Sivuyisiwe Ntombi Wonci – An extraordinary daughter of Plett 

Sivuyisiwe Ntombi Wonci
Published: September 18th, 2021
by Sivuyisiwe Ntombi Wonci

Sivuyisiwe Ntombi Wonci – An extraordinary daughter of Plett

Meet one of the talented poets performing at the Plett ARTS Festival, Sivuyisiwe “Ntombi’’ Wonci…

I grew up in Plettenberg Bay. Growing up in an Anglican family, songs, prayer, and regular visits to the church were an integral part of my upbringing. I was amazed by the linguistic modalities elders used to pray, sing and preach. My first poem was a praise piece to Jesus Christ. This dedication poem is still in my old blue file at home which is filled with all the other poems I have written over the years.

In primary school, I joined a drama group led by Mr. Mncedisi Ncedani. It felt like I had found a home. All these years I never stopped writing poems, and I dreamt of performing in big theatres and on TV screens. When I shared this dream with my family, it was not welcomed.

At the age of 16, I was diagnosed with HIV and I wrote ‘’Love and Acceptance’’.  I performed this piece at the World Aids Day event at Simunye Hall. This piece touched so many people that day because it was about my journey. Ever since, I have never stopped writing from the gut. Writing became a sacred intimate cross upon which I can connect praises and songs with trauma and healing.

At the University of the Western Cape I joined a feminist theatre group called Reclaiming the P…-word. Here my writing was institutionalized and infused so carefully with performing arts. Whilst I was at UWC alone, I wrote close to 20 pieces. However, as I grew older, the production of pieces became less and less, and I now write 2 or 3 poems in a year if I am lucky. My academic career, which requires hours and hours of writing, stole and continues to steal some of the poems that still weigh and excite me.

I am now a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Nelson Mandela University. My work focuses on health policy and gendered health systems in South Africa. I am also a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of South Africa under the Social Policy DST/NRF SARChI Chair. I hold a Master of Public Health from Montclair State University, New Jersey, through the Fulbright Scholarship. I have a bachelor’s degree and honours degree in sociology from the University of the Western Cape.

I invite you to come journey with me at the Plett Arts Festival on the 9th of October 2021, where I will be sharing intimate and vulnerable parts of my soul with you.  That nal’ uhambo nam.

Ntombi Wonci will be performing her show Incwadi Yathemba at Nguni Restaurant on the 2nd of October during the Plett Arts Festival.  Book your tickets to the supper and poetry evening with this accomplished and articulate poet who, in sharing her personal journey, plucks chords of resonance within each and everyone.