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Hedley Twidle interviews Rustum Kozain for Wasafiri 86 - Unsettled Poetics: Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry

Hedley Twidle interviews Rustum Kozain for Wasafiri 86 – Unsettled Poetics: Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry
This Carting LifeGroundwork


The publishers of Wasafiri magazine have kindly shared an excerpt from issue 86: a conversation between Hedley Twidle and Rustum Kozain.

This special issue of WasafiriUnsettled Poetics: Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry – features poetry by Kozain, Harry Garuba, Ingrid de Kok, Antjie Krog, Mxolisi Nyezwa and Karen Press – among others – articles by Kelwyn Sole and Finuala Dowling, as well as reviews, interviews and art. Guest editor Ben Etherington calls it “a significant undertaking, with 24 contributors, new works from 13 poets, essays and interviews”.

Wasafiri 86 - Unsettled Poetics: Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry“It is the first issue of Wasafiri focused on either Australian or South African poetry,” he adds.
If you are interested in purchasing Wasafiri’s Special Issue Unsettled Poetics: Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry (no. 86 Summer 2016) please email
Below is an excerpt from Twidle’s contribution: “An Interview with Rustum Kozain”, in which the two discuss the decline of literary criticism, the perils of nostalgia, and the exhaustion of imagination in the current South African moment, as well as the influences and aesthetics of Kozain’s poetry.

We would recommend you order the magazine so that you can enjoy the interview in its entirety.

Twidle is a senior lecturer in the English Department at the University of Cape Town, who writes regularly for the New Statesman, Financial Times and Mail & Guardian.

Kozain is the author of two award-winning books of poetry, The Carting Life and Groundwork, and the only person to win the Olive Schreiner Prize twice in the same genre.

* * * * *

An Interview with Rustum Kozain

By Hedley Twidle

Rustum Kozain was born in 1966 in Paarl, South Africa. He studied for several years at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and spent ten months (1994-1995) in the United States of America on a Fulbright Scholarship. He returned to South Africa and lectured in the Department of English at UCT from 1998 to 2004, teaching in the fields of literature, film and popular culture. Kozain has published his poetry in local and international journals; his debut volume, This Carting Life, was published in 2005 by Kwela/Snailpress.

Kozain’s numerous awards include: being joint winner of the 1989 Nelson Mandela Poetry Prize administered by the University of Cape Town; the 1997 Philip Stein Poetry Award for a poem published in 1996 in New Contrast; the 2003 Thomas Pringle Award from the English Academy of Southern Africa for individual poems published in journals in South Africa; the 2006 Ingrid Jonker Prize for This Carting Life (awarded for debut work); and the 2007 Olive Schreiner Prize for This Carting Life (awarded by the English Academy of Southern Africa for debut work).

The following conversation took place on 31 July 2015 at Rustum Kozain’s flat in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town. Prior to my arrival, Rustum had prepared a chicken balti with cabbage according to a recipe from Birmingham, and also a dry cauliflower and potato curry. During our discussion (lasting one and a half hours, condensed and lightly edited here) he occasionally got up to check on the dishes – which we ate afterwards with freshly prepared sambals.

Hedley Twidle  Rustum, you wrote an article for Wasafiri twenty-one years ago (issue 19, Summer 1994) in which you discuss the reception of Mzwakhe Mbuli’s poetry. There you were sceptical of South African critics who were lauding his work and its techniques of oral performance as if these things had never happened before. You suggested that if one looks at Linton Kwesi Johnson (LKJ), there is an equally established and perhaps more skilful tradition of this in another part of the world. My response after reading the article – because you take issue with several critics of poetry – my response was: ‘Well, at least people were discussing South African poetry.’ I can’t think of a similarly invested debate around the craft of poetry going on now. Or am I not seeing it?

Rustum Kozain  That’s an interesting question, especially as so many people now seem to consider poetry as this casual activity, which is dispiriting. There isn’t a discussion of, to use the basic terms, whether a poem is a good poem or whether it is a terrible poem. My sense is that we talk about poetry, and literature more generally, simply in terms of its content or its thematic concerns. Some of the controversy around the Franschhoek Literary Festival – or one of the points raised by younger black writers – was that they (the writers) are treated as anthropological informants. They link it specifically to a history of apartheid and racism in South Africa where the black author is there to answer questions about what life is like for a black person, to a mainly white audience. But I think it goes beyond race. In general, literary criticism has kind of regressed into simply summarising a content that is readily available. Part of the reason I think poetry disappeared off syllabuses in South Africa towards the late 1980s and early 1990s is that fewer and fewer teachers at university were prepared for or knew how to engage with teaching poetry beyond analysing its contents.

I had been listening to Linton Kwesi Johnson since I was a teenager, so when Mzwakhe Mbuli exploded onto the scene in South Africa and people were hailing him as someone who had revolutionised English poetics, I thought: ‘These people must be talking crap; have they not heard Linton Kwesi Johnson who was doing it ten years before and in a much better way?’ So my argument was partly about how people are evaluating literature and it was clear that Mzwakhe Mbuli was hailed also because his politics were seemingly progressive and he was on the side of the anti-apartheid struggle. That wasn’t enough for me to want to listen or read his poetry again and again – one wanted to talk about the aesthetics of his poetry.

HT  I suppose we’re getting closer now to the thematic of the issue which is about poetic craft at a time of cultural contestation. You’ve mentioned Linton Kwesi Johnson and you’re often referring to musicians in your poetry; obviously you are drawing a great deal from an auditory response or imagination, but your poetry is not like LKJ’s at all. In fact, I read it as quite a written form of poetry; I think Kelwyn Sole had a nice phrase for it. He said it has a ‘deliberative sonority’ – which I like because even that phrase sort of slows you down and I find that your poetry slows a reader down. I wonder if you could speak a bit about the fact that you’re in some senses devoted to the sonic, auditory, to sound, to jazz. I think Charles Mingus was playing when I arrived – you’ve written poems about him – and yet there’s quite a disciplined – I want to say almost modernist – restraint to a lot of your poetry.

RK  I think a large part, if not the largest part, of my influences would be modernist and what comes after modernism. I studied at university in the 1980s when modernism was still a significant part of the English literary syllabus at the University of Cape Town, so that is a part of me. But even before I enrolled for English, an older friend introduced me to ‘Prufrock’ [by TS Eliot]. And I thought this poem was remarkable because it was something completely different from what we were used to at school, which were typically a few Shakespeare sonnets, some Victorian poetry, I don’t think any of the Romantics.

The idea of sonority – I have to agree with you. I do have a thing for the sound of words. So the sound of a word often plays a large part in its choice in a line or a poem. Why don’t I sound like Linton Kwesi Johnson? That’s one of my greatest frustrations in life [laughs] – that I can’t write like Linton Kwesi Johnson in any believable way. Part of that is because I don’t have a Caribbean background. A large part of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s charm has got to do with the language he is using, which is tied so closely to drum rhythms in the Caribbean. He has a gift but he also has that legacy or that inheritance that he can work with. I’ve tried writing parodic poems in [my reggae-sourced] Jamaican Creole, but it’s rubbish. I’ve tried writing hip hop as well, but there is a particular skill in composing for oral performance that I don’t have.

HT  I was raising the question of slowness, but certainly not as a lack. Because, in a sense, what I find when reading poetry nowadays is the need to remind myself to slow down. I think we’re all programmed to read so fast now – online and on screens – to read instrumentally and for content. So I sense the kind of syntactical mechanisms you put in place to ensure a certain productive slowness.

RK  There are two things that definitely lie behind the slowness in much of my poetry. The one thing is that I feel myself to be a frustrated filmmaker, so my poems are often visual and it’s often as if a camera were panning across a scene. The other thing that lies behind this kind of slowness was something Kelwyn Sole said – or someone said in a blurb on one of his books – it has to do with his poetry looking at the quiet or the silent moments and trying to unpick what goes on in those moments; to think about what happens on the edges of normal events.

HT  At the end of your essay ‘Dagga’ you talk about the question of nostalgia, around which there have been a lot of debates recently, especially following from Jacob Dlamini’s Native Nostalgia in which he reminisces about growing up in Katlehong outside Johannesburg. He begins the work with quite a complex rhetorical position, he asks: ‘What does it mean to remember elements of a childhood under apartheid with fondness?’ It’s a question that was often taken up by reviewers (some of whom refused to read the book at all) as evidence that his book should be filed in the ‘apartheid wasn’t that bad’ genre, that he was pining for bad old days. I don’t think you’ve ever been accused of that in any way; but I wonder if you can talk a bit about the perils of nostalgia in our cultural moment, in which certain forms of subjectivity and expression are being policed in some ways?

RK  It is an interesting and, for me, a very central question. At times I get despondent about what I’m doing because I think that it could just be dismissed as exercises in nostalgia. I think we tend towards nostalgia as we grow older. Whether nostalgia in general is a pathology or whether it’s something positive, I don’t know. For me the moment we are living in in South Africa is a nightmare moment. So part of my looking back is also to try and deal with this weird and perverse relationship we have between the present – which is a nightmare – and the past – which was a nightmare, but during which we had this hope or this dream of an escape from a nightmare. The thing we looked forward to, that added something to our lives. But that added value is nowhere to be found in the present moment. When I write in ‘Dagga’ about growing up in Paarl, yes it is partly the nostalgia of a man turning fifty and it’s a nostalgia for a place partly because of biographical migrations away from that place and away from the social relations of that place as well. So those are two properly nostalgic impulses. Part of this – and I’ve come across this idea in many writers, most prominently in Mandelstam – is the desire to freeze time. For me that’s what I try almost every time I write a poem, to freeze time in the non-fiction, in the prose – to freeze time at that time when there was still hope, in a way, that’s part of it.

HT  So why is the present a nightmare?

RK  Do you have to ask? I never studied politics or sociology or political economy so I’m very reticent to talk politics as such. That’s probably why I write poetry, because in poetry you can get away with associative meanings. You don’t have to be completely rational, analytic, precise, so you can make political statements under the cover of the associative meanings that poetry allows you. I’m happy to expose myself in my poetry because, I think, there I can say things – maybe it’s a lack of courage, but there I can say things that people can’t challenge me with, with the whole locomotive and carriages of expert knowledge. So I’m reticent to talk about politics straight up, but South Africa is not the place that we imagined in the seventies and eighties that we were going to create. On the one hand conservatives and reactionaries can laugh at us and say ‘Well, what did you expect? What did you expect from a liberation movement that was communist inspired?’ and all that nonsense. But at the same time we had a dream and we lost a dream. What do we do now?

HT  A poem that really struck me when reading across your work was ‘February Moon’, Cape Town, 1993. I was quite taken aback when I saw the date because at the time it must have seemed pessimistic. But now this kind of discourse and this kind of dissatisfaction is gaining ground; in a sense it has become our daily bread. So my question then is about rhetorical exhaustion. Because how can you, on the one hand, ‘make it new’ in the Poundian sense; but, on the other hand, how do you (any ‘you’ that is politically aware) keep saying the same thing for years and years and years? There’s a line from Arundhati Roy that I often think of at the end of her essay ‘The End of Imagination’ – which is about India and its nuclear programme. She says

Let’s pick our parts, put on these discarded costumes and speak our second-hand lines in this sad second-hand play. But let’s not forget that the stakes we’re playing for are huge. Our fatigue and our shame could mean the end of us. (Roy 122)

How does one deal with or ward off a kind of exhaustion about having to say the same things which, in a sense, is what politically astute people have had to do for over two decades now?

RK  If you find yourself repeating yourself, what do you do? For me there is an exhaustion, but not of the imagination. Much of my poetry is not written from the imagination – I don’t imagine scenarios and portray characters in a particular scenario or events. My poetry is directly about a certain reality, my reality or something I see out there, but I understand what Roy means by an exhaustion of imagination and I think our state, our government, our civil servants, the service industry, the way people interact with each other, the advertising industry, representations of South Africa in the media, by our own media, how we see ourselves and how we understand our relationship with each other – there’s no imagination, there’s no vision, there’s no forethought. So my surroundings, my context, my circumstances exhaust me. Especially if they cohere around certain ideas of the nation and what has happened politically in South Africa – that I would have touched on in previous poetry. So you just sit there and you go: ‘Why does no one read my poetry?’ [laughs] It is not just me. This has been one of Kelwyn’s hobby horses; that when you read South African poetry, there has been a constant and continuous fatigue since the early nineties about the new South Africa running through our poetry. But since no one reads poetry, no one’s hearing the poets and no one’s listening to the poets.

At the moment I’m in a kind of trough where it concerns my own writing because a lot of my poetry now has a wider focus; it’s not only about South Africa, it’s about other things as well. And they’re difficult subjects, it’s difficult to treat these subjects with the kind of gravitas that they require and to resolve that treatment in the poetry. And it is not only South Africa; the rest of the world seems to have lost that foresight, vision, imagination in the way global politics and economics are run. My exhaustion is globally inspired, though it may only have a local impact [laughs].

For the full interview, purchase Wasafiri’s Special Issue Unsettled Poetics: Contemporary Australian and South African Poetry (no. 86 Summer 2016) by emailing

Book details

'We are each the narrators of our own truth' - Read Craig Higginson's 2015/16 University of Johannesburg Prize acceptance speech

Craig Higginson, Eliza Kentridge and Nkosinathi Sithole win the 2015/16 University of Johannesburg Prizes
The Dream HouseSigns for an ExhibitionHunger Eats a Man

Craig Higginson, Eliza Kentridge and Nkosinathi Sithole were recently awarded their University of Johannesburg Prizes at a ceremony at the university’s Bunting Road Campus in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

The R75 000 UJ Prize is awarded to the writer of the best South African work in English published in the previous calendar year, while the R30 000 Debut Prize is awarded to the best debut South African English work in the same time period.

Higginson won the Main Prize for his third novel, The Dream House, while Kentridge and Sithole shared the Debut Prize for her poetry collection Signs for an Exhibition and his novel Hunger Eats a Man.


Higginson has kindly shared his eloquent acceptance speech with Books LIVE:

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I was recently struck by this quote from Tennessee Williams:

We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.

Talk of love often feels sentimental and ineffectual – especially in the context of a burning house. What we should probably save first from a burning house is our spouse, our children, our pets (with the possible exception of the hamsters), and (in the days we wrote letters and printed photographs) our letters and our photographs. In other words, our computers.

But where does love reside if not in our family and our repositories of memory? These are some of the things that make us human. When we live in a perpetually burning building, what we need to save from it, time and time again, is our humanity.

Our humanity is not a constant. It is something we earn. When someone drives a truck into a crowd of children and their parents who are looking at fireworks by the sea – that is a moment when someone of the human race has set aside what we might call their humanity – and decided on a different path, where everything that every generation since the beginning of time has worked towards – wherever they might have lived in the world – is set aside and we become not as bad as animals but worse than animals – for no animal behaves as we do when we are at our worst.

And the problem is that we are never at our best – or never for long. We humans are incapable of sustaining anything. Perhaps we are best defined by our laziness, our complacency. Perpetually, we have to refresh ourselves. Love has to be looked for and regained – if neglected or taken for granted, it soon fades away again. We have to work in order to retain our humanity. Iris Murdoch said we are the only animals that create a picture of what we want to be and then try to become it.

What picture do we want to move towards? Because in choosing a picture for ourselves, we are also choosing a picture for the world – we are giving life to a vision that does not yet exist, and will probably never exist – but in that work towards some form of redemption or home, we discover ourselves – what we are capable of – what a miracle a single life can become.

And that is what Tennessee Williams means by love, I think.

This is also why I continue to write. Not because I have an abundance of love to offer the world. Often, it feels like the opposite. I feel dejected, disillusioned, disappointed with myself, my country, the direction of our humanity.

I have to work hard to regain that path towards hope, and one way I do it is through the fictions I write – the imagined lands that do not yet exist, and will never exist, but that might – at their best – help us to see ourselves and our potential more clearly and urgently.

At the moment our world feels particularly frightening – whether it is in this campus or in the campus next door, where thousands of young people are feeling impotent, incoherent, full of rage – at their worst – and full of hope, courage and righteousness – at their best. Because both are true – both impulses are competing at present. If we look a bit further into the heart of our country, there are further reasons to fear, to recoil from what we have become. And of course we are also in the middle of a third world war – a war that nurtures the idea of terror, a war that seems to dance only to the sound of hate.

For me good writing has always been an activity that goes in the opposite direction of hate. And that is why literature is difficult to achieve. Our worst impulses want to drag us well away from it. We like to hate, we like to fear – because then (being the lazy, complacent creatures we are), we can respond with unambiguous action. The world suddenly appears simpler, more manageable. We can draw lines in this direction and that – and, as Susan Sontag said somewhere, drawing lines can be an act of violence.

But in the end writers are no different from anyone else. We are each the narrators of our own truth – or our own failure. Right now each of us – and each of our stories about ourselves and each other – is being tested. What kinds of storytellers would we like to become? What stories would we like to leave in our wake?

Literature remains to show us how language – and the pictures it creates – can be used as an instrument for restoring hope, for finding grace in the least likely of places.

We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must rescue from it, time and again, is love. And yes – that definitely includes the hamsters.

I am honoured to be receiving this award. I’d like to congratulate Nkosinathi and Eliza – and feel proud to be standing with them today.

I would like to thank my wife Leila for tracking me down in each of my burning buildings – whether they be real or imaginary.

And thanks also to my PhD supervisor Michael Titlestad, my editor Alison Lowry, my publishers Terry Morris and Andrea Nattrass – and to everyone at Pan Macmillan for continuing to carve out places for hope.

Finally, I would also like to extend my gratitude to the University of Johannesburg and the judges of this award.

University is where I first came up with the unlikely idea of myself as a writer and started to write. At the age of 19, I decided I would be an artist for the rest of my life.

Universities are dream houses – places for dreaming. Let’s hope we can imagine a country where each of us has the opportunity to arrive at themselves, as I did, and know the place for the first time.

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Related news:

Book details

Mongane Wally Serote, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Penny Siopis and Albie Sachs honoured at 2016 ACT Awards

RumoursScatter the Ashes and GoRevelationsQuite Footsteps
Stukke teaterPanoramaPenny SiopisThe Soft Vengeance of a Freedom FighterMakebaMy Son's StoryMissing

Alert! The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) recently announced the winners of the 2016 Awards.

The Lifetime Achievement awards went to Dr Mongane Wally Serote for Literature, Pieter-Dirk Uys for Theatre, Johnny Clegg for Music, Penny Siopis for Visual Art, Albie Sachs for Arts Advocacy and Johaar Mosaval for Dance.

ACT CEO Pieter Jacobs said: “Our list of South African icons would not be complete without entering the names of these remarkable individuals alongside the likes of Miriam Makeba, Nadine Gordimer and Dr John Kani, to mention a few.”

“Their exemplary careers have enriched the arts and culture industry significantly, leaving a legacy that inspires young artists, such as the ImpACT Award recipients, to strive to reach a high level of excellence in their chosen fields,” Jacobs continued.

ACT also celebrates the winners of the ImpACT Awards for young professionals; young artists or businesses that have reached a notable level in their career.

Read the Press release for more information on these prestigious awards and their notable recipients:

* * * * *

ACT announces 2016 Award winners

A Sophiatown theme and exceptional entertainment set the tone at Sun International’s The Maslow Hotel last night, when ACT named their Award winners.

At the core of the Awards, is the announcement of Lifetime Achievement recipients who have each had a lifelong commitment to the arts, and this year, six deserving luminaries were recognised.

The recipients are nominated by the ACT Board of Trustees and selected by current and previous ACT Trustees. Categories include: Theatre, Music, Visual Art, Literature, Arts Advocacy and Dance.

This year, ACT honoured Pieter-Dirk Uys for Theatre, Johnny Clegg for Music, Penny Siopis for Visual Art, Dr Mongane Wally Serote for Literature, Albie Sachs for Arts Advocacy and Johaar Mosaval for Dance.

“Our list of South African icons would not be complete without entering the names of these remarkable individuals alongside the likes of Miriam Makeba, Nadine Gordimer and Dr John Kani, to mention a few,” ACT CEO, Pieter Jacobs, said. “Their exemplary careers have enriched the arts and culture industry significantly, leaving a legacy that inspires young artists, such as the ImpACT Award recipients, to strive to reach a high level of excellence in their chosen fields.”

The ImpACT Awards for young professionals are given annually to honour young artists or businesses that have reached a notable level in their career. Giving the masses a voice through the public nomination process, ACT proudly boasts a first-rate selection of these individuals in the categories of Theatre, Visual Art, Music, Dance and Design.

Visual artist, Chepape Makgato; singer, Thandi Ntuli; actor Mkhululi Z Mabija; designer, Jody Paulsen; and dancer, Sunnyboy Motau were named the 2016 ImpACT Award winners. Each boasting a burgeoning creative career, this year’s winners collectively represent determination, dedication and ineffable talent.

The 2016 Awards saw ACT partner with the Distell Foundation, The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and Sun International to see this group of young professionals being lauded for the remarkable impression they have made in the first five years of their careers. Each winner will receive R10 000 and additional PR opportunities that will be generated through the ACT Awards. ImpACT Award recipients will also get on-going backing from ACT in the form promotional support in their professional careers.

The 19th annual ACT Awards was hosted by Sun International in association with the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), and supported by Business and Arts South Africa (BASA). The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) sponsors the Lifetime Award for Music, the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO) for Theatre, Media24 Books for Literature, the Nedbank Arts Affinity for Visual Art, JTI for Dance and Creative Feel for Arts Advocacy, which will see recipients each receiving R45 000.

For more information about the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) please visit and use the hashtag #ACTAwards across all social media channels.

2016 ImpACT Awards Finalists

Chepape Makgato

Khehla Chepape Makgato was born in Johannesburg and raised in Makotopong village, outside Polokwane in Limpopo. Makgato has the diploma equivalence for Fine Arts majoring in Printmaking from Artist Proof Studio and a Diploma in Media Practice majoring in Journalism through Boston Media House. Makgato was one of two South African delegates and one of three SADC regional youth delegates to the 2012 Africa Utopia Youth Arts, Cultural and Olympia Festivals of the World at the Southbank Centre in London, UK. He has participated in numerous art exhibitions and fairs both locally and internationally. Makgato collaborated with William Kentridge on a project in January 2015 and continues to work on some small projects for Kentridge. He has had solo shows in 2013 (MARIKANA; Truth, Probability & Paradox), 2014 (VOICES FROM THE KOPPIE ñ Towards Speculative Realism), 2015 (MARIKANA; The Rituals) and 2016 (Manuscripts Found From The Koppie) to be exhibited in Cape Town. In 2014 he won a studio art bursary from the African Arts Trust to be a resident artist at Assemblage Studios. He is also an inaugural recipient of 2016 Art Across Oceans Residency at Kohl Children’s Museum in Chicago, USA in partnership with Play Africa. Makgato now works full-time as an artist at Assemblage Studios and freelance arts writer for ArtAfrica, The Journalist, Ampers and various online publications.

Thandi Ntuli

Ntuli was born in 1987 in one of South Africa’s largest townships, Soshanguve (Pretoria). She comes from a lineage of rich musical heritage, being the niece of guitarist, pianist and lead vocalist of 70′s pop fusion band Harari (The Beaters), Selby Ntuli. At the age of four, she started taking classical piano lessons under the tutelage of Ada Levkowitz. However, her keen interest for jazz was only kindled later in life, leading her to enrol and complete a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at The University of Cape Town. Since the release of her debut jazz album, The Offering, which she released independently, Ntuli is fast making an imprint in the local jazz scene with her unique voice. The Offering has received critical acclaim as well as numerous awards and recognition since its release in 2014, including a Metro FM Award nomination for Best Urban Jazz in 2015.

Mkhululi Z Mabija

Mabija graduated from Tshwane University of Technology with a BA in Musical Theatre Performance (2006) and from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing (2010). At the age of 24, he became the youngest adjunct professor at New York University teaching a subject called South African Culture through History, Art and Media. Mkhululi has written many operas and musicals with various composers. Mkhululi has adapted Athol Fugard’s novel, Tsotsi for the musical theatre stage with composer and singer, Zwai Bala. Tsotsi will premiere in November 2017.

Jody Paulsen

Jody Paulsen was born in 1987 in Cape Town, where he continues to live and work. He specialised in Print Media at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Arts. On graduating, in 2009, Paulsen was awarded the Kathrine Harris Print Cabinet Award. In 2012, Paulsen won the Jules Kramer Departmental Scholarship Award and went on to complete his Masters Degree, also at UCT’s Michaelis School of Fine Art, with his solo exhibition What You Want, Whenever You Want It in 2013. Notable group exhibitions include: 2015′s Young, Gifted and Black, curated by Hank Willis Thomas, in Cape Town; Making Africa at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain (2015); Poppositions at Canal Warf in Brussels, Belgium (2015); MiArt 2014 in Milan, Italy and START Art Fair 2014 in London, United Kingdom. Paulsen has also collaborated with fashion designer Adriaan Kuiters, as Creative Director of Adriaan Kuiters + Jody Paulsen (AKJP) to present multiple collections at Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week (2013-2016), and notably, at New York Fashion Week in 2015. AKJP has most recently, in 2016, participated in the Generation Africa fashion show at Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy.

Sunnyboy Motau

Named among Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans, a 2015 Naledi Theatre Award nominee, and an acclaimed choreographer and dancer, the dynamic powerhouse of Sunnyboy Motau is set on a road called success. Beginning in community arts groups in Alexandra, he trained at Moving into Dance where he continues to work. His collaborative commission by the Dance Umbrella 2015 was among the top three of the National Arts Festival. His co-choreography with Jessica Nupen toured Germany 2015, opened the Dance Umbrella in 2016 and tours Italy in September. Currently, Motau is choreographing for the Playhouse Company in Durban after a successful production for The Market Theatre in February and the HIFA Pop-Up Festival in Harare in May.

Book details

Nou beskikbaar: In ’n oomblik deur Cas Vos

In 'n oomblikIn ‘n oomblik deur Cas Vos is nou beskikbaar op Naledi se rakke:

In ’n oomblik toon die hand van ’n ervare digter wie se poëtika reeds gevestig is in terme van temas en tegnieke. Die digbundel verteenwoordig ’n voortsetting van dié aspekte van Vos se digkuns waarvoor hy reeds lof verdien het. Op tegniese vlak is daar veral sy baie effektiewe gebruik van ’n onpretensieuse toon wat dikwels sonderlinge poëtiese vondste oplewer. ’n Voorbeeld hiervan is die nuutskepping (die slinkshandige). Tegniese vernuwing vind ook plaas deur die aanwending van die epiese gedig en die tersine. Die intertekstuele gesprek met Homeros en Dante as reismotief om ’n langdurige ongeluk en operasie poëties te verwoord, is nuut in die Afrikaanse digkuns. Tydens die reis kom daar fel en verskillende emosies en ervaringe na vore. Dit word alles met die leser gedeel. Die tematiese nuutheid en aktualiteit van die bundel blyk uit die digterlike uitbeelding van die menseslagting op 13 November 2015 in Parys en vlugtelinge uit Sirië se bootreise na ’n heen-kome. In die bundel kom daar diep emosies na die oppervlakte. Alles gebeur in ’n oomblik. Op die lewensreis word verskillende emosies ervaar: lig en donker, liefde en ongeluk, geboorte en die nalewe. Die tema van verganklikheid en ouer-word is sentraal in die bundel. Die lewensreis is ook ’n taalreis. Daarom word die taalgesprek, in ’n boeiende saampraat met Konstantinos Kavafis, poëties uitgedruk. Op die leefreis is daar ook verlies. Hier kom Cas Vos se vertalings van Konstantinos Kavafis en Georgos Seferis se Griekse gedigte aan die bod. Die reis eindig egter nie in wanhoop nie, maar met uit-sig.

Oor die outeur

Cas Vos was vir 21 jaar lank verbonde aan die Teologiese Fakulteit van die Universiteit van Pretora. Vanaf 2000 tot met sy aftrede in 2010 was hy die Dekaan. Hy is vir sy teologiese werk met die Andrew Murray Prys en die Pieter van Drimmelen medalje deur die Akademie vir Kuns en Wetenskap bekroon. Hy het talle artikels wat in plaaslike en internasionale tydskrifte verskyn het, gepubliseer.


Kom vier Etienne Terblanche se debuutdigbundel By die nag se wit kant in in Pretoria

Uitnodiging na die bekendstelling van By die nag se wit kant in deur Etienne Terblanche

By die nag se wit kant inProtea Boekhuis nooi jou graag na die bekendstelling van By die nag se wit kant in deur Etienne Terblanche.

Die professor in Engelse Letterkunde stel sy debuutbundel bekend op Saterdag, 22 Oktober by Protea Boekwinkel in Hatfield. Die geleentheid begin om 10:30 vir 11:00.

In By die nag se wit kant in skryf Terblanche oor ’n groot verskeidenheid onderwerpe, van Moembaai en Stokholm tot die Bosveld en Vrystaat.

Moenie die gesprek misloop nie!


Oor die boek

In hierdie debuutbundel kom ’n groot verskeidenheid onderwerpe, versvorme, emosies en toonaarde aan die bod. Die digter maak soms ook van spesifieke variante van Afrikaans gebruik: streektaal, akademiese taal en wetenskaplike taal. Die digter skryf oor die Suid-Afrikaanse werklikheid, die natuur en wildernisgebiede waar hy ontspan en na voëls en skoenlappers kyk, ook na die werklikheid van sy werksomgewing op Potchefstroom en plekke soos Indië waar hy gereis het. Hy slaag daarin om sulke bekende onderwerpe in die digkuns soos die liefde en vriendskaps- en familie-verhoudinge op ’n nuwe, speelse en soms ook diepsinnige wyse te verwoord. ’n Treffende voorbeeld is “Die digter sing vir sy beminde” waar die konkrete, bekende wêreld omtower word: die geliefdes vlieg weg van die alledaagse, deur die deur van die maan en saam weer oor die kombuis tot in ’n nuwe land. Maar vir hierdie digter klink liefdesmusiek ook in die Bosveld en die rooigras van die Vrystaat op. Daar is ook pragtige gedigte oor sy ouma en haar unieke wyse van praat, die platteland en sy mense en ook meer eksotiese plekke soos Moembaai en Stockholm. Die akademiese wêreld en die literatuur kom ook in die bundel ter sprake.

Oor die outeur

Etienne Terblanche is ’n professor in Engelse Letterkunde aan die NWU se Potchefstroomkampus. Hy het reeds akademiese publikasies agter sy naam, maar By die nag se wit kant in is sy eerste digbundel.


Bob Dylan wins the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature

TarantulaChronicles Volume One

The times they are a-changin’! Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The announcement was made today by the Swedish Academy.

Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy Sara Danius said Dylan was awarded the Nobel for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

In an interview straight after the announcement, Danius was asked by an incredulous journalist: “Does Bob Dylan really deserve the Nobel Prize? Why?”

“Why?” she responded. “Well of course he does, he just got it.”

She continued: “He is a great poet in the English-speaking tradition. He is a wonderful sampler, a very original sampler. He embodies the tradition, and for 54 years now he’s been at it, reinventing himself constantly, creating a new identity.

“If you want to start listening or reading you may start with Blonde on Blonde, the album from 1966. You’ve got many classics, and it’s an extraordinary example of his brilliant way of rhyming and putting together refrains, and his pictorial thinking.”

When asked whether the Academy had widened the horizon of the prize, Danius said she didn’t believe so.

“It may look that way but really we haven’t. If you look back, far back, 2 500 years or so, you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to, that were meant to be performed, often together with instruments. It’s the same way with Bob Dylan. But we still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it, and the same thing with Bob Dylan. He can be read and should be read, and is a great poet in the grand English poetic tradition.”

Danius was asked whether she thought there would be criticism in the wake of the announcement, and replied: “I hope not.”

Finally, she was asked whether she had listened to a lot of Dylan personally growing up.

“Not really, but he was always around so I know the music and I’ve started to appreciate him much more now than I did,” she said. “I was a David Bowie fan. Perhaps it’s a question of generation, I don’t know. Today I’m a lover of Bob Dylan.”

It appears the Academy had Dylan’s lyrics in mind when deciding the prize, but he has also written two books: Tarantula, a collection of prose and poetry published in 1971, and Chronicles: Volume One, the first part of a planned three-volume memoir, published in 2004.

Watch the announcement here:

Book details