Mxolisi Dolla Sapeta
this morning when i was looking for a boy to send to the local spaza i saw charlie. he was wearing a bleached cap displaying an alcohol brand, an old clean white shirt, a trouser with no recognisable colour and flip-flops. it's a year since i saw him roaming about the same space. charlie never left white location. he did work for a number of companies as a van-boy, hand lender or assembly line fitter. i was born in white location too and charlie was older than me. his hey-days when he worked the companies and played for the local soccer team and banged a few girls that have now aged too. he still lives in a back room of the house he was born in. i still live in the house i was born in too. i was away for a year, and never thought of charlie. when i came back i heard about a few neighbours who had passed away. i never thought of them either. the little boys i send so often to the spaza have not really grown. they still play soccer in the open playground at the back of my house. i used to play soccer there when i was a little boy too. i still send them to the local spaza. i am welcomed by merry-go-round whispering stories ─ no hugs ─ no high fives. no one knows why i was away for a year. all people want to know is when will i be going away again. i never pay attention to gossip but this time i want stories to write, so i listen. after a few hours i want a couple of tea bags and loose cigarettes and go out of the back yard to look for the boys. the boys are still playing soccer in the playground and charlie is sunbathing close to my house together with bra wonder and bra mandi. they are startled when they see me and i go to greet them briefly and call out to the boys who come running to me. they know what i want from them and are looking for the tips i always give. charlie, bra wonder and bra mandi are drinking ship sherry under the sun. the boys return and give me my tea bags and cigarettes. i give them a small tip and go back inside the house leaving the boys to their soccer. bra wonder had the same life experiences as charlie and bra mandi. they were all born in white location and have worked for a few companies in the city and played for the local soccer team and are now old. sometimes bra wonder is happy when he is drunk, or bra mandi. i never saw charlie happy.

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Mxolisi Dolla Sapeta, born 1967, is a full time painter, sculptor, poet, and art teacher, who lives in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth. His work has been widely exhibited in South Africa and overseas. Sapeta taught art for six years at Port Elizabeth College, and now runs art classes in local schools. In 2016, he completed an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes University.

South Africa

Skeptical Erections is a book of startling  visual and verbal imagination. In his poems Sapeta describes the deception and self-loathing prevalent in the people he encounters in his world, including (or perhaps especially) himself. Despite their distortions, however, the characters who come alive in these poems are depicted with respect and compassion. 

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