Africa: Book Review – a Pan-African Poetry of Belonging

In his latest poetry collection, Sihle Ntuli’s acute observations of history and place show that belonging is layered, fraught with problems and often unharmonious.

This story was first published in New Frame.

When James Baldwin said, “Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition”, he was speaking about the most basic and visceral need to belong. Sihle Ntuli’s poetry collection, Rumblin’, published in late 2020 by uHlanga Press, explores this complex condition in two parts across 22 poems.

Ntuli dedicates the book, “To the ones who walk on, unable to shake the feeling.” It is a nod to those forever looking to understand themselves and their place in the world.

This collection is not limited by the boundaries of brevity inherent in poetry. Ntuli writes from acute observations of history and place, with a flair for including the cultural, linguistic and sensory dimensions that allow a poem to bloom. The poetry shows that belonging is layered, fraught and often unharmonious.

29 April 2019: Poet Sihle Ntuli. Photograph by Noam Walsh-Vorster

Rumblin’ demonstrates that human beings are complex. Our needs for and explorations of belonging are anything but simple. He does this not only in the content that…

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