Earth Day: Featuring Qibho Intalektual’s Powerful Poetry

Qibho Intalektual is an award-winning poet, musician, MC and leader from Mbabane. He partnered with ECCO in solidarity with the Global Climate Strikes to perform two striking poems about climate and environmental issues — A Billion and 5 Suns Ago and Phuma Langa Sikotse. The message in both poems is apt for this 50th Earth Day. Listen to Qibho’s music here.

Qibho Intalektual Performs A Billion and 5 Suns Ago Filming by Paul Chasusa at Endibanweni

A Billion and 5 Suns Ago

A Billion and 5 Suns ago, I was born to forest, to air, to water and to life My roots a rippling, cascading, spiraled translucent wood like flesh matter They are my crown, they are my base
As it is above, so as below
I am known as Baobab Elder
Earth ancestor
Heavens are my shelter
Soul of the soil my center
I, am a prayer
A solid prayer
I am an oxygen bank robbed
Embellished with sashes of gashes from chainsaw
Heat strapped, splattered across the ether
The air blood my trunk has pumped for all these suns is smoke choked Smog cloaked

I am dying, I am infected, chronically afflicted with human

Skyline Magenta
Twilight parader
Sunrise caresser
Queen to Baobab Elder
A Billion and 5 Suns ago I was born, to wind, to space, to rainclouds and to life My vast blue, a mirror to river and ocean hue
A condensed state of all breath Keeper of starry wealth
Giver of lightning wrath
For I am a mother
I am the only heaven the naked eye knows
The reservoir for all prayers from down below
Yet I am a prayer myself
A gaseous prayer
As it is above, so as below
Climate mule, caught in a fossil fuel duel
I have become dual
Protector and harmed
Heat trapped, ozone layer fried, carbon monoxide tide I am grappling for a way to survive

I am dying, I am infected, chronically afflicted with human

Suntide Enchantress
Fluid light Heiress
Sky plant Empress
My name is River God Princess
Daughter to Baobab Elder and Skyline Magenta
I was born, 5 Million Suns ago, to morning dew, to wetlands, to flood and to life My moistened breath a cool, pool blue water
I swoon from mountain apogee, a silver splash at earth crash I pay tribute to my tributaries in lake, springs and streams
I am a hydrosocial portal
For as long as I can remember I have been running
Running downstream and running upstream As it is above, so as below
I am a prayer
A liquid prayer
For as long as I can recall I have been running
Running from Scramble of Africa, gold mine deposits my banks collapse Industrial Revolution waste fed
Water body maimed, body shamed
Global warmed to a boil I evaporate

I am dying, I am infected, chronically afflicted with human

But Natural Selection refuses my death
She only restores her balance
Human. Which side will you land?
Kill or be killed?
Or heal so you live?

Qibho Intalektual Performs Phuma Langa Sikotse Filming by Paul Chasusa at Endibanweni

Phuma Langa Sikotse

Phuma langa sikotse
Vuma mhlaba sinotse
Ngetibhidvo netitselo letinongotelako sikhotse

La-phuma lilanga eMpumalanga
Mine besengivele ngililanga-ze-lela kutsi libalele
Tindlela Tami ngiphendlelwa ngu-labalele
BoMake, BoBabe, Gogo, Mkhulu, Khokho, Mkhulumkhulu, Nkulunkulu Ngiyena Nina we Mvelo
LoLihawu lami lonesi hawu ngami neluvelo
Emasiko ami angisondzeta dvute nendlebe ya Mvelincanti Umphefulumo wami ugabanca nansi nyama nengati
Ngisihlasi phakatsi kwetilwane netinyamatane ngekhatsi kwemahlatsi Tinhlanti ngekhatsi kwemanti
Tinyoni esibhakabhakeni, netilwanyana ngekhatsi kwemhlabatsi
Batsi…

Phuma langa sikotse
Tinhlungu tayitolo tigezwe ngematolo sikhohlwe Tilondza teminyaka utishisise tilotse

Ngalo lonkhe lilanga
Ngihluma njenga natihlahla netintsaba letiluhlata
Ngiyimi condvocondvo njenge macembe atinhlobonhlo ebusika nasehlobo Sikhumba lesintima, inhlitiyo inhlantekile ineluhlobo
Tandla tifutfumele, wa-mukelekile ngatsi sitihlobo
Ingani ngiphuma nelilanga ku sasa
Lamuhla nakusasa

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