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!
- Date: Tuesday, 5 July 2016
- Time: 2:30 PM
- Venue: Rhodes University
School of Languages: African Language Studies Amphitheatre
Grahamstown | Map
- Facilitator: Pamela Maseko
- Refreshments will be served
- RSVP: Sanele Ntshingana, email@example.com, 076 956 1237 and Thulani Nxasana, firstname.lastname@example.org, 081 384 3510
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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