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 offer weekly Zoom readings every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Evenings consist of a reading by a featured poet, lasting for between 25-50 minutes, followed by a ten-minute break and an open-mic session, in which anyone who’s ‘tuned in’ to hear the featured poet would be welcome to read from their own poetry or from the work of another poet. Depending on the length of the open-mic session, we will probably wrap up at around 9:30 p.m. Your hosts will be the poets Jacques Coetzee, Melissa Sussens and Nondwe Mpuma.


We hope that you can join us in this adventure: we’re looking forward to providing poets with a vibrant space in which to share their poetry.


Yours in poetry,

Eduard Burle, Jacques Coetzee, Melissa Sussens, Nondwe Mpuma



Suggested resources



Morning in the Cemetery

Jarred Thompson

The sun eeks, sober, over the koppie. Stoops

low, through grass, around rock, into dust kicked up by crickets.

Granite, designated in rows, chops the light into teeth

grinning, pale yellow, between minor keys of shadow.

The gates are locked. Fences erect, still. What is there to protect?

Names, carved in stone, or philtrums passed through worms.

Here’s the dutiful line of ants, erasing knees’ imprints.

Here’s varnished wood, left tarnished. The last thing we see must always be

our own shining.

The thorn trees know their burgundy seed sacs are bound for more. Wine skins ripe for bursting.

The new digger on the job, the one who follows the veteran out into early morning,

is somehow already familiar with that soft earth-shoveling sshh..sshh..sssshh—

its own kind of cooing.

JARRED THOMPSON is a writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, living and loving in Johannesburg, South Africa. Find Jarred on Twitter @JarredJThompson or on Instagram @poetic_impulse.

Contact Art

Shari Daya

The first two days were bright and then

the fog rolled in across the bay

and there we were: gone, and just

the edge of the lagoon remained

but it stayed warm, so we stayed out,

shadows of ourselves, my littlest one

a watercolour blossom in his

pink and purple swimsuit, dancing

just as if the foghorn was not grieving

all the vessels lost before

today, their slow tilt into waves

then into sand, but also perhaps

some safely landed ships, like one

soaked into rock, red ochre sails,

at Porterville, three days away –

walking – from the sea, but in

the mountains there that galleon,

triple-masted, floats, three hundred

years since a fleeing artist ground

pigment from the earth, painted

what was coming, what was already there:

the strangers, arms akimbo, and what

she did not, could not, paint: invisibly

secreted in the blankets, alien life

snug and ready for their new adventure,

the smallest pioneers, the germs,

time on their side, and riding high

into the hinterland.


150km north-east of Cape Town in the Skurweberg Mountains, near Porterville, there is a representation of a three-masted sailing ship painted in red ochre called the ‘Porterville Galleon’. The detailed depiction of the vessel suggests that the artist was visually familiar with European ships. Museum curators suggest that the ship dates to the mid-seventeenth century, coinciding with the sinking of the Nieuwe Haerlem and the ‘founding’ of Cape Town. (Text adapted from the British Museum website https://africanrockart.britishmuseum.org/thematic/contact-rock-art-south-africa/)This kind of work, depicting indigenous people’s encounters with colonisers, is often referred to as ‘contact art’.

SHARI DAYA is a geographer and poet from Cape Town. Her writing, both academic and imaginative, explores experiences of place, identity, and material cultures. Her poems have been published in New Contrast and the anthology Africa! My Africa! and her research has been published in a range of academic books and journals. Shari is currently undertaking an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town.

Return to Tsolobeng


Two cubs in my hands

one with open eyes - the other asleep.

I’m placing them in my mother’s palms

tougher than mine - to shield them.

I’m going to the mountains for a while

where two old women wait for me

outside a green hut guarded by brown horses

at the top of a hidden mountain

overlooking an old river full of queens and secrets.

The two old women will only watch me as I build

with hands covered in manure to cast walls to find me

and I will sleep only to visit the elders, but I will wake

with the ones that do not speak, to save my children

from a life without rivers, and mountains, and horses,

and quiet, and land, and snow, and a mother.

I will wake each day despite the urge to stay on the other side

to build a home in Tsolobeng,

so I teach my children what is in a name,

so a life of colour is not that of complexion,

so a life of wealth is not that of the tangibles,

so that each click that comes out of my mouth

has a root with a home they can call their own.

I have been missing for a while, long before this trip.

Sometimes a mother needs to return home to be a mother

because sometimes this place can make you forget

how to be a human,

how to feed a child and be nowhere else,

how to look at a child with open eyes,

which turns you took that cut wires in you

because you are on an edge and the mind is screaming

and they are screaming, and the world is screaming

and if you say one more word, or take one more wrong turn,

whatever colourful string is holding your body together with your soul

will unravel.

I am going back to Tsolobeng

back to my ancestors’ land

where truth and sanity

wait in whispers.

QHALI is a South African bilingual writer, poet, and editor. She is a Creative Industries and Socio-Economic Researcher and Developer and anti-GBV activist. Her works have been selected for publication by the New Contrast Literary Journal, The Kalari Review, Agbowo Magazine and Poetic Blues. She completed a bilingual master's degree in Creative Writing from Rhodes University in 2020, which is an exploration of how we express trauma and loss in our mother tongues as a multicultural generation. She holds undergraduate and honours degrees in Public Management, Governance and Economics. She is the editor and founder of the poetry book on gender-based violence, Loss-iLaheko (a national choreopoem), and a new forthcoming journal on loss, Loss-iLahleko, South Africa's first multilingual publications specifically addressing Loss and Gender-Based-Violence in all SA languages. When Qhali is not reading or writing she is eating biltong with her two kids, Kai, Khokho and their puppy, Kiantoto. Instagram: qhali_writes | Website: www.loss-ilahleko.org | Email: qhali@loss-ilahleko.org

Subscribe Form

Stay up to date

Thanks for submitting!