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uNobuntu is a poetry collection written over a 40-year period by Nombeko Nontshokweni, a lifetime student and educator. The ambition of this volume is evident in its four-segment presentation: Life, Work, The World, the beauty of Nature and how these elements must cohere to cultivate a conscience. In the first segment, the poems trace the birth of a girl in Ngcobo, the young life of a school-going youth in Mbashe, love, marriage, and the omnipresence of a higher being. In the section about work, the lover of education in Nontshokweni rolls her sleaves up and goes to the classroom. We spend some time getting young men out of beer halls, consistently decontaminating humanity. But it is in the treatment of nature where the author’s masterful artistry is fully consummated. The praise poetry, a series of odes to the protagonists of the author’s life and times, locates Nontshokweni in the intellectual traditions of her forebears, namely SEK Mqhayi, Nontsizi Mgqwetho, and other literary luminaries Nontshokweni has had the luxury to study and teach. uNobuntu is call for the return to humanity, a period piece of inspiration.
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