Through Vangi-tinted glasses

Perspectives from an African

“Like a candle in the wind” November 20, 2013

Filed under: #fortheloveofpoetry — Vangi Gantsho @ 10:58

This morning I woke up to the sad news that the very young and incredibly talented Ayanda “Juba” Lushaba had taken his life.  My heart hurts in so many ways, even writing this blog has me in tears.  Partly because he really was a very special poet and had so much potential.  Mostly because that could have been me.


Many people are quick to judge suicide, calling people cowards and selfish.  The truth, though, is suicide is never an easy decision, taken lightly over a glass of wine.  Unless you have been suicidal, I don’t think you can truly understand what it’s like to be in such darkness and to feel so lonely that you cannot stand another breath.  How shattered everything must feel… where does one even begin?


In August, ENW reported that, according to the SA Depression and Anxiety Group, 23 people commit suicide in South Africa every day.  A further 230 attempt to.  Clearly this is a serious problem.


I was highly suicidal right through my late teens, and through most of my twenties.  I attempted suicide more times than I can count.  I have been in and out of hospital, diagnosed, restrained, institutionalised… lucky.  I am still here.  Juba isn’t. 


Initially, I thought I was going to write something inspirational and revealing.  I thought I was going to share my story and talk about how I am most moved by the number of artists we lose to suicide or self-inflicted deaths (like drug overdose and alcohol etc).  But I have nothing.  Just tears.  And a poem.  I pray that his soul may find peace.  That his family and his friends may find healing and forgiveness.  And that his poetry community will love him beyond the words.



It’s so difficult, this living thing

two decades are sometimes

more than one can bear

heavy years of empty searching

lonely rambling

some scars are too deep

Even for poetry


That third decade feels

like a lifetime away

like millions of breaths away

too many years awake

Maybe a drink might help


Where is Tracy’s Fast Car

when curtains are drawn

laying on the floor

blade in my hand

the clock moves backwards

Something’s gotta give, this has to end


It’s so lonely, this living thing

one night can sometimes be


minutes of many hours

even seconds are haunting

A black hole of aloneness


Death is the final poem

Juba 2


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