Through Vangi-tinted glasses

Perspectives from an African


Undressing in front of the Window - a collection of poems by Vangi Gantsho

Undressing in front of the Window – a collection of poems by Vangi Gantsho

The journey to this collection has not been without many challenges, and in hindsight, I realise that the journey to Vangi has been equally filled with ups and downs.  But finally… Here we are!!!

It is with great pleasure that I introduce Undressing in front of the window – A collection of poems By Vangi Gantsho.

“The need and the quest to be listened to, and to be understood and valued as a serious-minded poet, is the deep-lying, and unuttered plea of every poet. Vangile Gantsho is no different; her works ring true as a testimony. This biographical anthology, despite traces of her stoic mettle and strong character, underscore that deep-lying, unuttered plea to be listened to and valued.” – Tamkhulu Don Mattera

I really am delighted to share this work with everyone.  It contains older poems such as I expect more from you, Talking Frankly and In the company of royals; as well as newer pieces like I will remember this forever and My favourite pair of All-Stars.  I believe in it with all my heart and have been so incredibly blessed to have the most amazing people walk with me on this journey.  Undressing in front of the Window has been edited by Phillippa Yaa De Villiers, proofread by Gillian Godsell and reviewed by former South African journalist, Miranda Strydom and award-winning musician, Gloria Bosman.  The beautiful cover was created by the talented Tanya Pretorius from Thursday’s Cat, from a photo originally taken by the photo therapist, Saddi Khali.

Watch this space for release dates!!!

Both electronic and physical copies will be available for sale from mid-May and I will be carrying a few copies with me on my Azania to DC tour. Undressing in front of the Window will also be available at various Protea Books across South Africa.




broken door January 13, 2015

broken door

on a taxi yesterday

I met a grey haired ghost with a rumbling silence

swollen, her belly brewed a hushed anger

a stillness of breaths

that remembered promises and children.

She told me of a dream she once had

a country she once carried.

she told me of twenty six days of night

how she imagined the sun and the sky

lay dreaming on a cement wetness

fought memories of a broken door 

her babies’ screams

one was five, the other three.

she could not allow herself to think of them

of what had happened to them.

she did not cry

nor was she cold

she could not tell me when exactly her womb had turned to lead

only that countries and children are a sorrow

worse than dying


in the Friday afternoon queue June 5, 2014

Filed under: #fortheloveofpoetry,Poems by Vangi — Vangi Gantsho @ 21:06
Tags: , ,

In the Friday afternoon queue

a woman eats a sandwich
just bread. no butter. no milk
another keeps asking me the time
she has to fetch her granddaughter from crèche
says she had to wait for her madam to come back from work
couldn’t leave the children by themselves

i recognize Mme Gladys, a few people ahead of me
she works as a teller at the BP garage
her husband left her sometime last year
after she had her ovaries removed
said he couldn’t be with someone
who wouldn’t be able to have children

he is sixty one
they have two boys and a daughter

in the past thirty minutes
only one taxi has passed
Mme Gladys is now at the front of the queue
this makes me happy
she’s been through so much already

there are only two men in this line
many men walk past
all in some kind of a rush
Some carrying black plastic bags
i remember that it’s Friday

if a taxi doesn’t come soon
i will be late for my date

feels quite insignificant though
considering these women
who have spent all day cleaning
and ironing

they still need to cook
and wash their grandchildren.
service their men, maybe


I miss you sometimes February 5, 2014

Filed under: Poems by Vangi — Vangi Gantsho @ 06:20

(For Lindelwa and her Siya, who were separated too soon)


I miss you sometimes

Not all the time

Like now

And yesterday

And on Sunday when the light bulb fused

and I had to change it myself


I miss you sometimes

 Your sons keep asking me about daddy

 And heaven is so abstract

Even I struggle to understand what God means


He says you are with us in spirit


I want you here

With me


I really do miss you sometimes

Like now

And yesterday

And last month when the car wouldn’t start

You weren’t particularly good at getting it to start, really

 But you tried and I enjoyed watching you try


I just miss you sometimes

Most times

When my tears leave stains on my face

And my sorrow feels like it’s swallowing me whole

And I can’t get out of bed, or even pray for this too to pass


I really do miss you sometimes

And it’s not even just the sad

Sometimes I look at your boys and they remind me so much of you

Like how protective you were

Or how I just know Lutho’s gonna grow up

to be the silent powerful type

Or how they make me laugh and enjoy and heal


But I still miss you sometimes

(Siyabulela Mrwata:  19/06/1976 – 05/02/2010)


we hold you fiercely December 14, 2013

We hold you fiercely

As our own

Of our blood

Spilt over 300 years of looting

You are ours

Our forgiveness.  Our tolerance

Our pain and loss

We will bury pieces of you

Everywhere our blood has ever poured 

Give parts of you to everyone who has had to forgive

Mkhonto we sizwe sethu

This is a time for mourning

For grieving

Scars that have not healed

Prayers, sons, daughters.  Loss

27 days of darkness

Giving 67 years of black



Our boxer, father

Tata we sizwe sethu

We will remember you

Honour you

Teach our hearts to forgive like you

But before then

You must be ours!

Let us have mourning

Let us grieve the rebellious terrorist

No one claims to have hunted down

We loved you under a Lilliesleaf

EQunu.  Entabeni

Before prisons


On principle



the boxer


I want to speak to my children May 29, 2012

Filed under: Poems by Vangi — Vangi Gantsho @ 13:55

I want to speak to my children

Those who have been forced out of their homes in the middle of the night

and those who remain sleeping, warm, in comfortable beds

Those who walk barefoot towards uncertain futures

Those who have been swept under Exile’s carpet

I want to speak to the youth of 76

the children of Sierra Leone

the Lost Boys of Sudan

I want to hold each one of them in my arms

Whisper courage into their ears

Tell them that they will spark revolutions

Stand as a constant reminder of our need to repent

I want to assure them that God has not grown tired of them

That their homes, though broken, are not beyond repair

Come to me my little ones

My beautiful ones, come to me

Ours is the bond of mother and child

Deeply rooted in the Cradle of Humankind

Creation flows through our blood reaching far beyond the Sahara and the Kalahari

You, little Anathi’s and Adewale’s

Need to be told of the Nubian truth

of how the Kush decorated our homes

filled them with art and knowledge and architecture

and walls that were books

You need to know that you come from a people who spoke with stars

long before they were sold astrology

Bring me my children

Let them come and sit at my feet.  Ndizakubabalisela iintsomi

I want to tell them tales of magnificent battles where their fathers were heroes

Paint them a portrait of Isandlwana

Then take them to El Obeid and Sheykan

Then I want to journey with them to the beautiful forgotten land of Adwa

Where Menelik and Taitu won a colossal victory

against the dark forces of colonialism

I need my children to know that we have our own epic stories

That Ghandor is in Africa

That they are the lions’ historians

Lions who have left many scars of the face of the audacious hunt

And when my children sleep

I want my children to dream

I want them to dream of the courageous Yaa Asantewa

and the beautiful Queen Makeda

Dream of Kemet and Songhay and Timbuktu

of Nkruma and Nyerere and Lumumba

Then I want them to awake!

And to write!

I want my children to write for Gaddafi and the South Sudan

For Zimbabwe and the DRC

For the African Union and about the International Criminal Court

I want my children to tell our tales through fresh discerning eyes

To imagine and dream on our behalves.

Dream for yourselves then tell us what is to be

my young lion scribes

Call all my children to me

Tell them to come home

Tell them youth is purpose

Tell them to learn and to remember

That although history has already been told

They are the authors of our tomorrow




As we have always been


By Vangile Gantsho ©


I will learn to pray for you March 22, 2012

Filed under: Poems by Vangi — Vangi Gantsho @ 23:41

I will pray for you
In my anger
I will pray for you
That one day you will keep the promises you made
that day four years ago
When I gave you a cross
and in return you told me things would be different
Then turned around and hurt me
Lied to me
Stole from me
You came into my house and stole my curtains
Exposed my poverty for the world to see
You drank expensive wine
and spilt it on my tattered couch
laughed at me when I told you
I didn’t have ice
because I didn’t have water
or a fridge
And when I gave you my last slice of bread
As if to make fun,
You demanded I serve it with jam on a crystal plate

But I will learn to pray for you
I will tell my heart that next year
things will be different
I will give you my cross again
I will walk barefoot to the tent in the burnt down veld
I will ignore the dilapidated school
or bustling bottle store
I will quell my anger when my feet hurt
from the heat and gravel stones
And I will teach my heart to pray for you

Because that’s what my mother taught me
And that’s what her mother taught her

I just hope that THIS TIME, God is listening.

By Vangile Gantsho ©


%d bloggers like this: