the compressed anger ticking away to detonation. Some time ago when Xaba was in Europe a woman commented on the beauty of her hands. Xaba responded that she wouldn’t say the same if she knew the things her hands had done. Years later this interchange gave birth to the title of her first book, these hands, a masterpiece without which no library is complete.
first published in WORDSTOCK 2005