Category Change

Luhambo, a wonderful journey

Today one year ago, 1 May 2013, we published the first essay on Luhambo – “Embracing the Grey” by Sarah Hempel Irani. At that time we published essays or poems thrice a week – usually two contributions by friends of Luhambo, and one editorial essay (or a Friday thought) by either Siobhan Passmore or Elizabeth Viljoen. […]

Give my eyes back to me

A love poem from the 17th Century eripuisti oculus: oculos mihi redde, puella.             erispuisti animan: redd, puella, animan. eripuisti ipsum cor: redde, puella, cor ipsum.             eripuisti ipsum me: redde mihi! Translated: Girl, you have torn out my eyes: give my eyes back to me. Girl, you have torn out my soul: give my […]

Detachment: Living with open hands

I first encountered the idea of detachment in reading Buddhist thought many years ago. I remember feeling rather put off by the whole idea. My concept of detachment at the time involved a total lack of emotion, of caring, or involvement with anyone or anything. It sounded to me like a bland and empty way […]

Revisiting Grief

Pedro Aznar, an Argentinian musician, once said that if you’ve experienced great pain, then write about it, compose songs about it, talk about it, send it out to the universe (I’m paraphrasing). I’ve always agreed with that statement. Revisiting grief when you need to, is a way of integrating aspects of yourself -your grief being […]

When I was 15 I thought I knew it all

When I was 15 I thought I knew it all. I had a list of things I’d like to accomplish and I knew exactly how my life would turn out because I’d make it happen. It’s a funny thing, youth’s naivety. I just turned 26. I haven’t gotten married, or had twins or even a dog, […]

Hemlock and heroes

Complaining about people who always complain feels like shooting my own toe, then putting my woe in my mouth and slowly sucking the blood out.  (Yes, I meant toe, but I’ve decided to leave it like that, because the words that I’ve written below broke through the riverbanks, and I never got to what I […]

The village

I noticed two things simultaneously. Three people walking to work and an old woman, boiling water in a used tin, leaning against what used to be a brightly painted maze of concrete structures supporting the fly-overs: YAZOO, fUCk, ZOINKs, BOYZ. Steam from under the bonnet of the car. I rented the car the previous evening […]

Not what the doctor ordered

Half a lifetime ago (literally), I was privileged to start my medical studies at the (then)  University of the Orange Free State. A common joke doing the rounds at that time was that there were no oranges, nothing was free and everything was in quite a state. But the medical school was great. The facilities […]

The welcome (and unwelcome) transformation of healing

Kintsugi is a beautiful art that not only restores usefulness to broken things, but it does so in ways that add beauty and value with its seams of gold or other precious metals. This combination of repair, restoration, and art can transform a common cup or bowl into a prized possession. But what it cannot do […]


Kindness. Justice. Courage.  These are the values I respect most. They remind me of 1 Corinthians 13’s faith, hope, and love. As a child my dad used to show us those pictures where you have to squint your eyes to see the picture beyond the dots. It’s called an autostereogram. Sometimes you have to look closer. […]