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UKZN Press

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Lesego Rampolokeng Returns with Head on Fire: Rants / Notes / Poems 2001-2011

Head on FireHead on Fire is Lesego Rampolokeng’s first book of poems to be published in South Africa since The Bavino Sermons (Gecko/UKZN Press 1999). It includes the complete text of The Second Chapter, published by Pantolea Press in Berlin in 2003.

One measure of a poet is the range of his concerns, and Lesego Rampolokeng takes on religion, war, street violence, global economics, obscenity, history, wordplay, sexual perversion, and, not least, his own contradictions. If he spatters the reader with blood and body fluids, it is not to shock or repel but to “engage with my world in all its manifestations…I want to see all the spluttered blood and gore. So I’m attempting to embrace its beauty. Hopefully.”

Few South African writers are as prepared as Rampolokeng to acknowledge that we all are the authors of our own chaos. “It is necessary for us to strip right down to the bone and see exactly how ugly we are as a people.” Or, more aphoristically:

Not the barbarian at the door
but the savage at the core

“Lesego Rampolokeng represents one of the most outspoken literary voices from South Africa today. In his poetry he launches scathing attacks against those responsible for making our times ‘go mad’. The great frenzy and urgency that drive him to spill thoughts into words and sound imbue his orally presented texts with a mad quality. On stage he appears as one possessed by the word.” — Flora Veit-Wildt

About the author

Lesego Rampolokeng is a poet, playwright, novelist, filmscript writer and provocative poetry performer.

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