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Welcome to The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Group

The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Group – more opportunities for poetry

“So much depends . . .”


The Red Wheelbarrow was launched in January 2021 with a view to providing opportunities for poets, and those who love poetry, to meet and read. Our aim is to provide an inclusive platform for poets from diverse traditions, and at different levels of experience.

We host weekly Zoom readings every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Evenings consist of a reading by a featured poet, usually lasting for between 30-40 minutes, followed by a Q&A session, a short break, and then an open-mic session, in which anyone who’s ‘tuned in’ to hear the featured poet is welcome to read from their own poetry or from the work of another poet. 

We also host in-person readings in Cape Town on the first and third Wednesdays of every month. These readings begin at 7 p.m. and follow the same format as the Zoom readings. Readings currently take place in Bertha House in Mowbray (on the first Wednesday of the month) and in Tokai Library (on the third Wednesday of the month). 

Information about our readings is made available via our weekly circular, as well as our Facebook and Instagram pages:

An archive of our Zoom readings can be found here:

We hope that you can join us in these adventures, and that we can continue to provide poets with a vibrant space in which to share their poetry.

Yours in poetry,
Eduard Burle, Sindiswa Busuku, Jacques Coetzee, Kirsten Deane, Lisa Julie, Nondwe Mpuma, Melissa Sussens



Suggested resources

  • Writer's pictureThe Red Wheelbarrow Poetry

Phelelani Makhanya

There is a little yellow house

at the corner of the street,

where the jacaranda

has painted the paving purple.

Every morning the house

appears with a new face.

Its walls look untouched by

the frantic rain that fell at dawn.

Untouched by hands of stray souls

that read walls like braille,

looking for a home at night.

Untouched by muddy feet

of nightmares that cling and climb

walls like lizards in the dark.

I wonder what that little house is made of.

Maybe those curtains are made of concrete.

Maybe those doors are not doors;

they are deceiving paintings on solid walls.

Maybe that house is not a house;

it is a carved facade in the air.

That yard is a minefield, maybe.

The only voice there,

is a sound of unattended mulberries,

hitting the damp ground

like lazy dew drops from a tree.

Featured at The Red Wheelbarrow on 1 December 2022

  • Writer's pictureThe Red Wheelbarrow Poetry

Basil du Toit

The rude vegetables are up to

no good again, succumbing

to irresistible inflations, their

growth-tips, tautly congested,

full of pregnant suggestion

and promise; mutating buds,

tinglingly alive with genetics,

obey (with slight infractions)

their guiding principle, bristle

with fresh implementations

of themselves; rooted in dung-

sweet earth, they reach their

swollen extensions up to my

window and give me the finger.

Featured at The Red Wheelbarrow on 24 November 2022

  • Writer's pictureThe Red Wheelbarrow Poetry

Ari Sitas

After a day of stoning and gas

an ancient chore beckons

by the ocean’s lip -

a crowd heaving, heaving, sifting through the sand

for coins

A happy bulldozer resting

after eating up another row of shacks

its jaw nestling by a crab-hole

What a fine evening

What a sea, what pulse

of insects

tiptoeing to the lovelorn strings

of a dune’s cicada;

What a toptiptoe of tiny birds

Hurrying in and out of pollen

before the blooms shut shop

What a sigh from the darkening mangrove

as the crowd picks up the evening song:

“musa ukuthath’ investments ezulweni/


ukutheng’ iLotto ithiketi/

thathani MaChance! uLotto machance!”

I cannot sing

A jagged bamboo knife has scraped my throat

To sing and remind whom, what?

About the stars

or the strings of mango in between my teeth?

About the sneering palm tree?

About the piece of cloth waving in the breeze

on the barb of the casino’s fence?

How the descending sun wrestles with the shadows

of the thousand hills?

How past dreams lurk there?

How no one remembers that they do?

How there is a residue of dream on my frown?

The night’s very restless inyanga is already by the pier,

eyes shut, pacing

and murmuring the 11th commandment of a new faith

The beer-stained guards have exhausted their shift

umpiring since dawn the eternal struggle

between mynahs and crows by the rubbish bins.

The fishermen, past their third bottle of cane

dream of grunters, reek of shad

and complain that no ship was hooked

even though they cast their lines far in the far gardens of foam

And there: the sea’s eylid full of fins

The factory sirens quiet at last

The hooligan moon peers over the Bluff

and the horses of the deep get restless.

In another time this would have been the moment for our story-telling friends

but they are gone

Tonight the ridge and hills will not be on fire

The spring child’s last sigh will not be recorded

The salt march will not pass by

The salt - yes, only the salt endures, the salt.

I tiptoe past the bulldozer

Its eyes are moist

dreaming of its earth-mother

in some abandoned iron-mine.

Featured at The Red Wheelbarrow on 17 November 2022

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