South African poet and writer Lethokuhle Msimang was born in Durban KwaZulu-Natal. Graduated with a B.A. in Literary Studies and Creative Arts at the American University of Paris, and pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing at Rhodes University. Her poems have appeared in New Coin Poetry, Grocotts Mail, Hanging Loose, The Paris/Atlantic, etc. She is currently developing a South African Oral History Project, presently focused on the documentation of the Delville Wood Memorial and the role of South African Native Labour Corps. Her most recent efforts are towards completing a book of linked short stories Tales of the Orange Time of Day.


Lethokuhle was involved in the inaugural exhibition of The Creative Process at the Sorbonne, and we have remained friends through her travels to China and other parts of the world. I have long admired her distinctive lyric voice. Her writing, which is full of directness and intimacy, addresses many difficult subjects, such as isolation and mental health, imbibing them with a sense of beauty. It is a voice well suited the spoken word and other interdisciplinary collaborative projects she has been involved in.
We honored to be collaborating with Lethokuhle on a special section of the traveling exhibition, celebrating the writers, artists, oral tradition, and creative community of South Africa.

Artist, Interviewer & Founder of The Creative Process


by Lethokuhle Msimang

I once kept still enough to write 

I wrote 

And the old marveled at my wisdom

And the young wondered where I went


I went to school and did my work 

I went back home and did my work 

I took long walks and thought of work 

I read and wrote and slept


I once kept still enough to write

And then the people gathered


I went to school, I found a friend

I went back home with far more friends 

I took long walks and thought of friends 

I read and spoke and slept 


When I was almost still enough to write

I wrote

And the old marveled at my beauty 


I went to school in high heeled shoes 

I went back home to nurse my feet

I took long walks with tired old men 

I talked and wept and slept 


And I want to blame my ruin on the people 

They came too near and stole my art 


But I’d never thought myself a poet

I just sat still and wrote

As though my thoughts fell from the sky


And my bucket held sturdy in the rain