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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Jeff Opland awarded the Order of Ikhamanga: Silver for his contribution to history and South African literature

Jeff Opland has been awarded the Order of Ikhamanga: Silver for his outstanding contribution to the field of history and an impressive body of works in literature. The award read: “Your work exhumes stories of the dead and brings them to life so that the living can continue to learn and benefit.”

The Ikhamanga flower (more commonly referred to as the strelitzia, crane, or bird or paradise flower) is one of the world’s most recognisable flowers and is indigenous to the Eastern Cape. The Ikhamanga is the central motif of the Order of Ikhamanga and symbolises the unique beauty of the achievements of South Africans in the creative fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.

The Opland Collection of Xhosa Literature is the academic library of Jeff Opland assembled in the course of his research into Xhosa folklore, especially praise poetry, and the history of Xhosa literature. Its contents include field recordings of Xhosa poets (1969–85), books and pamphlets in isiXhosa, and copies of literature published in ephemera. The Publications Series draws on material in the Collection, and presents diplomatic editions with English translations of significant works in isiXhosa, for the most part previously unrecognised or unavailable as published books, and studies of material in the Collection.

The ceremony will be held at the Presidential Guest House on 28 April 2017.

John Solilo: Umoya wembongi

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Don’t miss the launch of John Solilo: Umoya wembongi: Collected poems (1922–1935) in Grahamstown

Invitation to the launch of John Solilo: Umoya wembongi: Collected poems (1922–1935)

 
John Solilo: Umoya wembongi: Collected poems (1922–1935)UKZN Press and the Rhodes University School of Languages: African Language Studies would like to invite you to the launch of John Solilo: Umoya wembongi: Collected poems (1922–1935) edited by Jeff Opland and Peter T Mtuze.

Come and celebrate the publication of the third volume in the Opland Collection of Xhosa Literature at the National Arts Festival on Tuesday, 5 July. The launch will start at 2:30 PM, with an introduction to the series by Pamela Maseko.

Entrance is free and refreshments will be served.

Don’t miss it!

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About the book

Publication of the Opland Collection of Xhosa Literature Volume 3

John Solilo (1864–1940) was a prolific contributor to Xhosa-language newspapers. He submitted letters and articles on a variety of issues, local news reports from Cradock and Uitenhage, and a considerable body of poetry. His major literary contribution was his collection of poems entitled Izala (A Rubbish Dump), published in 1925, the earliest volume of poetry by a single author in the history of Xhosa literature.

Solilo’s literary reputation today, however, is at variance with his prominence as a major author in the first four decades of the twentieth century: he is hardly mentioned, if at all, by literary historians, Izala has long been out of print, and copies can no longer be located. In restoring to the public domain the 65 poems that made up Izala and adding an additional 28 that were published in newspapers both before and after the appearance of Izala, the editors hope to revive Solilo’s reputation as a poet, and to establish his status as a preeminent Xhosa author.

In his poetry, Solilo urged passivity and opposed political revolt, but he could also be scathing in his denunciation of black indignities suffered under white control, inspired as he was by umoya wembongi, the spirit of the imbongi, the praise poet whose stirring declamations roused his audiences to action or contemplation.

About the editors

Jeff Opland has devoted himself to defining and restoring the heritage of literature in the Xhosa language. Among other works, with Peter Mtuze he edited two anthologies of Xhosa literature, Isigodlo sikaPhalo (1983) and Izwi labantu (1994). Opland is currently Visiting Professor in the School of Languages: African Language Studies at Rhodes University.

Peter T Mtuze is the most prolific living isiXhosa writer: he has produced novels, short stories, essays, drama, poetry, autobiography and language books. Mtuze’s first book, UDingezweni (1966), is regarded as a classic novel. One of his singular achievements was his translation of former President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, into isiXhosa. He worked on the University of Fort Hare Xhosa Dictionary Project, at the University of South Africa and at Rhodes University, where he retired as Professor Emeritus.

 
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Read ‘The Room of Family Holidays’ from Kobus Moolman’s Glenna Luschei Prize-winning anthology

Read “The Room of Family Holidays” from Kobus Moolman’s Glenna Luschei Prize-winning anthology

 
A Book of RoomsUKZN Press and Deep South Publishing have shared an excerpt from Kobus Moolman’s poetry anthology A Book of Rooms, which was announced as the winner of the 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry this week.

The Glenna Luschei Prize is a pan-African poetry award worth $5 000 (about R84 000), overseen by the African Poetry Book Fund in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s literary journal Prairie Schooner.

In her comments, Judge Gabeba Baderoon called A Book of Rooms “electric, visceral, brilliantly experimental, and profoundly moving”.

Moolman was a guest of the Winter Warmer Festival in Cork, Ireland, last year, and his reading of “The Room of Family Holidays” is available to view on YouTube:

YouTube Preview Image

 

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Read the poem:

 

The Room of Family Holidays
Bright sunlight. Fat smell of frying.

 
There is a long

window with thick metal burglar bars painted white The window
runs the length

of the room and looks out across the deep blue Indian ocean on
the south coast of

Natal It is a long narrow room with three single beds One bed is
perpendicular to the

room, in the middle, with its head against the back wall facing
the ocean (This bed is

reserved for his sister) A second bed is directly underneath the
window, and horizontal

to it, at the far end of the room The third bed is in the same
position but up against

the back wall The second bed is a source of continual dispute
between himself and

his brother Because both boys always want to sleep right by the
window so they can

be the first to see the ocean and to see the sun come up This
dispute is finally solved

by their father (with the help of his strap) who decides that they
must take turns to be

at the window on their annual Christmas holidays Although this
still does not prevent

them arguing over who slept there last and whose turn it is this
time About to go

into his final year at high school he feels that such squabbles are
below him, and he

magnanimously allows his brother access to the bed by the
window without any

argument, and with only a superior smile He feels that he is on
the brink of something

very significant in his life, something almost adult And though he
will perhaps feel

this same overwhelming power again For example when he buys
his first car, a 1982

white VW Jetta Mk1, or when he publishes his first – and only –
piece of writing, a

rhyming poem on Mother’s Day in a consumer tabloid distributed
free from local Spar

supermarkets It will never be with the same absolute confidence
in his ability to get

what he wants And what he wants now is to find a way to talk to
the long-legged blonde

girl who stays in the big cottage at the top of the road, with its
own private access

to the beach via a long flight of steps made from old railway
sleepers And so he

doubles up on the arm and chest and leg exercises he does with
his expander springs

(the thick ones with the blue handles, not the red ones which are
too easy) Even

though his mother warns him not to strain himself And he swims
in the surf directly

in front of her house even at high tide (when his mother warns
him not to because of

his weak legs and the strong undertow) And he tans himself at
low tide on the flat

black rocks in full view of her pathway So that she has no choice
but to notice him

And when she smiles at him on the third day and says hello how
are you on the fourth

he knows with a certainty as firm as the black rocks that he is
chosen And that

he will always get what he wants Just by willing it And on the fifth
day she invites

him to her house and into her small bedroom (with a big blue
teddy bear on the bed)

and together they listen to a stretched tape of the Beatles’
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely

Hearts Club Band (I’d love to turn you on) And on New Year’s Eve
they walk hand

in hand as the white sun sets behind them, along the beach to a
party on the wet sand

where he drinks Spook en Diesel (just like his father’s policemen
friends) out of a

polystyrene cup and the blonde girl is asked to dance by an older
boy, a university student

he assumes, because of his long hair, who comes to the party in
a red beach buggy

with a surf board tied to the top, and who makes the girl laugh by
whispering something

in her ear And he (the boy with a hole in his heart, at the heart of
this story) feels everything

crumble and slide away beneath his small feet in their differently sized
orthopaedic boots

And he leaves without saying anything to the girl And stumbles
home along the cold

moonless beach He knows that if he goes home now his mother
will want to know

What’s wrong? What happened? Are you alright? And she will
want to kiss it all

better (As she always does) But he is much too old for all of that
stuff now So he

hunches behind a dune smelling of damp vegetation and rotten
fish-bait and dog turds

and he sniffs his right hand repeatedly, the hand that held onto
hers (and smells of

coconut oil and Simba Puffs) and he licks it and puts it inside his
trousers and he waits

until it is midnight and the fire-crackers have died down and he
can open their back

door and creep into the sleeping house And in the morning his
mother spoils their

whole family by frying bacon and eggs for breakfast (sunny-side
up) with white toast

This is a special treat Just for holidays she says smiling at him
Because apart from

his father who eats mielie pap every morning for breakfast
everyone else always

has Pronutro, regular or chocolate flavoured, with milk and no
sugar And that is

that Finish en klaar That is the morning when he learns how
much easier it always is to pretend than to admit a painful truth.
 

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UKZN Press congratulates Kobus Moolman on winning the prestigious Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry

Kobus Moolman

 
A Book of RoomsUKZN Press author Kobus Moolman is the winner of the 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry.

Moolman was awarded the prestigious prize for his latest collection, A Book of Rooms, published by Deep South Publishing, and distributed by UKZN Press.

Hearty congratulations to Moolman!

About the book

A Book of Rooms, Kobus Moolman’s new collection of poetry, deepens the explorations of his recent books Light and After and Left Over. While their Beckett-like sparseness and doggedness is still there, A Book of Rooms moves into a realist-biographical narrative form. Arranged in physically dense scenes described as ‘rooms’, it inhabits the childhood and young adulthood of a man with a serious physical disability growing up in a grim family environment in the final years of the white side of apartheid. The reader is compelled immediately into the character’s bleak and constant meetings with pain and failure. Yet inside this present-tense current can be felt a powerful will to live, sharp flashes of humour – and an even more powerful drive to know the truth.

Critical comments on Moolman’s two previous books:

“The reader is constantly located in the artist’s body negotiating between the physical space of bricks and mortar, and the inner, imagined reality which is a shifting, unreliable space … The highlight of this collection is the third section, entitled “Anatomy” … an extended meditation on the body as the place of fragmentation and reconnection, depersonalistion and reintegration … searing, honest and brave, opening to the reader in progressively intimate revelations that enable one to experience firsthand the narrator’s visceral reality.”

Liesl Jobson reviewing Light and After (2011) in FMR Book Choice 2011

“Working through a Moolman volume is both a rewarding and exhausting experience … However in a country where poems are too often simply sound-bites for fleeting perceptions and states of mind, [...] Moolman moves into a different space entirely, and has taken a much more difficult and honest path. The reader will emerge from this poetry chastened but delighted. They are works of acumen, depth and extraordinary pressure.”

Kelwyn Sole reviewing Left Over (2013) in New Coin, June 2014

About the author

Kobus Moolman is the author of seven collections of poetry, and several plays. He has won almost every poetry prize offered in South Africa: the Ingrid Jonker prize, the PANSA award, the South African Literary Award, the DALRO poetry prize and the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry award. He teaches creative writing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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Find out more about influential isiZulu author Nakanjani G Sibiya, editor of Amagalelo

AmagaleloNakanjani G Sibiya is the author and editor of a number of isiZulu books across various genres.

He has published five volumes of short stories, four dramas and is the editor or co-author of seven anthologies of short stories.

Sibiya’s debut collection of short stories, Ikusasa Eliqhakazile, won the JL Dube Award for Prose, and in 2003 he was awarded the M-Net Book Prize for his debut novel Kuxolelwa Abanjani?

In 2004 Kuxolelwa Abanjani? also received the BW Vilakazi Prize, the most prestigious award for isiZulu literature.

Sibiya holds a PhD from the University of Zululand and works as an editor and lecturer. His most recent book is Amagalelo.

Manie Groenewald’s article “Theme, plot and narration in the novels of NG Sibiya”, published in the South African Journal of African Languages, examines Sibiya’s impact on isiZulu literature:

Nakanjani G Sibiya has made a considerable contribution to isiZulu literature. In this article his two novels, Kuxolelwa abanjani? and Bengithi lizokuna, which can be typified as moral stories, are analysed according to selected aspects of narratology. The moral story seeks to expose immoral deeds and to show that these deeds have dire consequences for individuals, families and the community. Although Sibiya creates multiple story lines – this is especially true of Kuxolelwa abanjani? – he manages to link them in order to unify the story. The author’s use of analepses (‘flashbacks’) and postponement of the answer avoid monotonous chronological narration and serve to complete the story. While ironic situations and coincidences are meant to emphasise the consequences of immoral deeds, they too add interest to the reading experience. The author also employs various narrative techniques to enhance the reading experience. Although instances of unreliability occur in the two novels, Sibiya has enriched isiZulu literature with these two novels; this is mainly due to his ability to write narrative prose that captivates the reader. He has also captivated the reader with the novel topic of homosexuality and transsexuality in Bengithi lizokuna.

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“Moaning is One of the Most Boring Art Forms”: Gcina Mhlophe Recommends Sharing Stories Instead

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-AfrikaStories of AfricaHave You Seen Zandile?
Love ChildOur Story MagicHi Zoleka!Haai Zoleka!

 
Gcina Mhlophe, actress and storyteller, was recently featured on Thabiso Sikwane’s lunchtime radio show on Power FM to speak about the new Oral History Museum, which is opening in Durban.

The Oral History Museum, which also goes by the Story House, has been a dream of Mhlophe’s for a long time. Transferring knowledge to younger generations is an important means of culture.

Before discussing the museum, Sikwane and Mhlophe speak about the Fees Must Fall movement. Mhlophe’s emphasises the importance of education, saying “I’m right behind you, babies”.

Just as the student movements this year have allowed young people to make themselves heard, the Story House is a space for South Africans to tell their stories. For Mhlophe, this has been a long time coming: “It’s been 20 years of wishing and longing and praying for an oral history museum to be opened in this country, where ordinary South Africans can tell their stories.”

Mhlophe hopes that people will take this opportunity to tell their stories instead of complaining what a poor job the rest of the world is doing representing them. “Let’s just do it,” she says “moaning is one of the most boring art forms”.

Listen to the podcast:


 

 
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Good Stories and Great Dreams: Gcina Mhlophe Describes Her Hopes for Young South Africans (Video)

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-AfrikaStories of AfricaHave You Seen Zandile?
Love ChildOur Story MagicHi Zoleka!Haai Zoleka!

 
Gcina Mhlophe, actress and storyteller, was recently interviewed by Jennifer Sanasie for News 24.

Mhlophe, who had just given a talk to a group of young people, told Sanasie about how “honoured and humbled” she is to hear about how her work has affected and inspired her audience, and says she is “so excited to see and hear what young people are doing in South Africa today”.

She goes on to speak about the importance of young people being allowed to express their dreams, disappointments and good stories.

Watch the video:

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Gcina Mhlophe’s 57th Birthday Celebrated with Friends and Fans (Video)

Haai Zoleka!Hi Zoleka!Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-Afrika
Have You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story Magic

 
Gcina Mhlophe recently celebrated her 57th birthday at an event hosted by Newtown Junction.

Friends shared birthday messages, and many people who have been inspired and entertained by the beloved storyteller joined in to wish her well.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka complimented her as a “good-hearted person”, and said she didn’t know her own age. Poets Zaide Hearnecker and Natalia Molebatsi added their well-wishes, as did a host of musicians with whom Mhlope has worked.

Watch the video of personal birthday messages for Mhlophe:

YouTube Preview Image

The celebration included photo opportunities, the chance to write a birthday message, and plenty of singing by Mhlophe and others.

Watch the video:

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Image courtesy of Motivation Speakers Bookings


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Don’t Miss World Religions in Concert Featuring Gcina Mhlophe in Durban

Umcelo Nezindaba Zase-AfrikaUmcelo Neentsomi Zase-AfrikaStories of Africa
Have You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story Magic

 
Gcina Mhlophe, storyteller and author, will be part of World Religions in Concert, taking place at the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban on Monday, 9 November, at 6:30 for 7 PM.

The concert is a celebration of Durban’s vibrant and diverse interfaith community. It commemorates the centenary of the birth of Denis Hurley, who served as bishop and archbishop of Durban between 1947 to 1992.

Artslink has published more details about the event:

The concert has been thoughtfully created to commemorate Hurley’s legacy, to celebrate the opening of the DHC and to demonstrate the role of the faith communities in working together on this project. The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, which has graciously supported this project, will be conducted by Naum Rousine. They will be joined by the Clermont Community and Emmanuel Cathedral Choirs and noted performers including a Buddhist drumming group from Johannesburg; storyteller Gcina Mhlophe and her daughter Kwezi Becker; acclaimed opera singers Linda Bukhosini and Bongani Tembe; violinist and KZNPOs concert master, Joanna Frankel and opera singer Raphael Vilakazi. They will be joined by children of the six different faith groups represented in this event. (African Traditional, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim).

The concert begins as the sun sets with the traditional sunset call to prayer from the neighbouring Juma Mosque; with a response from the church bells; followed by Buddhist and Zulu drums and orchestral pieces of Jewish and Hindu music; Muslim chanting and Christian and African choral pieces will all combine to show the richness of Durban’s musical and religious heritage.

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Read “Weighed and Wanting”, a Poem by Award-winning Poet Kobus Moolman

A Book of RoomsTime Like StoneLeft Over

 
Southword recently published a poem, called “Weighed and Wanting” by Kobus Moolman, award-winning poet and creative writing academic.

Moolman’s most recent collection of poetry is A Book of Rooms. It follows six successful books and an impressive number of literary awards.

Read the poem:

Weighed and Wanting
In four standard sizes.

S.

She says: I am losing my way in my own back garden. She says: I walk out of the house, down the back stairs. And suddenly I don’t know which way to turn to get back.

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