These Hands

These Hands

Makhosazana Xaba

This edition is a re-release of Xaba’s first poetry collection (first published in 2005) due to demand from readers and academics. A powerful, ground breaking work that placed Xaba firmly as an important voice in the SA literary scene.

PRINT VERSION Buy the print version (hard copy) from Modjaji Books directly      










These Hands

Extract from the collection


Whenever I take the pulse
of my existence,
feel the pinch
of my persistence
against the grinding grain
of my resistance
to the pounding punch
of their insistence,
words transmit to me
a drumroll of deliverance.

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Makhosazana Xaba

Makhosazana Xaba is the author of two poetry collections: these hands (2005) and Tongues of their Mothers (2008). Her poetry has been anthologized widely, translated into Italian, Mandarin and Turkish and also available from the Cambridge Poetry Archive. She is the editor of Like the untouchable wind: An anthology of poems (2016). Her collection of collection of fiction, Running & other stories (2013), won the SALA Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award in 2014. Her short story “Running” won the Deon Hofmeyr Prize for Creative Writing in 2005 and was anthologised in 20 Best Short Stories of South Africa’s Democracy in 2014. She has co-edited three anthologies; Proudly Malawian: Life Stories from lesbian and gender-nonconforming individuals (2016) and Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction (2013) which won the 26th Lambda Literary Award for the fiction anthology category in 2014 and was translated in Spanish in the same year. In 2017, Queer Africa 2: New Fiction is coming out. Xaba holds an MA in Writing (with distinction) from The University of the Witwatersrand.

Makhosazana Xaba's author page

“Finally, and essentially, back in print, Makhosazana Xaba’s debut collection contains powerful societal critique alongside moving meditations on love and intimacy. Writing in incisive, unadorned language, Xaba confronts racism and misogyny to devastating effect. She then turns her hand to the intimacies that exist between women, within family, and between the poet and her own writing.”
– Jenny du Preez

“These poems do not flinch while recalling histories of trauma and documenting a willful desire for freedom and intimacy. Through this collection, Xaba illuminates the cost of body politics.”
– Stephanie Selvick, Africa in Words

“One of those landmark poetry collections that’s lodged in our heads and hearts.”
-Helen Moffett