About the Author:
Shabbir Banoobhai

Personal Notes

A journey that begins with a vision
Some personal notes of a life in poetry
by Shabbir Banoobhai

I was born on 23 October 1949 in Saville Street in the city of Durban. Saville Street is a narrow, little-known street in the heart of Durban, parallel to the city’s most well-known street, West Street. The West Street Mosque, the second largest mosque in the city centre, has two entrances, one in West Street and the other in Saville Street. We lived in number 19 Saville Street. Our earliest neighbours, I am told, were the very prominent Deedat family. When I was four years old, we moved to Brickfield Road in Overport, a suburb of Durban.

My parents and my older brothers and sisters were all born in India. My father, Abdul Hamid, was born in 1897 in Surat and my mother, Jenab Bibi, was born in the same city in 1902.

‘Sir, could you please write in my report:
Must read more books!’

The first school I attended was in a street adjoining Saville Street. Later, I moved to the Orient Islamic Primary School and then onto the Orient Islamic High School, both in the city centre. At school, I generally performed well, loved reading, and sport even more, although I had very little sporting talent. I attended every cricket match, hoping that a player would not turn up so that I would be given the opportunity to play. I rarely was. I still attend cricket matches but with very different expectations!

I should tell you at least one school story. I have always loved reading and when I was young, a book was like an extension of my hand. But I was also short-sighted and had to wear spectacles. Being the youngest in the family, I was extraordinarily privileged to live in a world suffused with my parents’ love, their concern for me knowing no bounds. My father, worrying about my eyesight, was convinced that my vision would worsen if I continued to pore endlessly over books. Books borrowed from libraries in town were sometimes read completely in the bus on the return journey home, even before I reached number 286 Brickfield Road. Naturally, I did not want to cut back my reading so when the end of the school term arrived, I approached my teacher, Mr. Malla, who knew I read more books than anyone else in the class with a request: ‘Sir, could you please write in my report: Must read more books!’

Before I continue, I would like to relate how my father came to South Africa. From what I can remember of my conversations with him – and I wish now that I had spent more time talking with him and less time reading – he first came to South Africa with his father in 1911, as a boy of 14. When my grandfather returned to India with the intention of returning to South Africa with my father’s brother, my grandfather unfortunately passed away, so my uncle never made it to South Africa. My father remained in South Africa and started commuting between the two countries, selling small items he brought over from India.

My mother remained in India, even after she married my father, until 1948 when she and my two brothers and two sisters joined my father in Durban. This decision was forced upon them due to legislation about to be passed by the National Party which had just come into power in South Africa. This legislation was aimed at preventing future Indian immigration into the country as part of a policy of apartheid intended to privilege white South Africans.I should also mention that my parents had four other children, all of whom except one, a sister who became an adult and lost her life giving birth to a child, died in childhood. Both my parents died at the age of 78, my father in 1975 and my mother in 1980.I was fortunate to meet my uncle whom I loved very much, in India in 1980. He passed away in 1994.

I wrote my first poem in my final year at school, a poem I have since thrown away. It was a protest poem,but not a very good one,about a not-very-good teacher who shall remain nameless.


After I completed my schooling, I wanted to go to university but my father could not afford to send me to one, so I was sent off to the Springfield College of Education, a teacher training institution, to become a teacher. At college, I became involved in student affairs and was elected president of the Students’ Representative Council in 1970. I was also assistant editor of a vibrant and sometimes banned college newspaper, Aspect.

I remember his first words …
‘I wonder what the world is going to do with you’

It was during this time, working on Aspect that I met the inspiring human being, Fatima Meer – a brave and outspoken political activist and sociologist, lecturing at the then University of Natal in Durban. Our friendship continued even after I qualified as a teacher, and when she discovered that I wrote poetry, she recommended I meet Douglas Livingstone, who she felt would be able to help me. Douglas Livingstone was one of South Africa’s finest poets.

By this time, I had written many more poems but had no idea if they were any good. I set up a meeting with Douglas and met him when I was twenty four years old. I remember him reading my work. And I remember his first words when he had finished: ‘I wonder what the world is going to do with you’. Initially, I was confused not knowing what he meant by this statement, but as he continued to speak I understood that he liked my work. It was a great feeling to know that someone who knew poetry and was himself a poet liked my work.

I wrote poetry … I was moved by sorrow.

Douglas became my mentor and poet-friend. Until I met him, I knew very little about poetry as an art form or a poem as an artefact. I wrote poetry. I had an affinity for it. I was moved by sorrow. When I felt inspired to write, I wrote. I rarely attempted to correct what I wrote. Douglas immediately put an end to this misconception. He taught me that a poem is an artefact – a constructed thing. He showed me a table and some chairs. He explained to me how they had started out as shapeless wood that had to be shaped, honed and polished to become what they now were. He explained that the process of constructing a poem was no different. A poem had to be made lean, muscled, devoid of flab. He explained the function of bones and the skeletal system and commented on what we would look like without the structure the rest of our body, our flesh, relied so heavily upon. I needed no further convincing. I understood.

He also advised that I submit my work to poetry magazines, invariably edited by lecturers in the English departments at South African universities. He introduced me to Mike Kirkwood of the then University of Natal in Durban, who was keenly interested in publishing local creative work. And he invited me to continue to keep in touch with him. I was on the road to the most beautiful and least-known destination in the world – becoming a poet.

Lo and behold!
In 1980 Mike Kirkwood, passionate critic of my poems,
published my first collection.

After meeting Douglas, I sent my work to nearly every poetry magazine in the country. Almost always, it was well received. I thrived on the encouragement. There was just one person I could not impress – Mike Kirkwood. Mike and his colleague, Tony Morphet, published a magazine called Bolt at the University of Natal. When I first showed my work to Mike, he ‘savaged’ it, recommending that I do the same to it to get beyond what I was doing and onto another plateau. I was devastated. For two weeks, perhaps two months, I could not write. Then I began to write again. I continued to send out my work everywhere. Almost everyone loved my work, but I still could not impress Mike Kirkwood. Then in 1975 I wrote a poem for my father who had recently died. And Mike Kirkwood published it.

Over the ensuing years, I corresponded with Douglas and with many other South African literary figures, always receiving valuable encouragement and criticism. I remember a meeting with Douglas in 1978 at his home. We were discussing a poem I had written. He pulled out a Thesaurus from a bookshelf. I did not own a Thesaurus then. Today, one of my most treasured possessions is a Thesaurus that once belonged to Douglas Livingstone. He had bought it on 27 November 1953 and he gifted it to me in 1978. The inside cover bears an inscription ‘To Shabbir, with Affection, Admiration and Respect from Douglas, 22.1.78’.

When Mike left the university to take over the running of Ravan Press, a brave publishing house that was bringing out works by South African writers critical of the apartheid state, I continued to keep in touch with him, my writing improving all the time. Lo and behold! In 1979, Mike asked me to submit a manuscript for publication! And in 1980, Mike Kirkwood, passionate critic of my poems, published my first collectionechoes of my other self.

Who were the other friends who helped me on this journey? Before I mention their names, I should share something about the journey and the destination– something very important that I learnt from Douglas. In one of our meetings, he said to me: ‘Shabbir, a good poet is someone who has been dead for a hundred years and one of his poems is still read’. Another time, he said: ‘John Keats, in his best year, wrote six good poems.’

But I was talking of the other writers who had supported me on my writing journey: Professor Ridley Beeton, David Adey and Walter Saunders at Unisa, Ruth Harnett at New Coin(the first magazine to publish my work), Jack Cope at Contrast, Stephen Gray at Izwi, Sipho Sepamla at New Classic and Eskia Mphahlele in Pennsylvania in the United States. These were some, but there were many more who helped me on my way to becoming a poet.

The education authorities had an effective way of dealing with
difficult student leaders – once they completed their studies, they
they simply sent them to teach in some remote part of the country
where they would not be heard from again

But what else was I doing up until 1980 when my first book was published? What transpired between 1968 when I began studying at the Springfield College of Education and 1980 when I was nearing the end of a short-lived academic career as a lecturer in the Department of Accounting and Auditing at the University of Durban-Westville?

At college, as mentioned earlier, I became involved in student affairs which brought me and my activist friends into conflict with the college authorities. When I became President of the SRC in 1970, I knew that my future would be problematic. The education authorities of the day had an effective way of dealing with difficult student leaders – once they completed their studies, they simply sent them to teach in some remote part of the country where they would not be heard from again. I was aware that this could happen to me. In school, my favourite subjects had been English and History. I was therefore training to become a teacher of English and History. But the threat of being harassed once I completed my studies made me look for an alternative that would provide me with a way out of teaching if I needed one.

A lecturer I had become friendly with at college was the brilliant Mr. Hanif Aboobaker, the Accounting lecturer. I asked him one day if he would teach me and a few friends Accounting even though I had not studied the subject at high school. When he agreed, I dropped History and began studying Accounting in my final year of study. In my third year at College I simultaneously started studying for a Bachelor of Commerce degree through the University of South Africa (Unisa) – South Africa’s premier distance-learning institution.

My teaching career began with a stint at a school in Durban,after which I was transferred to the Port Shepstone Indian High School,on the South Coast of the province of Natal, where I taught for almost four years. I found it difficult to teach in the stifling atmosphere created by the bureaucrats and harsh disciplinarians of the education department. So I gave up teaching in 1974 and began serving articles of clerkship at a firm of chartered accountants, Levitt and Dowdle, in nearby Margate. This was a very fruitful time in my life, with my poetry blossoming as well. I also formed friendships there that have lasted to this day.

By the time I had almost completed my articles, I needed to think about my future again. I had by then obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science degree through Unisa. I had also just written the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board examination and was awaiting results and I had been invited by the senior partners at Levitt and Dowdle to remain with the firm after I had qualified as a Chartered Accountant. But I was hankering after the academic life and was lonely living in Port Shepstone,as I had been away from home for a long time and my family was in Durban. My loneliness was made worse by my father’s passing two years previously. So I decided to apply for a lectureship at the University of Durban-Westville. I had not yet received my results for the Board examination I had written so had yet to qualify as a Chartered Accountant. But I got the job!

Since I had always been a good student,
no one had even considered the possibility
that I would fail the Board examination.

Since I had always been a good student, no one had even considered the possibility that I would fail the Board examination. I was thus confidently tasked with lecturing to the final year accounting students – students who, if they passed that year, would sit for the Board examination the following year. I had been lecturing for about two months when the examination results were released. I had failed! The university authorities were in a dilemma –should they replace me as lecturer of the final-year students with a lecturer who was a qualified Chartered Accountant since the post concerned preparing senior students for the very examination I had failed?The students,surprisingly, requested that I remain in my post as their lecturer as they felt that they would benefit more from someone whose knowledge was still fresh and relevant to the examination they hoped to write the following year.

The next year, the students who the previous year had passed the university examinations I had set for them – and I – their lecturer, all sat together for the same Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board examination! That year the university had the highest pass-rate for this examination in its history up to that point, a rate of over 60% – high for that particular examination. Did I pass? I must have – it says so on my certificate from the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board.

Being at university was also good for me in other ways. On campus, I met and later married a beautiful and very bright student of Arabic, Ruxanna Karim.

I decided, after some agonizing, to boycott my MBA lectures.
It turned out to be a decision that eventually
cost me my academic career.

I was, however, not destined to remain an academic. In 1980, I enrolled for a Masters Degree in Business Administration at the university. The year was one of intense student protests against unequal education. I sympathized with and supported the students who were boycotting their classes in protest. But as a lecturer, I was expected to present myself for a lecture as scheduled, wait twenty minutes, and if no students turned up, return to my office.

This I did. But what was I to do when it came to attending lectures as a student? The MBA students were mostly businessmen, studying in the evenings and very goal-oriented.None of them were participating in the boycott. I decided after some agonizing to boycott my MBA lectures. It turned out to be a decision that eventually cost me my academic career.

I had been boycotting my lectures for a number of days when, one evening, the inevitable happened. My MBA lecturer who was also a colleague, let’s call him Professor X, came to my office and said to me: ‘I see you are boycotting your lectures’. I agreed I was. He asked me into his office, saying he wanted to find out why. There we spoke for almost an hour. When I had finished explaining why I was boycotting my lectures he said to me: ‘You are one of the most sensitive people I have ever met. I will help you to get your MBA even if you do not attend classes.’ By this I understood that he was offering to help me catch up at a later stage with the lectures I was now missing. I went home thinking how fortunate I was that I had managed to avoid the backlash I had so feared from the university authorities.

But then something happened that I cannot understand to this day. After a few days, Professor X called me back to his office, saying that I had to return to lectures. I said I could not. He informed me that the South African security police had been inquiring about me and that they knew about my activities as a student leader at Springfield College. He warned me that if I did not return to my lectures he would report me to the Minister of Education (presumably the person with the necessary authority under the circumstances) to have me dismissed from my post. I replied that I would not go back to my lectures but offered to drop my MBA studies. He said simply that that was not good enough – he wanted me back in class. Finally, I said to him: ‘Professor X, I have done what I had to do; now you do what you have to do’ and left.The next few months were awful. I was terrified of being detained by the security police or dismissed from my job. I learnt later from some other colleagues that Professor X had indeed recommended that I be dismissed from my post but that the head of the Accounting Department, a gentle soul, Professor Raymond Orpen, had prevented this from happening, arguing that what I did as a lecturer was their business but what I did as a student was my own business. I dropped my MBA studies, but stayed on at the university, which became increasingly cold towards me. It was clear to me that I had come to the end of the road there.

In 1982, I began studying for a CMA qualification, a prestigious qualification from the London-based Institute for Chartered Management Accountants. I applied for study-leave, but my application was refused on the grounds that I ‘was not serious about my studies’. I decided to leave the university.I went to see the Dean of the Commerce Faculty. He kept me standing for several minutes before speaking to me. I informed him of my decision to leave the university and said that I would be taking the some leave due to me,at the end of the academic year. An academic I had met and befriended at a conference in Canada had invited me to visit him in Australia before I settled into a new career. The Dean demanded that I present myself in person at the university on the last day of the term if I wanted to be paid my salary for that month. I went to Australia, took my books with me, studied while travelling, returned, and later wrote and passed my CMA exams.

On the last day of a term all academic staff members were paid by midday. Invariably, after midday, the University became almost completely deserted. When I went to collect my salary cheque, the Administrative staff asked me to see the Dean before they would pay me. I went to the Dean’s office. He told me that I would have to wait till four o’clock in the afternoon before he would consent to my salary being released. His last words to me were: ‘Mr. Banoobhai, I want you to complete your full term of service to this university’.

But 1982 also had its compensations. Tazkiyah, our first child, was born in May 1982. Our joy knew no bounds. It was a time of celebration – including in poetry – of new love in our lives! Between 1983 and 1995 I ran an Accountancy practice in Durban but continued to be interested in larger South African, as well as community, affairs.

In 1984, I had a second volume of poetry published by Ravan Press, shadows of a sun-darkened land, which was very well received. Douglas, in particular, thought it was an extraordinary book and wrote me an extremely kind letter to tell me so.

I wrote, but did not publish …
and after a while the desire to publish –
and then, to write – left me altogether

I decided that, for a while. I would not submit new poems to literary magazines and journals, as I wanted my next anthology to contain fresh poems that had not before appeared in print. So I stopped publishing my work in poetry journals. There may have been another reason for this. I knew I could write intense, ‘minimalist’ poems and now wanted to try new poetic forms – longer poems. Initially, I wrote but did not publish anything; and after a while the desire to publish – and then, to write – left me altogether.

My mother had passed away on 14 May 1980. It was a loss that affected me deeply. But six years later, 14 May brought someone else into our lives – a second daughter, Ilhaam. When I looked at her for the first time, I felt that I was looking at my mother once more.

One afternoon in December 1991, I went to a golf course near my home in Reservoir Hills to have a game of golf by myself. I stood on the first tee and drove the ball with my five-wood. I hit the ball not more than 150 metres and started to walk towards it. I must have walked about fifty metres when I suddenly felt a burning sensation in my chest. I also found I that I was having difficulty breathing. I eventually reached the ball and hit it another 100 metres – into the rough. I had to rest before I reached the ball again. I had rushed to get to the course quickly and thought I was just breathless from that. I finally got to the green after a few more strokes. As I sank the putt, the realization hit me –I was in trouble. I walked slowly back to my car, went home and phoned a cardiologist friend.

It turned out that I needed to have heart bypass surgery. I had the operation in March 1992 at the Wentworth Hospital in Durban. As it was a state hospital, I had no control over who was to perform the operation on me. I did not even get to meet the surgeon beforehand. It was an operation that almost cost me my life.

I learnt subsequently that the surgeon had not properly stitched certain blood vessels and that I had bled internally for hours before the problem was discovered around midnight by the staff at the intensive care unit. I was very fortunate because that night someone had been rushed to the hospital for emergency heart surgery. So although the original surgeon had left, there was a team of surgeons still working at the hospital at midnight, a team headed by the surgeon I would have chosen originally to do the operation if I had been given a choice!

I was re-operated on and survived.I remained in the intensive care unit for several days. The second operation was done in a frantic rush and, in the course of it, my phrenic nerve and vocal chords were damaged. For a long time afterwards, I could not breathe or speak easily. I remained in hospital for a month and recuperated at home for another.

The month I spent at home recovering was unexpectedly traumatic. Not having much to do, I spent much of my time watching CNN coverage of the war that had broken out in the Balkans. Daily, I felt the pain of the victims of this terrible tragedy, mostly Muslim men, women and children in Bosnia Herzegovina. I felt connected to the tragedy in a very deep way, as in 1981, I had been invited to attend a conference on Muslim Minorities in Sherbrooke in Canada where I had learnt for the first time of the significant Muslim population in Yugoslavia and the problems they faced; there I had also met and grown close to Alija Izetbegovic, a Yugoslavian lawyer who was now the president of the newly formed Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So I identified even more closely with the suffering of the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Towards the end of 1992, I met a friend, Faizal Dawjee, editor of Al Qalam, newspaper of the Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa. Faizal had been to Sarajevo to report on the war taking place there. He was returning to Sarajevo. I decided to join him as a journalist in order to experience and write authentically on the suffering of the people of Sarajevo, a city under siege. In December 1992, Faizal and I left for Sarajevo. I had recovered sufficiently from my operation to make the trip. I still cannot understand Ruxanna’s magnanimity in letting me go! Ilhaam, who was six at the time, cried all the way to the airport urging me not to go. I went.

Faizal had a Press card, validated by UNPROFOR (The United Nations Protection Forces) who controlled entry and exit at Sarajevo airport. I still needed such a Press card, but we encountered a problem in Zagreb. We had arrived there just before the Christmas holidays, when there would be a general shut-down of the city for several days. We managed to find just one person still in the Zagreb offices of UNPROFOR, who – fortunately – had the authority to provide me with an UNPROFOR-acceptable Press card. We got the card! Relief flights into Sarajevo had ceased for a while as the airport had become too dangerous for planes to land there. As soon as we heard that flights were being resumed, we were at the airport in Zagreb, waiting for a flight to take us on to Sarajevo.

It was bitterly cold in Zagreb. We were warmly dressed but the cold was so great that unless one kept moving, one felt one’s feet would be frozen to the ground. We waited in the cold on the tarmac of the airport for a few hours until we were allowed to board a German transport plane taking supplies to Sarajevo. We were on our way.

We got to Sarajevo airport towards evening. The winter darkness descended quickly. We could hear the sound of gunfire as we landed. Huge mounds of sand provided some protection as we were led into the airport buildings, entirely manned by UNPROFOR forces. Faizal’s documents were checked and cleared. But mine were not! I was told that the Press card issued to me by UNPROFOR in Zagreb was not valid as it was hand-written and not typed! We explained that the person who had provided me the card had done so in a hurry. As everyone else had already left the office, and as she was in a hurry to leave too, she had not bothered to sit at a typewriter or a computer but had quickly hand-written the card. I was told that I would be sent back to Zagreb immediately. Nothing we said made any difference. Within minutes Faizal was being hurried away to join some transport out of the airport into the city. We barely managed to hug each before we were parted. I was back on the same plane on which we had arrived – returning to Zagreb – at night, alone.

My whole journey from South Africa to Sarajevo had been based on Faizal’s presence, as he had knowledge of the environment. I did not even know my way around Zagreb. I could barely recall how to get back to the apartment we had been in earlier that day –an apartment that was being used as a base for volunteer workers who were coming from all over the world to help the victims of the genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I had not even written down the address. We had travelled to it from the city by train, and I had tried to memorise the route during the journey. Besides my memory, there was nothing that could help me find my way back! Moreover, Faizal had the keys to the apartment – and as we had parted in such turmoil he had forgotten to give them to me. It was dark and cold. I could hardly walk with the weight of the luggage which contained my clothes and food I would have needed in Sarajevo. I walked alone in Zagreb, in winter, at night, the streets almost entirely deserted, with just the barest notion of the direction in which I should be heading. I walked for a long, long time!

Late that night I finally made it back to the apartment – how, I do not know. Unbelievably, there was someone there, a miracle since there had been no one else there when Faizal and I had stayed there, or when we had left that morning! Even more fortunate, there was a telephone there that I managed to work out how to use. The lettering and numbering was not in English but I managed to phone South Africa. It was a huge relief to speak to Ruxanna. We decided that there was some reason, unknown to me but probably beneficial to us, why a valid Press card bearing the verifiable signature of an official authorized to sign it, had been rejected as invalid. We agreed that I should not try to go back to Sarajevo but return home as soon as possible.

The reason for this story is to set the background for a poem I wrote two years later, after an extended writing-drought. In 1994, I was invited to attend an International Conference on the Balkans. My contribution at the proceedings in Istanbul, Turkey was a poem titled Sarajevo!

In April 1995 I moved with my family to Cape Town. In January 1996, I found employment in a large corporate firm there. In February, Douglas Livingstone, my mentor and poet-friend, passed away.But it was the year 1997 that I really consider as the start of the rebirth of my writing. When I could not write, or felt that I was not ready to write, I had prayed as follows: ‘God, I am not able to write at present. I am giving this gift you have given me back to you for safekeeping until I am ready to receive it again. When I am ready, please give it back to me.’

our ultimate heritage is not the heritage of land, sea and sky,
as beautiful as these may be, but the heritage of love

When I began to write again, I was unsure whether the writing was any good. I let everyone I respected read my work. I took note of their criticism. I thrived on their encouragement. Slowly, I was able to sharpen my rusted abilities. I re-worked poems I had written but not published. And I wrote many new poems.I selected some of the more reflective pieces, all dealing with the subject of love and published them myself as a gift book in 1999. The collection was called wisdom in a jug – reflections of love. I saw the book as a gift of love, of healing; in a larger context, a giftto all who love. It emphasizes that our ultimate heritage is not the heritage of land, sea and sky, as beautiful as these may be, but the heritage of love.

In 2000, I submitted a manuscript inward moon outward sun for consideration for the Sanlam Literary Award. The manuscript, short listed for the award won by the remarkable poet, Tatamkulu Afrika, was published by the University of Natal Press in 2002.

A period of creativity in the month of fasting gave rise to another book in 2002. This was a book of meditations, prayers and poetry. It was published by Africa Impressions as lightmail.In April 2002, I was invited for the second time to an international poetry festival in Durban where I had the opportunity to meet poets from all over the world – an experience full of warmth and sharing where for a week we were the perfect family.

More writing followed in Ramadan 2002, leading to the publication of book of songs by Wits University Press in October 2004.

I tried to address the problem of living with integrity
and in peace in a world lacking both. And I particularly
tried to help my children understand … why I consider
that we ourselves are essentially Divine

During Ramadan 2004 and 2005 I wrote a series of letters to my daughters, Tazkiyah and Ilhaam. The letters were published in 2006, the following Ramadan,asif i could write – Ramadan letters that can be read at Christmas or on any other day. The preface explains how the book came into being:‘Each letter took several days to write. In the letters I tried to address both lasting and topical concerns. Above all I tried to address the problem of living with integrity and in peace in a world lacking both. And I particularly tried to help my children understand the Divine and why I consider that we ourselves are essentially Divine. I was aware of course that they would only appreciate some of the letters when they were much older!’

At work I was getting closer and closer to the age when big corporates no longer consider one to be part of their long term plans. I was offered and accepted early retirement in November 2005. Traumatic at first, the change ultimately proved more beneficial to my overall well-being than I could ever have imagined.

In 2007, I published a beautifully-designed companion volume to wisdom in a jug called water would suffice. And in 2008, I published a collection focusing on the theme of love in the form of reflections, poems and essays, titled,a mountain is an upside down valley.

Since then I have published the following works:

        • dark light – the spirit’s secret – a prayer in the form of a long prose-poem – in 2009
        • the mirror’s memory – reflective essays and thoughts – in 2009
        • lyrics in paradise – in 2009
        • Heretic – a novel – in 2012
        • the drums beat all night – a collection of poems – in 2013
        • Seeing Perfection – meditations for living in peace ––in 2013
        • A revised edition of if i could write – Ramadan letters that can be read at Christmas or on any other day – in 2013.

The challenges of living a life of integrity
and creativity are never easy.

Whatever happens from now on is an open-ended challenge I intend to treasure. What better way to begin a new life going forward than to be aware that one has persevered in something as important as publishing one’s most precious thoughts! But it would be wrong to conclude on this note of fulfilment without recognizing that however far one has come in one’s writing, or living, or loving, one has much more to learn. The challenges of living a life of integrity and creativity are never easy. I know I would like to continue to promote a vision of a more humane society. I believe that this is a journey that begins with a vision – not a map!

© Shabbir Banoobhai. All rights reserved.