New Contrast is one of the first South African literary journals and it is devoted to publishing the best of poetry and prose, art, reviews and interviews from both local and international authors.


NEW CONTRAST Issue 196 – Summer 2021

Our editor, Masande Ntshanga, writes: In going through our latest round of contributions, this month, which included entries for the National Poetry Prize, judged this year by the young poets Nathan Trantraal, Siphokazi Jonas and Maneo Mohale, I discovered in the work a return in focus to the interrogation of the self – or of the individual – which I found fitting after a year of looking outward to a world that felt, and perhaps still feels, threatened by collective destruction.


NEW CONTRAST Issue 195 – Spring 2021

As our editor, Masande Ntshanga, said this issue is like a dance “in form, in content, and in the interplay of themes between these writers; all of them occupied with a unique illumination of our shared moment.” In New Contrast 195 you can read an interview with the amazing Mia Arderne, author of Mermaid Fillet, read the newest poetry and prose by Melissa Sussens, Prenesa Naidoo, Sihle Ntuli, Gigi Gosnell, Juhné van Zåyl and many more, and enjoy beautiful artwork by Atang Tshikare.



WHAT MA SAYS by Kharys Ateh Laue
Bad people live in the house across the train tracks. That’s what Ma says. She says it’s chock-a-block full of druggies and neglected children. Sometimes when we drive past Ma flicks her hand and says, Now there’s a bad lot. I don’t want you playing with those kids, do you hear? They’ll make you sick. Other times Ma looks away and makes a sound with her tongue. Shame, she says. Poor things.



Mthunzikazi A. Mbungwana

ndogquma ubuze bukaMama
UMama wogquma ubuze bukaMakhulu
bandithwesa ubugqi bokuchopha phezu kwameva angcuthayo
uMakhulu akophi naye wafundiswa nguMakhulu kaMakhulu
UTata usenkcochoyini
uxhathise ngebhayibhile
UTamkhulu zange abekho
naleyo ayithethwa.

(New Contrast issue 195)


Zeenit Jacobs

Resting on heaps of countless
paperwork like unsteady skyscrapers,
hidden deep in the thick repositories
of a compressed and dense mind…
Like a jumper straddling the boundary
of an infinitely high point that descends
into a void of blackened eyeholes
and fissures of pale cerebral folds…
A voice from inside a queer mind,
where gears shaped like ticking clocks
are split over a stretched psyche…
It pings through placidity like a
cold rusty knife, it moves faster
than a pulsing and red-hot vessel.

(New Contrast issue 196)

’n Wind

Breyten Breytenbach

’n wind ruk oor die see
bote pluk aan hul tome
en runnik verskrik
(die see se nekhare rys)
die eerste druppels loop verby
soos ’n skelm kat in die gang
en pis in die hoekie

(Issue 2, Autumn 1961)