Through Vangi-tinted glasses

Perspectives from an African

You gotta walk, run and dance in my shoes, before you can tell me what to do February 28, 2012

Filed under: Poems by Vangi — Vangi Gantsho @ 12:39

Being woman is many things to different people. For some, it is that deep connection to life: that mothering – your womb is umbilically-connectected to the source of the earth – new ageism. For others it’s diapers, and groceries and bills; or power suits, and boardrooms. But to me, it’s shoes. Heels, wedges, stilettos, sneakers and boots; different shoes for different occasions. Nothing defines being a woman, to me, more than shoes. The shoes we own, the ones we want and the ones we know we can never afford; shoes can make a woman smile like she’s won the lotto or cry like she’s just found out her soul mate married her high school nemesis. It really doesn’t get more woman than shoes.

But before your read this poem, remember: as sad as some lessons may be, the beauty is in learning, loving and healing. Be blessed.

Heavy Souls in New Shoes


I took a few steps

and soon learned that

the walk through womanhood

would leave me corned and blistered

That my shoes would rip

and I would patch

and they would break

and I would limp

That my heels would crack

my souls would wear thin

and the road would be cruel

I learned that

there is more gravel than tar

and falling on either hurts like hell

that stilettos sink in grass

and stuck in mud

and even walking in wedges is difficult

That flats cause flat-foot

Sneakers get sweaty

and boots never fit my calves

I have learned that

one must crawl before

one walks before

one falls before

one starts all over again


I have learned that for every


there are girls in youthful skirts

exposing innocent thighs

to predator loins

That these BABIES grow corns

in Guess knock-offs

find themselves knocked up

and blistered on gravel roads

Coz Lebo said it right?

Tits in Jozi are a bitch!

Hell! Tits. Period.

heavy with milk to feed

suckling sugar-daddies

and produce bastard babies

who will in turn

be tormented

by perverted boys


For every

graceful stride

I have seen [perhaps been] post-puberty younglings

throw caution to the wind

and dance to intoxicating

drums while telling virginal lies

after being sold to 50year old kings

These NOT-YET-LADIES grew corns

in On Sale stilettos

sailed through strangers’ beds

found themselves passed-out

and plagued

by:          could-haves



but have none


You see,

Their heels broke

and the fall was hard

It forced faithful wives

onto ARVs,


soon-to-be abandoned babies


grow corns

in Green-Cross flats

they remain without child

in fear their blistered wombs

will bear damaged victims

or heartless villains

So they take off their shoes

tip-toe around

egos of mid-life insecurities

and sneak into early graves

coz shoes without feet

grow cobwebs

and rot barren deaths


But the saddest lesson learnt:

there is no finish line

though our strides remain hopeful

the corns hurt

And the blisters spread

And our heels don’t always walk on carpets

And the tiles are always slippery

I have learned that the walk through womanhood

is Cinderella


desperately hoping

for Prince Charming

to return her glass slipper



By:  Vangile Gantsho ©


2 Responses to “You gotta walk, run and dance in my shoes, before you can tell me what to do”

  1. Monalisa Says:

    In her shoes….

  2. […] You gotta walk, run and dance in my shoes, before you can tell me what to do. […]

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