Same: by Sihle Ntuli

At first, everybody was excited about the coming year.

The last day of the year was seen as an ideal time to reflect on doing things differently. For most, a time for reinvention, to start anew, but first to break the shackles off the old year.

The six pm bulletin of the 31st showed images of euphoria, glamour and jubilance spreading around the world like an infectious melody. New Year’s parties and celebrations at local taverns and households came into their element shortly after sunset.

Even those with two left feet were not immune to the beat, alluring and pulling one and all to move. Resounding calls of, “Come Duze 2017!” reverberated throughout the whole country, and the country would reciprocate in a wave of dance.

It was at around 11pm that the New Year seemed within reach. The mood was at a fever-pitch. For some it would be the greatest night of their lives, for others it would be the shortest.

The celebrations to end 2016 were beginning to come into their peak. The incline was steady, still moving along at a pulsating pace. Then came the final stretch as the masses began the final countdown.


The decline moved steadily into the first few days of the new month. When January did come, there was little strength left to receive it with the same arms used to caress December.

By the middle of the month, the ends of the festive season had disintegrated into residue and memory. The glamorous alcoholic beverage was replaced with water, and those with resolutions to reinvent themselves did not quite live up to expectation.

The more things changed, the more they stayed the same. As it had before, the sun still rose in the west and it still managed to set in the east. As was the case in previous years, the month of January still felt like the longest month of the year for the very same reasons.

The ones who had premeditated change were left wondering how it had gone so wrong, just a few weeks ago they had been certain that this was the time for change. At first, everybody was excited about the coming year, and by now, contrary to popular belief, they realized that things were still the same. It was in this moment, in the form of a sudden realization, they would finally realise, how badly they had come up short.


Sihle Ntuli () is a South African writer and part-time M.A candidate at the School of Languages and Literature at Rhodes University. Since 2009, his poems have been published on Poetry Potion, New Coin, New Contrast and Ja Magazine amongst others. He has also been published in an array of publications such as Saraba and Kalahari Review.

In 2015, as part of Bakwa’s music feature edition, he curated a Pan-African playlist in collaboration with Ja Magazine entitled ‘Phola’. In the same year he released his debut anthology of poetry entitled ‘Stranger’ to favourable reviews.

Related country: South Africa

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