Nature, climate crisis, and the Anthropocene have carved space in recent inter-, cross-, and multi-disciplinary humanities studies. In South Africa, such studies have barely touched literature in African languages. Nyambi and Otomo focus on the tropes of “lady nature,” nostalgia, and dystopia in Zulu writer Bhekinkosi Ntuli’s Imvunge Yemvelo to explore the complex ways in which these tropes test the normative epistemes of ecological crises. Beyond rejecting imperial distortions of indigenous environmentalism, Ntuli’s poems re-center local knowledge of nature in understanding its relationship with humans. That knowledge subverts epistemic structures of colonial conservation, revising and re-visioning racially geo-politicized knowledge hierarchies.