• By: Kat Walcott

Local poet and writer Samukele Ncube has some ‘Things You Need to Hear Most’

The past year has been . . . something to put it simply. The ongoing pandemic has added on an unprecedented amount of sadness, fear and uncertainty on top of our already stressful lives. Now, more than ever, we all need to take a moment, step back, and make our mental health a priority.

Ottawa-based digital marketer and certified yoga instructor Samukele Ncube knows this feeling well. Through a severe bout of depression and unexplained illness in early 2020, Ncube birthed her very first book Things You Need to Hear Most. The upcoming collection of poems, personal anecdotes and notes was a means of self-healing that Ncube now hopes, as she prepares to release it to the world, can bring comfort and healing to others. The first-time author moved from Zimbabwe to Ottawa back in 2013 to attend Carleton University and explains that self-love and mental wellness has always been important to her. “Throughout my life, I've always been in environments that really rewarded overachieving behaviour and as a recovering perfectionist and overachiever, writing has really been the cornerstone of my healing journey and in learning self-love,” Ncube says. “The book has allowed me to embrace my gift of writing for the first time while offering others healing through words that I needed on my darkest days,” she continues.

Ncube emphasizes that the messages of self-love, acceptance, and care in her writing are more relevant than ever in the type of society we live in and have to constantly navigate through. “As a result of my journey, I am called to bring joy and inspiration into the world through my work, and I have been doing that through poetry over the past year. In a world that constantly tells us who we should be, I strongly believe we all have the answers we seek to live out our life's purpose and I strive to help others rediscover their internal guiding voice through my work,” she explains. These sentiments are poignantly illustrated through Ncube’s poems, such as “Perfection,” which is present in the book and has been shared on her beautifully curated Instagram page.

As what is true about many works of art, Things You Need to Hear Most wasn’t intentional. Along with professional therapy, the poems were originally just an outlet to help Ncube process her own emotions as she was working through her depression. It wasn’t until she was already knee deep in writing and nearing the end of her recovery that she realized that this could be something bigger. “Over time, I started to ask myself ‘What do I need to hear right now?’ as a way of giving myself the encouragement that I needed to get through that difficult time, and the words would just flow. As I started to recover physically, I spent a lot of time in nature and walking in my neighbourhood of Westboro, and I started to see the beauty and the power of nature. I started to see that there are so many lessons that nature offers us and I would write about them in my journal and on my iPhone notes app,” she explains, “These lessons, interwoven with the words of encouragement that I needed to hear at different moments, is where the book came from.”

Ncube explains that the book, which is divided into four sections, each representing the transformational stages of a butterfly and containing notes and poems that relate to that specific part of Ncube’s personal self-growth journey, was surprisingly easy to put together once she decided she wanted to publish it. “It kinda just happened for me, and I think it really speaks to what can happen when you’re walking in alignment with your soul’s purpose. Throughout my life, writing is something that I was always told I was good at, but I always took it for granted because it came easily,” she says. Ncube further explains that being ill and being forced to slow down made her explore her gift of writing in a more intentional way. “I was finally forced to create the space to actually explore this gift as a means of healing, and it was surprising how the words just started to flow. Quite by accident, I figured out a creative process that worked really well for me time and time again, and it was a combination of movement (usually in the form of yoga once I was a lot stronger physically) meditation and writing. Through meditation, the words just flowed. I feel like I was the vessel for these words to come to life, because I look back on my writings sometimes, and I think, ‘Wow, I really needed that today!’”

In celebration of the book’s official release on February 14th, Ncube, along with her partner and host of the Pump Fakes and Hot Takes podcast Dolapo Adeoye, is hosting a free virtual launch event the day before on Saturday, February 13th that she is really excited about. “When I was thinking about how to celebrate this milestone, I was really thinking about how I could share my own creative process with my guests to help them uncover their own creativity because I really believe that we all have creativity within us, we just need to produce the conditions for it to be able to shine through. With this in mind, I've incorporated a mini-workshop into the event that interlaces gentle movement with meditation and gives space for people to connect with their own creativity, whatever it looks like for them,” she explains of what to expect of the event. Ncube also mentions that even though she’s disappointed that the book launch can’t be in-person, she’s excited that the virtual format will allow for her friends and family back in Zimbabwe to be able to participate and celebrate with her.

So, looking for a way to treat yourself and practice some self-love this Valentine’s Day weekend? Don’t miss out the virtual launch event by signing up here and snag a copy of Things You Need to Hear Most here

Photo: Samukele Ncube media kit