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mo faya

mo faya: On Recent South African Poetry Abstract


This article argues that recent political poetry written by the younger generation of South African poets begins to probe the interstices of a nation under construction. Recent South African poetry does not laud the nation it problematises the very notions of reconciliation, a better life for all, and the belief that the past must be forgotten as speedily as possible. While the liberal voice might view such concerns as, in the words of a wit, desolate and desolating banalities; banal and banalizing nonsense, poets such as Kgafela oa Magogodi, Vonani Bila and Lesego Rampolokeng re-imagine a world based on the tenets and teachings of the Freedom Charter, Steve Biko and the legacy of Frantz Fanon, who remain powerful intellectual progenitors. More importantly, the poets look at the diseased body as trope, and substitute the country as a body. The article concludes by asking questions regarding the audiences and the possible future directions of these poets. Dr. S. Raditlhalo Department of English Language and Literature University of Cape Town Private Bag Rondebosch 7701 sam@humanities.uct.ac.za

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life in neo-liberal South Africa remains, for the poor, a permanent state of emergency
It is self-evident that life in twenty-first century South Africa has become despite the inherited problems of poverty and crime, much more liveable, more enjoyable for its peoples as the spectre of institutional apartheid and its (re)surfacing in any shape or form continues to recede with each passing day. The economy is by all accounts performing as per indicators predict, there is massive residential and office block constructions in some of the major cities, prudent fiscal control continues to bolster the confidence of the markets and praise continues to pour in from the World Bank, Transparency International and other institutions, debt relief comes as just reward for Africas beleaguered leaders. Indeed, South Africa is steadily seen as the coming out country with President Mbeki receiving plaudits from no less a person than Paul Wolfowitz, in the week that he released his deputy. 1 It ma 2 y be that the continent in the eyes of the West finally turning a corner on good governance, fiscal discipline and development. The preceding are developmental issues on the road to nationhood, which proves to be a much more protracted project reflected for now even in our literature. In one article, book reviewer and columnist Shaun de Waal writes about how South African novelists eschewed the issue of race and went on to suggest that this could be a great thing. Literary reviewers routinely display a remarkable impatience with what they perceive as outmoded issues, now more impressed with the individualised voice. They decry the centrality of certain reals. 3 It is the kind of impatience one wonders if they can have the temerity to display were they faced with a collection of poems from, say, Holocaust survivors which, unlike the eleventh South African anniversary of liberation, observed sixty years of the end of the horror in 2005. One remarkable side-effect of post-apartheid South Africa is how it allows the privileged in this society to run in the daylight unencumbered by the burden of the past, a most commendable achievement given that inequality is now acceptable and legitimate, and in which such inequality is ahistorical. It is an inequality, the thinking goes, which has no genesis prior to April of 1994, a sort of wilful self-delusion or hallucination by those who wish to prioritise such an issue. When white writers eschew the race issue for the

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individualised voice, it is when such an eschewing is used to mask inequality that one has to ask at what price does a half picture demonstrate the whole, when would such a misrepresentation reflect an elision of such inequality. A random re-reading of current literature as defined by De Waal prompts the reader to reflect on the unreality of the depicted South Africa. While generalisations are terrible in such a seismic environment, a certainty one might venture is that no South African of Caucasian origins can intimately, emotively identify with the squatter community of Toloki and Noria in Ways of Dying (1995) in a way that says they had lived such a life, been party to it or know of its day-today patterns, except at a cerebral level. The point being that it is relatively easy to observe certain concerns as less germane, far less important than others without having been intimate with them, and this is the lot reflected by recent South African poetry that cannot be adequately described as banalizing nonsense. For some contemporary South African writers to decide to neglect reflecting on what is called nonsense certainly removes these concerns from their work. Are these worrying trends, should they actually be even observed? Does the eradication of apartheid provide the South African society with ammunition and or tools to ghettorise itself into residential/intellectual/economic/educational enclaves? What was the liberation struggle about if not to undo the very ghettoes imposed by that very word, apartheid 4 ? What I have been trying to sketch above is precisely the fact that despite the randomness of the literary material critics use, we might discern far more in these trends than we may realise. Commenting on just such an exercise, Njabulo Ndebele writes that: I refer to these events almost randomly in order to convey the very real sense of finding our way through randomness. It prompts a set of responses that incrementally define us. It is impossible to approach randomness from a singular perspective. We look for trends and shifts and react, sometimes in control, sometimes drifting until we find a foothold that enables us to regain control. It seems to suggest that the way to look for the way is not to focus on specific issues but for emerging tendencies which provide an explanatory context which while not exhaustive, opens up more room for new, innovative solutions. I locate this search in the realm of consciousness... From the above it may be observed that only through the funnel of a particular consciousness, a peculiar sensibility can the randomness of South African literature make sense, the choice of subject matter, genre and thematic concerns.

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Reading recent collections of poetry from a chosen array of poets, I am struck by the consciousness they display, reflecting what they see as a miasmic world, a world of dispossession, resistance, and unremitting repression. These thematic concerns are remarkable for their tenacity, but also in how they reflect the two-nations-in-one mentality, the neo-liberal politics of post-apartheid South Africa. 5 This is a world that a critic or reviewer might dismiss with a cavalier wave of their hand, a remarkable feat. But for these poets, to paraphrase Tsitsi Dangarembga, the condition of the native is a nervous one, full of involuntary nervous tics exacerbated by an (un)changing reality. It is this tendency as reflected by Ndebele that in which I am interested. Thus, to invoke Kelwyn Sole, the new in South African [in] literature has systematically sidelined is the quotidian in the lives of the majority. 6 Rather than the political that Sarah Johnson decries, the quotidian resonates with the mundane, the boiled down juice of life after Zora Hurston. The age of disenchantment has clearly dawned on South Africa, showing the juiciness of life in its myriad forms. No where is this more apparent than in the nascent protests by residents in municipalities around the country, protests that show impatience and anger at the slow pace of serviced delivery in particular. 7 The African National Congress, despite its best efforts, has been unable to quell the spirit of civil disobedience against its governance of the country, and the number of proliferating civic movements is enough to warrant the return from a government verging on paranoia - of the dreaded phrase, third force. Unable to account for the disenchantment that the poor feel, the ANC government resorts to the same tactics of the previous regime to the effect that some ephemeral entity must be at work on the restive natives. But officials do forget that being as outspoken as Kgafela oa Magogodi can be is as a result of the very real civic struggles of the past, as the following lines demonstrate:

outspoken mouth wide open i stick my tongue out refuse to seal my lips tongue-lash you . outspoken count on the open mic to amplify

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my truly irie lyrics . outspoken i raise my voice to break the bone of silence silence is not a place to hide the tide of violence outspoken i walk the frank talk i mount uprisings with my writings i ride chariots of riots i strike matchsticks and rub stones to make more fire An initial commentary about the poem shows a number of contemporary issues: the need to be outspoken, to speak out loudly without restraint (the open mic), the recited, street poetry genre (irie lyrics), the nascent revolt and attempts to muzzle it (silence is not a place to hide the tide of violence), and, importantly, the immersion in these newer struggles (i mount uprisings/with my writings/i ride chariots of riots/..more fire). When the issue of how such a poem may arise is raised, it will be seen that it reflect the very disenchantment that writers in all genres grapple with. Evictions from houses, water and power cuts, rent increases have in themselves spawned a nascent groundswell of resentment. Indeed, any attempts made to silence such outspokenness seem, reflecting on the poem to be destined for failure. Another of Magogodis assertive poems takes on societys national sport in the carrot, endemic corruption:

the carrot dance is a national sport see how they run like judas iscariot to grab the all mighty carrot liars raise the flag of the carrot even in the toilet to excrete more rot

Interestingly, the poem indicts the judiciary when it observes that: you are a true patriot even if you are caught stealing the carrot

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you buy court change the law to suit your rot The main issue leading to the disenchantment with society in South Africa today is this perceived national sport, and it is difficult to see how such perception can be dispelled without major changes in how the governing party addresses itself to the problem. The feeling of betrayal (judas iscariot) is made ever abhorrent by the knowledge that once it begins, corruption becomes endemic and an inheritance (Now children are taught/that life is about who eats more carrot). This is the beginning of what Irving Leonard Markovitz labels the organisational bourgeoisie, in making sure that it proliferates through lineage, patronage and nepotism: Who are the members of this tiny privileged class? I use the term organisational bourgeoisie to refer to the combined ruling group consisting of the top political leaders and bureaucrats, the traditional rulers and their descendants, and the leading members of the liberal professions and the rising business bourgeoisie. The organisational bourgeoisie is not simply a collection of individuals. Its members derive power from organization. They are located at pivotal points of control in those overarching systems of political and economic power in the nation-state and capitalism. The organisational bourgeoisie is also more than a managerial bourgeoisie or elite because they not only manage, they exploit: they are willing to innovate in their own interest, they increasingly do create wealth-producing enterprises, and they are as hungry as any previous ascending class. (1977: 208-210) In such a society, the judiciary is ineffective (you buy court/change the law to suit your rot). Given the vociferous manner in which the Jacob Zuma scandal broke, the anger at him being released from his duties, it seems the prescience of the poet justifies the Ngugi-ite notion that writers must be the conscience and surgeons of their communities. 8

For Magogodi, it would seem that if as an individual you do not get in on the feeding frenzy propounded by the organizational/national bourgeoisie, then you are not being patriotic, for to get in on the act of the second cuming extends the national sport:

you are waiting for whose cum make your own cum

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cos jesus is taking his holy time coming in slow motion tumbling from heaven if he comes at all While the harsh lyrics (whose cum/own cum) has made critics especially angry 9 in this and other Magogodi poems, it is one of the ironies of literary output that vulgarity has been an important aspect of African literature. We cannot even begin to make sense of Ayi Kwei Armahs The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (1968), and certainly, the issues raised by Achille Mbembe when he reflects on vulgarity in The Aesthetics of Vulgarity (On the Postcolony, 2001) if we foreclose discussion on such aesthetics. According to Mbembe, the plebiscite in a postcolonial society extends M.M. Bakhtins use of the grotesque and the obscene to speak out to power. And the grotesque and obscene brings the body as a site of ridicule, a text on which and from which issues the vulgarities that contain mirth, derision and ridicule. As he opines, there is a concerted effort here at interpreting the commandements display of power. He writes that: The emphasis on orifices and protuberances must especially be understood in relation to two factors. The first derives from the commandement in the postcolony having a marked taste for lecherous living. Festivities and celebrations are the two key vehicles for indulging in this taste, but the idiom of its organization and its symbolism focus, above all, on the mouth, the belly, and the phallus. It is not enough, however, in this context of postcolonial gouvernementalit (to use Foucaults terms), to bring into play the mouth, the belly, or the phallus, or to refer to them, to be automatically obscene. Mouth, belly, phallus, used in popular speech and jokes, must be located in the real world, in real time, as play, as fun, as mockery. They are active statements about the human condition, and contribute integrally to the making of political culture in the postcolony. Every reference to these three parts is consequently a discourse on the world and on death, a means of auto-interpretation, and of negotiating that interpretation and the forces that shape it. (2001: 108-109 emphasis added) It is when we are able to pierce the language of the postcolony and understand its being of such vulgar tendencies that we are able to understand the supposed obsession with dirty aesthetics (which, in this instance, have very little to do with gangsta rap but throws light on it!). What political culture do we find in South Africa today? To return to Du Waal, if some writers do decide to write about such matters, to they necessarily look for those tendencies that African Literature has ploughed before rejoining the Continent? What forces are discernible in the lives of the plebiscite, and how does the

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plebiscite choose to interpret these forces? And what how does such an interpretation reflect on the disenchantment with the new South Africa?

In her astute study of Peake, Lesley Marx (as though commenting on Magogodis poetry) notes that the artist is called upon to do a double take on reality:

It can be seen that the continuum of possible responses from enchantment to disenchantment is an image of the artists dilemma the act of focusing solely on the beautiful and ignoring that which gives pain can lead to disillusionment; on the other hand, the act of confronting pain can lead to mute horror. And yet, the artist, by definition, is the one who must sustain the tension, aware of the pleasure and pain at the same time, of order and chaos, of beauty and the grotesque, of the mask and the skull it hides. (1983, 11) Thus, disillusion and disenchantment do lead to language used in a specific and probing manner. Consider the following lines from the poem, i mike what i like: i mike what i like i am not a lick-ass poet i give no blowjobs to politicians My tongue cant be bought to dance in the rot of the kings court i dont even rap call me unwrapper i unwrap the napkins of this baby nation to show the slime of the times im nobodys official poet or puppet i mike what I like i dis what I dislike i carry the spirit of graffiti i obey no law of religious gravity the spoken word is my shepherd i shall not want shit

The poem readily acts as a bridge between Magogodis self-perception as seen in outspoken, the (un)wrapping of the nation, and the more politicised present. This selfproclaimed duty of (un)wrapping of course comes from the duty this poet accords to those who would use the spoken word in the contemporary. Consider the following lines from the poem, mo faya:

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ga ke boke ke kgwa ditlhatse ke tlhatsa sa tladimothwana sa tladimothwana e ratha a rathakaka lefatse ke legala ke kgwa molelo 10 And: ke roga makgoa nna ga ke itire ke tenwa ke bokgoba ke tenwa ke bogatlapa ke tenwa ke go rekiswa go rekiswa ke ditlatla ke tenwa ke tlala ya bana naga e hupile dijo bana ba lela ba lela selelo ba lelela molelo ka lebitso la biko ba bua bare mo faya

Here Magogodi moves into the realm of engaging the burning political issues of the day by proclaiming that he is spits like lightning (tladimothwana), a burning coal that spits fire (ke legala ke kgwa molelo). It is an interesting poem (pro)claiming and reiterating struggle discourse in lines such as: I speak of che guevara (ke umaka che Guevara), I shimmy like mashinini (ke shelela sa mashinini), showing in effect that political poetry need not be confined to the realms of praise singing of politicians deeds. 11 He re-defines the thematic concerns of the theme of betrayal to insist, in the language of Biko that he is angry precisely because while the land groans under the weight of food, the children go hungry: I am angry at being sold/sold by idiots/I am angry at the hunger of children/the land is groaning with food/the children are crying. (ke tenwa ke go rekiswa/go rekiswa ke ditlatla/ke tenwa ke tlala ya bana/naga e hupile dijo/bana ba lela) With the introduction of sold as a refrain, this performance poem, in

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its South African context, re-iterates the theme of betrayal of the changed political order, rendering it subversive in a manner that is usually confined to English literary studies. And yet it does not more than re-ignite an old concern of orature: to speak truth to power. Unlike the high-flowing praises in Zolani Mkiva or Bulelani Zantsis

performances then, here Magogodi reverts to those linguistic chisels Phaswane Mpe writes about (2001: ). It is these possibilities that might one day invoke the kinds of emotive linkages and mind-to-mind contact.

It is useful to remember an observation by Nadine Gordimer regarding the subversive nature of poetry. Observing the mutilating silences of the early 1960s insofar as Black writing was concerned, she reflects in a publication that:

Out of this paralytic silence, suspended between fear of expression and the need to give expression to an ever greater pressure of grim experience, has come the black writers subconscious search for a form less vulnerable than those that led the previous generation into bannings and exile. (1973: 52) Gordimer goes on to speculate on the use of other genres of oral storytelling might come to fruition - as in Czarist Russia - to compress and subvert, taking full advantage of the private and double meanings contained in colloquial idiom. Both oral tradition and the politically-charged idiom exist in South Africa today (1973: 52). While bannings and exile are no longer there post-1994, the extent to which performance and praise poetry is being both to valourise the organizational/national bourgeoisie and the leadership of the revolution also necessitates, first, a self-definition that attests to courage, and second, a subversion of the national discourse on reconciliation in the very languages and in the forms that speak to the masses. Magogodi has found in performance poetry the private and double meanings in performance and praise poetry that Gordimer observed so long ago. While Magogodi extends his chisels in Setswana, the important subtext in the contemporary poetry by the younger South African generation of writers is layered with

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the lives of the ordinary, too. These central concerns are apparent in the poem by Vonani Bila, whose poems arrive at a feeling that the state, whatever its fulminations, does not imply that it is a caring state. The searing irony in The Graduate is unmistakeable: Fresh an fat from the bush varsity 6 months writin letters away i mean cvs frasie creeps in i sit back in the corrugated iron house zol, spinza, jazz an sex affirmative action so strange no msebenzi in the cattle-market-like world the corporate world dictates gotta no experience As Lewis attests, with this poem Bila speaks more incisively about betrayed dreams than any pointed attack about political betrayal. 12 A pointed poem is the one in which he asks poignant questions pertaining to recent historical processes in Comrades, Dont we Delude Ourselves?: We dont talk racism We put it under the carpet For we dont want to offend anybody, We think the ghost of apartheid is long dead . Azania bleeds and groans and moans The wounds of liberation betrayal are gushing and gaping, TRC is but a travelling theatre, The apartheid lunatics, mavericks, demagogues; I tell you, swim in the millions and billions and trillions and zillions The signposts of a disenchanted present are apparent in this poem: race as an aspect of the de Waal assessment which is now swept under the carpet despite the horrific deaths of farmworkers, for instance; the unfinished business of retribution and muted reconciliation, the feeling that beneficiaries of apartheid are now far better off. 13 As Sole opines, in a society bedevilled by corruption and continuing inequality, the poets seem to see their role [as bearing] witness. 14 And it is this sense of bearing witness that accounts from Lesego Rampolokengs poem, The Cry of Disillusion, an impassioned reflection on what the future possibilities might have been, extending Bilas questions with retrospective self-assessment:

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boil-fortresses burst wall to wall notions crumble a miscarriage where a larval flow of possibility degenerates into dead-end putrescence in retrospect hopes of order in warped revolutionary zeal another shift in perspective The notion that the civil and political struggles of the past were pregnant with possibilities of a radically re-worked society is a constant theme in the works of this newer generation of South African poets. Indeed, Rampolokeng goes so far as to cauterise the senses of the falsity of the new South Africa by reminding the reader that the interests of the organizational bourgeoisie are, in the words of Magogodi, the only game in town. In Welcome to the New Consciousness, we realise the veracity of the saying that what was unacceptable in the past is todays ordering myth (what stank/in the past is the presents perfume) in which a frenetic, anarchic present shows a frenzy of accumulation: Some fertilise the soil Some are food for lies & lice Somes only toil is to BE pigsties Some sit in the power tower Some shit in the flower shower Some cower from hates gleam in the street While some meet the NEW DREAM with a scream WELCOME to the new consciousness Of derearranged senses We utilise everyone By drawing on the activities of the social, economic and political climbers, Rampolokeng writes from the margins to demonstrate his disapproval. His poetry, according to James Ogude, belongs to

a corpus of African Literature which not only begins by probing and asserting its functionality within the context of decolonisation, but also becomes an instrument that wills new realities into being, that imagines alternative configurations of our real histories to either affirm or transcend them (Gikandi, 1991:2). In this act of imagination Rampolokeng asserts the relevance

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of apartheid past in any meaningful ordering of the present nation state and the building of a universally humane society. (1998: 252) It is also in the building of such a humane society that themes that have to do with the erroneous apprehension and problematic understanding and address of the HIV-AIDS epidemic that recent poetry makes a (strong?) case for re-imaginings of alternative configurations. The reality of the pandemic has allowed for the usually unflappable general public to take note of the results, and Ingid de Kok makes such a poignant point with her poem about her child called upon to be The Head of the Household is a girl of thirteen and her children are many. .. The homeless, motherless unclean and dead and a girl of thirteen, children in her arms, house balanced on her head. This haunting poem forces the reader to acknowledge the results of the pandemic by foregrounding the vulnerability of those left behind who are in instance societys responsibility. While the disease may not know any race, like Rampolokengs poetry we realise, in de Koks pithy poem, the consequences of apartheid past to determine the present. The pandemic began in the 1980s, was ignored by the then apartheid government and allowed to flourish under Nelson Mandelas government as more pressing issues received attention now it threatens to get out of control. Worse, has been the denialist stance adopted at the onset of his presidency by Thabo Mbeki. This leads Phaswane Mpe to lambaste the President, the current minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and the late Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs in the first Mbeki government, Peter Mokaba in elegy to the trio:

i saw things as I lay in the blanket of night i heard the wind howling jackals too & the hooting of owls

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the sounds of night awakened the night of my heart echoes of thabo manto mokaba hiv does not cause AIDS no test tomorrow i say again It is in this era that we find denialism reaching a critical mass, in which to speak of AIDS is to be seen to give credence to scientific orthodoxy; it is more preferable when nobody ever [says] AIDS as though not to mention and thus address the disease will make it disappear, and Mpe captures this dilemma ever so beautifully. Despite all the preceding, it is important however to realise that while discontent is directed at certain reals service non-delivery, unemployment, health issues exacerbated by the AIDS mishandling, crime etc the South African society has made a very stable transition to the post-apartheid period. The newly envisaged society with a more humane face is still beyond the grasp of the citizenry, but an important, very important observation to make is that the uncertainties of the future are being negotiated in an atmosphere of relative peace. It is this peace as celebrated in river robert that provides us with a feeling of being able to transcend the limits of the immediate horrors of South Africa, and I quote the poet, Seitlhamo Motsapi, at length: we are at peace here even while our lungs are full of secret wars & primordial fears bruise our sins we are at peace here robert with hopes upon our heads & songs sprouting out of our sins we bless the lacerations we are at peace here across the rock & scrub a sole rainbow pillar protrudes from the earth, full of promise & solace i have one eye full of dreams and hintentions the other is full of broken mirrors & cracked churchbells i have one eye full of rivers & welcomes

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the other full of flickers & fades i have a memory full of paths & anointings a mouth full of ripe infant suns seven legs for the dancing river & the clement abyss & a hope that corrodes the convulsions we bless the long rough road we bless the inscrutable darkness where our names are rent into spirit we bless the splinters & the air full of asphyxiations & amnesia we bless our lacerations & our deformities we bless the belligerent strangers who stay in our throats long after forgotten festivities as we learn the painful lessons of love as we learn to respect the nights sovereignty & the slow stern wisdom of the desert we bless the mysteries & the silence Motsapi plays with so much of fractured pasts, of the ambiguities felt by the inheritors of the past in all its ramifications, and the startling imagery reinforces the serenity of those who buy into the future while mindful of the amnesiac amongst them. The long rough road has been traversed, so that even though we might still have primordial fears we acknowledge the singularity of this wonderful rainbow pillar holding up the sky from crushing down. We are lacerated and deformed constituency which must learn to bless the mysteries of the peace that we enjoy. As Sole opines, some of the post-liberation poetry does celebrate the resilience of the everyday and the local, as borne out of the unbending persistence of those trapped and oppressed by decades of segregation and apartheid rule (2002: 45). The challenge, as these poets grapple with the real world as opposed to the ideal world, is to narrow the gap using the new found freedoms. Having supped with Fanon and Biko, these poets believe in a more humane, more just society. More importantly, such poetry gestures towards that redemptive option of new radical cultural politics which Fredrick Jameson (1984:85-89) suggests is the result of the disintegration of traditional modernist boundaries a postmodern aesthetic which foregrounds the cognitive and pedagogical dimensions of political art and culture. [Such] poetry is also special in the sense that it combines the best elements of high art and those of popular art, thereby undermining the artificial dichotomy often created between these art forms.

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(Ogude, 1998: 262)

Works Cited:
Bila, Vonani. Poetry of the 90s: Reading from the Languages of Poetry Conference Wits University August 1997. Robert Berold (comp.) Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand Press, 1997. De Kok, Ingrid. The Head of the Household. Nobody ever said AIDS: Stories and Poems from Southern Africa. Nobantu Rasebotsa, Meg Samuelson & Kylie Thomas (eds.) Cape Town: Kwela Books, 2004: 169. De Waal, Shaun. Writing White. Available online: (http://www.chico.mweb.co.za/art/2005/2005jun/050603-white.html Gordimer, Nadine. The Black Interpreters Johnson, Sarah. Review of It All Begins: Poems from Post-Liberation South Africa. New Contrast, 2003: 68-73. Lewis, Desiree. Review of: It all Begins: Poems from Postliberation South Africa. Available online: (http://www.chimurenga.co.za/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=16) Markovitz, Irving Leonard. Power and Class in Africa. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1977 Mbembe, Achille. On the Postcolony. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, 2001. Motsapi, Seitlhamo. earthstepper: the ocean is very shallow. Mpe, Phaswane. elegy for the trio. Nobody ever said AIDS: Stories and Poems from Southern Africa. Nobantu Rasebotsa, Meg Samuelson & Kylie Thomas (eds.) Cape Town: Kwela Books, 2004: 151. Ndebele, Njabulo. Iphindlela? Finding our way into the future. Oa Magogodi, Kgafela Outspoken. Cape Town: Laugh It Off Media, 2004. Ogude, James. Writing Resistance on the Margins of Power: Rampolokengs Poetry and the Restoration of Community in South Africa. Alternation 5(2) 1998: 251-262. Sole, Kelwyn. The Witness of Poetry: Economic Calculation, Civil Society and the Limits of Everyday Experience in a Liberated South Africa. New Formations (45) 20012002: 25-53. Rampolokeng, Lesego. The Bavino Sermons. Durban: Gecko Poetry, 1999. ---------------------------. Talking Rain. Fordsburg: COSAW, 1993.

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Wolfowitz singles out Mbeki for praise, (Business Report International, Cape Times June 20 2005), 21. 2 Shaun de Waal, Writing White (http://www.chico.mweb.co.za/art/2005/2005jun/050603-white.html 3 Sarah Johnson, Review It all begins: Poems from postliberation South Africa, New Contrast, 2003), 68-73. 4 This reminds me of the Jacques Derrida- Anne McClintock and Rob Nixon debate on the word apartheid. See the exchange in Race, Writing and Difference. Henry Louis Gates, Jr (ed.), 1985: 329-369. 5 There is an ever growing and interpellative body of work that steadily makes a strong case for such observations. See n. 6 & 7. 6 Kelwyn Sole, The Witness of Poetry: Economic Calculation, Civil Society and the Limits of Everyday Experience in a Liberated South Africa. New Formations (45) 2001-2002: 25-53. 7 An incisive reading on the civic movements and a case study of one is offered by Ashwin Desai and Richard Pithouses paper, But We Were Thousands: Dispossession, Resistance, Repossession and Repression in Mandela Park (http://www.ukzn.ac.za/ccs/default.asp?3.45). Most of their critical assessments should be compared and contrasted with Chapter 13 in William Mervin Gumedes book, Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC (Zebra, 2005). 8 The fallout of the dismissal has, at the time of writing, been absolutely unprecedented when its fuller implications sink in. A nuanced reading of the saga, insofar as business is concerned is provided by a former specialist prosecutor in the Cape High Court, Steven Powell in the article Corruption: Beware of false friends bearing gifts, Cape Timess Business Report June 23 2005. 9 Sarah Johnson sees Lesego Rampolokeng, for instance, as displaying a schoolboys preoccupation with genitalia (69). Reviewing the same text and commenting on the same poem, Desiree Lewis finds Rampolokeng overwhelming (http://www.chimurenga.co.za/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=16)
1012

Desiree Lewis, Review: It all begins. (http://www.chimurenga.co.za/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=16) 1113 While this might seem like a trite matter, it is important to realise that insofar as the reconciliation project it concerned, it remains a thorny part of the past. See Don Foster, Many pieces of the puzzle still missing, Cape Times June 20 2005: 11. Of those who were supposed to have committed gross human rights violations, only 1 646 applicants deigned to approach the TRC as opposed to nearly 40 000 violations reported by the victims. Political Affiliation ANC and allied Groups SA State and security force PAC Inkatha Right-wing groups AZAPO TOTAL
1214

Applicants 998 293 138 109 107 1 1 646

Percentage 60.6% 17.8% 8.4% 6.6% 6.5% 0.1% 100%

Sole, The Witness of Poetry, 39.