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Literary Crossroads: Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Tania Haberland, Xabiso Vili (10 October)

Literary Crossroads is a series of talks where South African writers meet colleagues from all over the continent and from the African diaspora to discuss trends, topics and themes prevalent in their literatures today. The series is curated by Indra Wussow and Sine Buthelezi.

The guests for the October edition of #LiteraryCrossroads are:

Writer-performer Phillippa Yaa de Villiers is the author of three collections of poetry and lectures at Wits University. Her autobiographical play Original Skin toured South Africa and Germany between 2008-2012. Her work has appeared in local and international journals and has been translated into Burmese, Mandarin, German, Italian, Flemish and Dutch. She is on the judging panel of African Poetry Book Fund (University of Nebraska) and is part of the South African Poetry Project (Zapp). She performs her poetry internationally and locally.

Tania Haberland (BA, HDE, MA) is a Mauritian-German-South African hybrid poet-artist-teacher-bodyworker. Her book Hyphen won the Ingrid Jonker Prize. Tania’s work brings poetry into educational and therapeutic contexts. Artistically, she loves to co-create multidisciplinary pieces exploring ‘carnal poetics’. Her current projects include The Technology of Tenderness with movement artist Fabrizio Dalle Piane, JazzGa: creating & singing poem-songs with musicians, translating Dome Bulfaro’s poetry… Mille Gru will publish an Italian anthology of her poems in 2018. Her second book, Other, is searching for a home.

Xabiso Vili is a performer, writer, social activist, TEDx speaker and soul collaborator. His writings explore his inner world to relate to the outer world. He is the champion of multiple slams and WordNSound poet of the year 2014 and 2015. Xabiso has performed all over South Africa, in Scotland, UK, the U.S. and India. As part of his activism work, Xabiso works with Mthubi the Hub, an organisation that takes over abandoned buildings and transforms them into art hubs for the community. Xabiso also runs writing, performance and event organizing workshops through Scribe Rites, a performance writing collective he co-founded that has produced other award-winning writers and performers. He released his album, ‘Eating My Skin’, created with Favela Ninjas. His one-man show ‘Black Boi Be’ has travelled extensively to critical acclaim.

Event details

Date: Tuesday, 10 October
Time: 19:00
Venue: Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, 119 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood

Hilda Smits met Ingrid Jonker-prys vir poësie 2017 bekroon

Die bome reusagtig soos ons wasHilda Smits se debuutdigbundel, Die bome reusagtig soos ons was, is onlangs met die Ingrid Jonker-prys vir poësie bekroon.

Dié bundel is deur beoordelaars beskryf as “‘n boeiende debuut” wat die by die hoogs persoonlike betrek en wat tegelykertyd ook betekenis aan die universele belewenis gee. “Wat die digter hier vermag het, is enorm,” skryf ’n ander beoordelaar, soos berig deur Naomi Meyer vir LitNet.

Die prys word op 16 September by die Tuin van Digters in Wellington oorhandig. Simone Jonker, dogter van Ingrid Jonker, sal die prys oorhandig.

Hierdie verrassende debuutbundel is een van die eerlikste sienings in Afrikaans van die werklikheid van die emigrant of expat wat Suid-Afrika verlaat het, maar nog steeds worstel met identiteit in ’n nuwe omgewing.

Die kinderjare van die digter word byna deurlopend gekontrasteer met haar nuwe lewe in die buiteland. Die herinneringe is skrynend eerlik en brose familiebande word sonder skroom ondersoek. Klein besonderhede kry reusegestalte in die herinneringe van haar kinderjare en staan skerp afgeteken teen die besef van nietigheid wanneer die ek-spreker in ander kontekste beland. Die belewenis van die grootstad Londen het soms ’n byna onwerklike en dromerige kwaliteit, asof die digteres sukkel om tot ’n vergelyk te kom met die verplaasde self.

Afstand, afsondering en verlange word egter teengewerk deur vlugtige kontak met ander mense, objekte en herinneringe. Die stad met sy glas en beton word byna ook ’n persoonlikheid en word soms direk aangespreek, maar dit is veral die waarneming van die gewone lewe in teenstelling met die bekende toeristiese gesig van die stad wat uitstaan, soms morbied, onverskillig en smerig, maar dikwels ook warm en verwelkomend.

Deurgaans is daar sprake van die spreker se kamera-oog wat objektief probeer waarneem en registreer, maar die ondertoon van melancholie verseker dat die gedigte die leser nie ongeraak laat nie.

Hilda Smits is ’n boorling van Potchefstroom, maar het haar nagraadse studie in Sielkunde in Londen gedoen. Van haar gedigte het in Nuwe stemme 6 verskyn. Sy woon tans in Nashville, VSA.

Boekbesonderhede

Teenager’s poem illustrates power of literacy at National Book Week launch

A sobering poem by primary school learner Mbali Mabangula (12) highlighting poverty and the importance of education stole the show at the launch of National Book Week at the Despatch Community Hall today.

Even though the grade 5 teenager is a literary novice, she managed not only to trump esteemed speakers; her turn of phrase encapsulates the importance of establishing a culture of reading.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Head of Libraries, Bongiwe Chigumbu, said prior to the implementation of National Book Week (NBW), a national study showed that only 14% of South Africans read. NBW takes place from 4 – 10 September this year and the theme is #OurStories.

“Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality became part of this national promotional week in 2012. It is based on the premise that the country will ultimately benefit with improved literacy levels.

“Like Mbali, we are not only encouraging writers to put pen to paper, we also endeavour to promote their stories as well.

“Last year Eastern Cape author Unathi Magubeni launched his novel Nwelezelanga The Star Child at the Nelson Mandela Bay rendition of National Book Week. This year his book is used as part of a reading and comprehension competition between Bay High Schools,” Chigumbu said.

She said activities for the week include a train ride by librarians from Uitenhage to Port Elizabeth from 07:00 tomorrow morning and a return trip from 13:00 to encourage commuters to read and write.

A workshop highlighting mobi sites also takes place at the Zwide Library from 09:00 today (Tuesday, 5 September).

Residents can also attend an e-media workshop at the Gelvandale Library from 10:00 to learn how to get free access to newspapers, magazines and e-books by having a valid library card.

On Wednesday, 6 September a parent and child interactive reading session starts at 09:00 at the Walmer/Gqebera Library. At 10:00 library staff will be competing in a comprehension competition at the Kwadwesi Community Hall after reading Zakes Mda’s Rachel’s Blue.

On Thursday, 7 September book donations to specially selected primary schools take place at the Newton Park Library from 09:00 and the Colchester Modular Library from 11:00.

Following a brisk walk, starting at 08:30 on Friday from Allanridge Library to Uitenhage Market Square, Nal’ibali storytelling takes place at 09:45 at the Uitenhage Town Hall. The closing ceremony takes place at the Uitenhage Market Square from 10:00 with a myriad activities including a book launch, an award ceremony and a motivational talk.

My dear future

by Mbali Mabangula

Hello, hello, hello!
I greet you my dear future.
I hope you’re bright and full of opportunities
Just like I’ve imagined being alive with possibilities.
And be equipped with new responsibilities
I am three steps ahead at reaching new frontiers
Escaping the heavy poverty left by my forefathers
Who said no to school, but yes to slavery!
That caused their death at Calvary

I’ve learned my A.B.C’s
And counted my 1.2.3’s
But still there’s no shadow of hope under my tree
Only leaves falling for me to see, that with no education you’re not free
Instead you’re like a person who’s walking on knees,
Trying to flee from poverty through the grace of the almighty.

I say to you my dear future
Be my teacher and make my life more richer.

Nick Mulgrew awarded 2016 Thomas Pringle Award for his short story '1-HR FOTO'


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nick Mulgrew has been announced as the winner of the 2016 Thomas Pringle Award for his short story ’1-HR FOTO’, published in Oppikoppi’s annual zine, Ons Klyntji (2016), and his short story anthology, Stations.

The Thomas Pringle Award is an annual award for work published in newspapers, periodicals and journals. The awards are allocated to either a book, play, film or TV review; a literary article or book review; an article on English education; one or more poems; and – in Nick’s case – a short story or one-act play.

Congrats, Nick!

Book details

Getting to grips with memory in Wings of Smoke: Dave Mann reviews Jim Pascual Agustin’s new collection

There are moments in Jim Pascual Agustin’s latest collection that will test both mind and memory and, really, that’s what makes it so good.

Titled Wings of Smoke, the collection comprises 41 poems spread across four parts and features both new and previously published works by the Philippines-born, Cape Town-based writer and translator.

To take a leisurely read through Agustin’s works is no easy task. His writing is the kind that encourages you to stop and consider what you have just read, and in this way, you’ll find yourself combing through the same lines and picking out newer and more complex treasures each time. This is not to say that a cursory read of Wings of Smoke isn’t possible. Rather, it’s a flexible read – you pick it up and take what you want from it.

Structurally, Agustin’s collection is considerate. There are small poems early on, such as ‘Pause’ and ‘Midnight Bugs’ that read like exercises in the senses, full of new smells, tastes, and sounds. Pieces such as ‘Unbearable’, also early on in the collection, play around with space and movement so viscerally and succinctly that you’ll need to backtrack a good few times in order to grab hold of the piece in its entirety.

In the sections that follow, you’ll traverse the ephemeral and intangible, the humorous, the horrific, the political, and even a touch of the lyrical. Read in succession, the poems tend to dart from tone to tone, almost intentionally cutting the tension between each other, rather than expanding upon any singular, thematic thread. Pieces such as ‘Armed Response’ for example, with its somewhat reflexive and cheeky take on suburban living, come just before the painfully visceral ‘Red Letter’.

Altogether, Wings of Smoke reads like a spell of nostalgia or recollection – (Ten. Or nine. / Memory plays with me. / Stillness was a butterfly carefully settling on skin.) – the way a sound or smell may break the floodgates on a set of memories, or how a dream you don’t remember having will revisit you the following afternoon. Agustin’s writing is sharp and measured, each line plump with thought and vivid remembrance, relentless in its delivery, but light enough in its form to keep you pressing on, keenly.

***

International orders may be placed via Onslaught Press, and SA orders and queries can be coursed on Jim’s blog, Matangmanok. PS – Fixional recently conducted an interview with Jim; read it here.

Book details

Three book discussions to attend at the Hilton Arts Festival

Emperor Shaka the Great: A Zulu Epic
Mazisi Kunene

Mazisi Kunene is the much-celebrated author of epics, such as Emperor Shaka the Great (UNodumehlezi KaMenzi) and Anthem of the Decades (Inhlokomo Yeminyaka), as well as numerous poems, short stories, nursery rhymes and proverbs that amount to a collection of more than 10 000 works.

He was born in aMahlongwa in 1930, a small rural village on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Notwithstanding his cultural duties as a young man born into Zulu tradition, his calling as an imbongi was taken very seriously by his father and grandfather who encouraged him to write. Professor Kunene described this ‘calling’ to write as ‘something [that] is not me, it is the power that rides me like a horse’.

Kunene lectured widely and was Professor in African Literature at Stanford University and in African Literature and Languages at the University of California, Los Angeles. On his return to South Africa, he was Professor in African Languages at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

He went into exile in the 1960s for more than 34 years, during which time he established and managed the African National Congress office in London and later moved to Los Angeles with his family to pursue his academic career. In UNodumehlezi KaMenzi (Emperor Shaka the Great), which he wrote during this exile period, he positions Shaka as a legendary thinker, who had great skill as a strategic and military genius.

This vision acknowledges and re-imagines Shaka as a unifying cultural and political force that defined the cohesive Zulu nation. Kunene projects Shaka into the mythical ancestral universe that affirms the deep cultural lineage of the African world view.

This reprinted English edition is published with the isiZulu edition on the tenth anniversary of his death, embracing Kunene’s original dream to have his work published as intended in the original isiZulu form.

The symbolic and cultural significance of these publications begins a process of re-evaluating and recontextualising Kunene’s writing oeuvre.

Follow Page_11 from Hilton Fest Programme Low Res for more on Kunene’s session.

Isishweshwe: A History of the Indigenisation of Blueprint in South Africa
Juliette Leeb-du Toit

The cross-cultural usage of a particular cloth type – blueprint – is central to South African cultural history.

Known locally as seshoeshoe or isishweshwe, among many other localised names, South African blueprint originated in the Far East and East Asia.

Adapted and absorbed by the West, blueprint in Africa was originally associated with trade, coercion, colonisation, Westernisation, religious conversion and even slavery, but residing within its hues and patterns was a resonance that endured.

The cloth came to reflect histories of hardship, courage and survival, but it also conveyed the taste and aesthetic predilections of its users, preferences often shared across racial and cultural divides.

In its indigenisation, isishweshwe has subverted its former history and alien origins and has come to reflect the authority of its users and their culture, conveying resilience, innovation and adaptation and above all a distinctive South Africanness.

In this beautifully illustrated book Juliette Leeb-du Toit traces the origins of the cloth, its early usage and cultural adaptations, and its emerging regional, cultural and aesthetic significance.

In examining its usage and current national significance, she highlights some of the salient features associated with histories of indigenisation.

An art historian who has a particular interest in African and South African art, Juliette Leeb-du Toit has also had a lifelong interest in design and textiles. She is currently engaged in the recovery of modernisms in design history, the impact of German modernism in South Africa and the impact of China on the arts in South Africa.

Follow Page 12 from Hilton Fest Programme Low Res-3 for more information.

Untitled: Securing Land Tenure in Urban and Rural South Africa
Edited by Donna Hornby, Rosalie Kingwill, Lauren Royston, Ben Cousins

A title deed = tenure security. Or does it?

This book challenges this simple equation and its apparently self-evident assumptions. It argues that two very different property paradigms characterise South Africa.

The first is the dominant paradigm of private property, referred to as an ‘edifice’, against which all other property regimes are measured and ranked. However, the majority of South Africans gain access to land and housing through very different processes, which this book calls social or off-register tenures. These tenures are poorly understood, a gap Untitled aims to address.

The book reveals that ‘informal’ and customary property systems can be well organised, often providing substantial tenure security, but lack official recognition and support. This makes them difficult to service and vulnerable to elite capture.

Policy interventions usually aim to formalise these arrangements by issuing title deeds. The case studies in this book, which span both rural and urban contexts in South Africa, examine these interventions and the unintended consequences they often give rise to. Interventions based on an understanding of locally embedded property relations are more likely to succeed than those that attempt to transform them into registered tenures. However, emerging practices hit intractable obstacles associated with the ‘edifice’, which only a substantial transformation of the legal paradigms can overcome.

Donna Hornby is an independent critical researcher for non-governmental organisations on rural land, tenure and agricultural issues.
Rosalie Kingwill is an independent policy and academic researcher specialising in land tenure and property rights.
Lauren Royston is a development planner and researcher who works on tenure security in southern Africa with a range of organisations.
Ben Cousins holds a DST/NRF chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape.

Follow Page 13 from Hilton Fest Programme Low Res-2 for the details on their conversation.

Emperor Shaka the Great

Book details

 
 

Isishweshwe

 
 

Untitled

  • Untitled: Securing Land Tenure in Urban and Rural South Africa edited by Donna Hornby, Rosalie Kingwill, Lauren Royston, Ben Cousins
    EAN: 9781869143503
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!