Reconfiguring the Distorted…

Wangechi

When we last spoke I had wings where there were once shoulders; wings borne out of taking flight, soaring, and surfing the winds of itinerancy. My life has been fluid, like water, ebbing and flowing according to the calling of my heart. I obeyed and approached the fires that refined my passions. I have pricked my ears to listen, and I have prised my eyes open; I have been alert in order not to miss the divine appointments, and I have been abundantly rewarded, spirit and soul, with treasures that can never find expression here.

My ears have translated the sounds of all which call me from a place of passion, courage, hope and faith, without which all of this seems illusionary. The very palpable nature of the voices I hear root these otherwise ephemeral experiences. I have heard them. I have seen that which defies logic, that which goes beyond ones and zeros of this world; beyond rational. I have seen magic woven in my everyday existence. I have embraced what my eyes have seen without any doubt, and I have been abundantly nurtured.

My voice now strives to be heard, and I am called to the divine appointment of being an educator, a teacher, and an interlocutor. I heard and saw the calling with my third eye and ear – pricked, prised, sensitive, sensible and most sensuous. I am called to clear my throat chakra and speak in response to my passion. NOW. Poetry—the fluids that quench deserted thoughts; the echo that resounds generations past; the source of unbreakable resolve in my life—is calling me. It spoke through the heroic voice of former South African poet laureate Mazisi Kunene:

I possess a thousand thundering voices

With which I call you from the place of the sinking sun.

I call you form the shaking of branches

Where they dance with the tail of the wind.

You are the endless abundance

Singing with the lips of all generations.

You are like a trunk lush with branches in the lake

Whom the feller of woods felled in vain,

But sprouts with new buds in summer.

When it is loaded with fruit he comes again

And eats to saturation desiring to end its seasons;

But again and again the branches shoot forth with new seasons.

I am in a place of lack, of demoralisation, of defeat, and of hunger and thirst. I am in a place where those who speak to us from the place of the sinking sun are rapidly forgotten. The sun is sinking and setting upon us. We need its light. We need its warmth, its guidance, and its reassurance. I eat to saturation from the abundance left as our legacy.  With that abundance nurturing me as a teacher, educator, and interlocutor, I have accepted the calling and divine appointment to be possessed by those thousand thundering voices that I have heard, seen, and will now speak of.

My work in its entirety in is conversation with the endless abundance which sing with the lips of all generations: Keorapetse Kgositsile, Ilva McKay, Mongane Serote, Mazisi Kunene, Dennis Brutus, Barbara Masekela, Mandla Langa, James Matthew, and many others whose voices echo the politics of Solomon Mahlangu, Bantu Biko, Moses Kotane, Duma Nokwe. This is our history which has not found its rightful place in the post-94 curriculum, and which I have accepted the calling to take to the youth in ways whose nature can only be anointed. The forces of a truth whose time has come cannot be stopped.

I travelled the breadth of the United State of America unearthing and collecting—exhuming—to bring home, the work of our exiled fathers and mothers; the stench of their sweat and the haunting darkness of their blood which they spilled for us to take and respond to in our lifetimes. These voices call us and they must possess us. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to access these resources which I have now brought home, and urged to bring to you. This is a bountiful and anointed abundance, not a reckless one.

Without the clarity of our history we cannot have clarity of vision. However, we can never be defeated as a people, for like a trunk lush with branches in the lake, we will sprout with new buds in summer. No matter how big the sledgehammer it cannot orbit the sky. Our promise of abundance is surely coming. I am now putting forth this message. I want to teach poetry from exile to all youth who are willing to receive it. I call those in care of youth to share this with them; to invite me to share with them their beautiful history which will surely have them thinking differently about themselves. I call all educators and NGO directors to employ my services. For free; by divine appointment.

I am a PhD candidate in Literary Studies at the University of Cape Town, and have, in my ownership and potentially larger ownership of my people, endless books out-of-print and rare, footage of interviews I have conducted with prominent South African and American writers, multi-media resources, and 5 solid years of teaching experience from the University of Witswatersrand and UCT. I am the change I want to see in our teaching curriculums, and the time for it is NOW. Invite me for a chat on uhurumahlodi@gmail.com I await all of your response.

To heal, reconstruct, redefine, and reassert our greatness…

When I was in Oakland, California last year in October, I accepted the invitation to teach young students of the Oakland Art School. I was initially concerned by the age group as my teaching experience is with youth adults of 19 years old or older. However they were very receptive and responsive, fascinated by the histories of black South Africa and black America. This inspired me to engage with the youth from my own country, and open up channels for them to learn the extent of the struggle which our mothers and fathers found themselves broiled in.

When I was in Oakland, California last year in October, I accepted the invitation to teach young students of the Oakland Art School. I was initially concerned by the age group as my teaching experience is with young adults of 19 years old or older. However they were very receptive and responsive, fascinated by the histories and relationships of and between black South Africa and black America. This inspired me to engage with the youth from my own country, and open up channels for them to learn the extent of the struggle which our mothers and fathers found themselves embroiled in.

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NOW

Run-Faster-ComradeI am a full stop

I stop when I’m full

Pregnant for birth

Brimming at the rim

Empty as fulfilling

Pulse of life thriving

The end and beginning

Full stop stops the fool

Who feels with eyes

And listens with fingers

Dis-ordained heart

In the wrong place

Feeling but denying

The cycle, the moment

The now that is endless

Living in the fullness

Of the full stop

Perpetually changing

The exact sameness

Immersed in nature

Bounty without taste

Is pleasure without feeling

Numbed by consistence

Sleepful awekeness

Motion, motion, motion

Cyclic—lucid, eluding

Eyes unperceptive

Enlightened third eye

Witness generation

Crystal clear

Hands up

Whose crystals are for sale?

Lacking clarity while conscious

Handing your treasures to swine

To be trampled

You’re not a tramp

You’re the ink on the stamp

That officiates your worth

The broken seal of light

The forgotten window seal

In the gutted bedroom

Of your bludgeoned soul

Keorapetse Kgositsile is a living legend and literary giant.
Did you know this song is based on his poem ‘Red Song’?
I am privileged to have/be chosen to record his legacy
I am awakened daily to the impact he has made here in the U.S.
His name energises people and make them open their hearts
The journey he has walked has culminated in the NOW
Past, present, and future all cyclic and coming together
I humbly bask in his wisdom and gyrate in the gyre

The Pillars That Rise

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A friend is in despair and has identified the problems in her life to be rooted in one thing and one thing only: that she hasn’t been able to define to herself who she is and her personal philosophies and beliefs in this life. She is desperate to find out how she can find herself and how she can be filled with visceral knowledge of self that can inform her opinions which will in turn help her take firm positions on various topics. In short, she would like to find out how she can attain a deep understanding of herself in relation to herself—a deep connection between her physical body and all compositions of who she is.

Firstly I just wish to state this from the onset: one’s personal journey is personal and can only be guided by personal chi (a chi for me is a higher self and life force that is unique to every being; coded in your personal DNA); therefore what works for me will not necessarily work for you. However there are basic principles that guide the flow of our collective recovery of self, on an individual level. There are particular foods that nourish our endurance on the journey to attain a core and unchallenged knowledge of self. These foods must be cooked to be enjoyed on our personal plates/palates before we can share them with conviction as our personal appetites. They should and must always be shared with encouragement for their receiver to tailor them in ways that suit their personal appetites.

The following are foods that have been prepared and cooked according to my personal chi appetite. They are the guiding nourishing forces that feed the person I am, and I am happy to dine with you at the table of growth. I look to the East for vocabularies on the journeys of self. The Tao philosophy is the absolute principle underlying the universe, combining within itself the principles of yin and yang and signifying the way, or code of behaviour, that is in harmony with the natural order. That is how I wish to conduct my life; in harmony with the natural order. I wish to attune my third eye to everyday events, so I may not only see, but practice vision. I wish to be in harmony with the trees, animals, moon, stars, and all living organisms. I wish to feel, before I think.

Tao teaches about the Twelve Jewels, which are the teachings I uphold the most, and seek in every breath I take. The jewels are as follow: knowledge, wisdom, understanding, freedom, justice, equality, food, clothing, shelter, love, peace, and happiness. These foods that feed my personal chi nourish every decision I make and every word I articulate. They are the light that shine my path and weave magic in my life. They are all pillars of my castle, and house my precious soul. Each jewel has deep underlying meanings, and the path to knowledge of self requires that you meditate—think deeply and intensely—on every jewel. In the larger castle of your life they all bolster each other up, and break down like a chain reaction.

wangeshiThe following is from Tao philosophy. First a wo/man gets Knowledge, which is knowledge of self. S/he gets Wisdom, which is the reflection of that Knowledge. Then s/he gets Understanding, which is the power to act on Wisdom. With Understanding s/he sees that s/he has Freedom—that s/he has freed her/his dome from ignorance—which means s/he has free will. Freedom happens to be my name, the wholly signifier of who I am. But Freedom operates under a law: the law of Justice, which states that there will be a reward or penalty for your actions. Therefore you must deal with Equality because all wo/men are created equal.

Once you have attained these six pillars that house your divine soul, you’re able to strive for Food, Clothing, and Shelter, which all have physical and metaphysical properties. On a physical or conscious level, food is nourishment, shelter is home, and clothing is protection. However, on a metaphysical level food is from the tree of life—food for your mind in the form of wisdom, history, sciences, and botany. Mental clothing is how you carry yourself. Most people comment on the way I walk proudly with conviction. If you have clothed yourself in righteousness you may walk with lions. Mental shelter is protection from evil atmosphere. Choose very carefully how you share yourself with others. Once you have erected these nine pillars of your castle, you are able to find peace, love, and happiness.

These are the twelve pillars to my castle. How did I receive knowledge, the first pillar that leads to all nourishment? Through applying critical reading of the world, of my history, of my personal positioning to it. I freed myself from ignorance, because ignorance is the termite that gnaws at the fibre of who you can be. Knowledge has prised my eyes open to my divinity, to the god in me, my higher self, the light and the dark, the personal mission to seek and embrace the light; it has propelled me to cloak my voice in that light, to use that voice to speak my truth, to embrace others’ truths, to honour the divine in me, to honour the divine in others. To wisdom. To understanding. To personal wealth.

A house without books is like a tree without roots, a body without a soul, a mind without thoughts, eyes without vision, and feeling without heart. I continue to nourish my knowledge by eating from the tree of life, which feeds my enduring hunger to know, to understand, to be wise. I read, I write, I think, I share, I read again, and I seek to learn me, learn the world, learn the plants, the stars, the moon, the wo/man, and the life. That is how I call to self the cloak of righteousness. So to you, and you, my interlocutor and roomie in this world, I say to you, if we all nourish ourselves with these jewels of our soul we shall be redeemed from our personal and collective crises.

Opening and central images are paintings by talented artist Wangechi Mutu.

Knowlege

Staying True to My Heart

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Greetings from Amsterdam on this fantastic sunny day. I’m in a fabulous mood. First I must apologise for being so quiet over the last week. I have been brewing something exciting for the past three months, and last week it reached its execution period, where I had to wait until this morning to find out if the plan is green-lighted. So without wasting any time, here it goes: I’m going to be living in the United States for three months from the 1st of August!! These are most fulfilling and exciting news to me and my work. It has been a trying time for me emotionally, so a quest into the unknown is the exact literal, literary and symbolic journey I need.

I can confidently and safely tell you now that my PhD research on South African poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile has been approved by my department of literature at the University of Cape Town to take the form of a literary biography. For my own creative exploration and indulgence, I am also shooting a documentary that will accompany the final book project. He lived in New York for 15 years between 1960 and 1975, and I am going to live in New York for 2 months from the 1st August to chart his literary journey, interview his contemporaries—I’m looking for one particular Pharoah Sanders; universe please align—and talk to members of his family and friends in the 3rd month.

New York SubwayThis work is at the very centre of my heart, and anchors me day and night when all seems to be destabilised. Planning for this trip has been a most sacred journey as everything I have sought has been met with a resounding YES! everyone I have spoken to has been so open-minded as to see the value of this project, and even though I have never been to the U.S., I have seen New York, Chicago, San Francisco—places I will visit over the 3 months there—with my third eye. The kindness and generosity of my American interlocutors has left me feeling at ease about entering this new phase of my research and life journey.

I believe in more work and less talk, I believe in letting my work speak for itself, and I believe that plans for great work are like an intricate process of birth. I will only speak about the birth once the baby is strong, stealthy, and able to take their position in the world. So for now I’m content to share these plans with you. There are very exciting things and people I’m meeting with, but I would not want to talk about them before I have in fact met with them and engaged with their wonderful minds. Work first, then enjoyment of its fruits later. The power of the mind will now function to create something out of nothing, and this will find its time to be shared here.

As you might or might not know, whilst interviewing Kgositsile and his contemporaries—I’ve thus far interviewed Mongane Serote, Lefifi Tladi, Muxe Nkondo, Tsitsi Jaji, Stephane Roboolin—I have been shooting a documentary. This has been a true blessing in my life, and I’d like to thank my best friend Mafadi Mpuru who has been so generous as to donate a full professional television crew for these purposes. I will continue with the work of shooting a documentary in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, and once again this is made possible by the generous spirit of a friend who owns an Amsterdam production rental company.

So those are my news. New York here I come in 15 days. I received my visa this morning, for a whopping 10 years!! The Americans are generous for such a paranoid country. Well good for me because this will be my first time there, but certainly not my last. This is my life work, and I will continue to invest my time here in (re)writing our beautiful literary history. If I don’t thank my husband for his gentleness and generosity then I will be doing a great injustice unto self first. Reinier has been, and continues to be a rock. All his connections are making this come true, and without him I would be found wanting. My family’s support has let me know: a pride of lions without a leader can be defeated by a limping buffalo (directly translated from Sepedi proverb).

I will say, last but not least, when you do what you love a world of possibilities opens up and the essential things of your heart’s desire become attainable. If your dreams do not scare you it means you have not fully explored your true potential and thrust. Nothing of value can come out of comfort; we must leave, as we have left our parents’ house, that which makes our growth graph stagnant, and pursue that which makes our hearts race, guided by faith, courage, hope, and passion. There is no greater fulfilment than to create something from nothing, to live with a clear vision that propels you forward in your everyday life. Productivity equals growth, and vision equals purpose. Without productivity, vision, and purpose, our growth is stifled…

KK

Our very first meeting in 2012. I was not nervous. But I spoke a lot, which probably means I was nervous 🙂

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Ntate Lefifi Tladi has been most inspiring to engage with. He was part of Medu Arts Ensemble in the 1980s in Botswana, together with Keorapetse Kgositsile, Thami Mnyele, and Dumile Feni. His house is a living and breathing music, literary, and visual arts library. He is a writer, musician, visual artist (he made a Sistine chapel-like ceiling in his house), and performer.

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Prof. Muxe Nkondo lifted the veil off this whole research. He is a literary scholar par excellence, and helped me reveal the core intentions of this study. I am forever indebted to him.

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Ntate Mongane Serote is a living literary legend. He is also the CEO of both Jo’burg theatre and Freedom Park. He was Keorapetse Kgositsile’s student of Creative Writing in the U.S. in the early 1970s, and they lived together like gypsies, travelling to jazz concerts all over the country (U.S.)

KK 2

This man is full of humility and brilliance. Dynamites do indeed come in small packages…

Bury Me at The Marketplace

Sharing narratives

I am inspired by travelling narratives, by moving stories, and by forms that take root from a place of communal sharing than individual enjoyment. I am a student in the literatures, and have found that novels and other books constantly require retraction from community—in that you would have to go sit lonesome on a bench or in your room quietly to read—perhaps making this a core reason why most people, in my country (?), don’t read. In most of our cultures, the art of storytelling is communal, inclusive, and accessible.

I am inspired by narratives that boast their own dialects, that burst with local intonations, and by stories that move with the rhythms of their music. The English literature departments in postcolonial Africa are a point of contention—the term ‘English’ points not only to a language, but to a culture and geographical space. Most of my people would not take easily to a novel that opens with a scene on the banks of the Thames River… This is why my academic research thus far has solely focused on literatures that speak of our own landscapes, cultures, languages, and traditions.

I am moved by the idea of travelling narratives, of newly packaged forms and styles that are accessible to all that traverse its landscapes. Literature has mostly been an elitist art form, perhaps the most inclusive and aristocratic, mostly enjoyed in closed halls of high brow entertainment. I am excited by the notion of breaking down those barriers and setting stories free; liberating narratives to reach spaces previously unthought-of. I find worth in depleting the traditional literary form; tradition is a dying hallmark of culture. Culture is fluid and malleable in the 21st century.

I am happy to reveal that I am officially shooting a documentary on South African poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile’s lifework. I am not satisfied with investing energy and time with researching his work and sealing it in libraries of the ivory tower. His story is one that must be released from the exact traditions which he sought to be liberated from. His story must be packaged to move in unsuspected places. It must be, like his very life, a travelling narrative. It must move to the rhythms of his Setswana, his jazz, his mbaqanga, and dance freely to the baseline of Johnny Dyani the maestro (they collaborated in 1977 at FESTAC, Nigeria).

Narratives of our own people should be liberated from the high pillars of air-conditioned libraries; stories must be accessible and inclusive, as opposed to Exclusive (Books) to all whose character and cultures it speaks of; literary forms must find their ways into taxis, street corners, chisa nyamas, parties, and general meeting points. Storytelling is dependent on an audience, and on a communal appreciation from various positioned listeners. Let us fervently take up the challenge to evolve our various art forms for the benefit of those whom they are intended to speak, mostly of, but also to.

Sharing stories

20-For-Me

2013: the year never to be forgotten.

Bali

January I married the love of my life in a very colourful and unassuming ceremony at my parents’ house. The day brought me true joy.

February I lost my best friend to cerebral meningitis and suffered paralysis of heart, mind, soul—I lost my innocence and am still struggling to regain it.

In March I had my first interview with the poet laureate of South Africa, Keorapetse Kgositsile, whose wisdom I basked in and was grateful for his grace, humility, and general reverence of the work I’m trying to do with him.

In April I concluded the first chapter of my PhD thesis after suffering some hard knocks that nearly left me doubting myself.

May was great. I went to Afrika Burn, celebrated my birthday and geared up for thirty. May is also a month to switch hemispheres, so we gathered our nest and moved to Amsterdam.

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At Sonar festival in Barcelona with my wonderful friendsies…

June, July, and August were amazing months of travels, food, and love. I’m taking the impending 30th birthday coming up with much anxiety. Call it quarter life crisis. I feel that the 20s were not too demanding, and I entered them with just one wish: to travel. So in the last year of my twenties I went to Barcelona in June; Andalusia, Tangier, Casablanca, and Marrakesh in July; and had a ball in Berlin in August. I also enjoyed various European music festivals like Sonar in Barcelona, Awakenings in Amsterdam, and Shoeless festival with my favourite people. All in all, summer in Europe was great.

September was the birth month of my lover; we had some South African friends fly into Amsterdam and enjoyed an elaborate birthday dinner with them. My husband and I suffered a negative spell but were brought together by the sheer force and power of creativity, creating, and being artists.

We were also happy to hear of the arrival of Una Nyaruri Claus, two days before Reinier’s birthday.

In October we welcomed our dear niece, Robjin Veronica in the world. She has brought much joy to our hearts. This was also the month when we came back to Cape Town, with much ferocious appetite for love, creativity, and all things dandy.

November was a difficult month academically. I was supposed to conclude my chapter, but I suppose all that travelling during European summer distracted me. So going into the December period with work hanging was a lesson never to be repeated (if I can help it). I also went to Drakensberg for the first time, and it is now my top most wish place for a writing retreat.

December was a great month. I eventually found space to have a breakthrough where I had been stuck in my chapter, and I must say talking about it with various friends from all walks of life helped me conclude my argument. We welcomed Reinier’s best friend into our home and enjoyed a road trip from Port St Johns to Cape Town amidst much merriment.

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I am grateful for all the lessons learnt along the way even though some are harder to swallow. My sense of self has been tempered with, and I have found myself in a place of desolation; but still I rise. I truly feel grateful for the sensibility, capability, and strength to write on this blog so regularly, and to have been freshly pressed and hence validated in my path. Thank you to you reader for commenting with enthusiasm.

I am still on the quest to grow so there are no particular New Year resolutions. Tomorrow I’m going to buy a bicycle and a juicer; perhaps that points to new resolutions—health has always been a number one quest. I want children one day, and I want to be an active and glowing mother to them. I’m still working on being the best I can be: the best wife, daughter, friend, sister, and aunt.

In 2013 I read fascinating books that reminded me of the parallel exciting world to be visited through literature. I wish to find more and more space to read compelling books that move me to greatness. I also received so much gratification and growth from listening to jazz music. The spirit of jazz moves me to depth and breadths of my wild untamed heart. I give thanks, and do wish to own that record player and play jazz on vinyl.

I wish to travel more. This year may the universe conspire with my deep wishes to go to the Schomburg centre for black arts research in New York, where my chapter on jazz may start to grow layer upon layer. I also MUST go to West Africa; a trip long overdue. Those are my personal individual travel wishes. Reinier and myself also harbour wishes to go to Asia, especially Vietnam, where we have family, Cambodia, Singapore and Indonesia. I’m putting it out there; I’m roping it into existence with faith, hope, hard work, passion, and courage.

All the best for 2014

Peace to the universe…

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Books: Food for my Mind

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Every time I tell people I study literature they always want to know my favourite book, or want me to recommend a novel that can move them. Well, here’s a list of my ten favourite novels, in no particular order. They have all moved something inside me in a unique and memorable way, and that makes these novels closest to my heart. These would be a great Christmas gift to self or that literature-loving-bookshop-living-page-surfing special friend.

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangerembga

This masterpiece spoke to my six year old rural self. I could identify with so many aspects of the lives portrayed in this book, that this gave birth to a love I now have for telling our own stories and representing our historically marginalised narratives. Every feminist or pseudo-feminist should read this book.

The Quiet Violence of Dreams by Sello Duiker

This book is very intense and addresses the issues of masculine sexualities in the city of Cape Town. More than that it tells the story of Tshepo who is truly a symbol of post-94 schizophrenia and disillusion. Many consider this book Duiker’s suicide note. After reading this book I bought it for my friends, as it kept haunting me in dreamland.

ImageThe History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason

This book is set in 1910 Amsterdam and Cape Town (I live in both cities), and tells a tale of a young, hot, hot man who is restless and is indeed a pleasure seeker. Coming from an impoverished background, his looks work for him, and he explores the nature of money by playing in its hands. The sex scenes between older men and this young man are steamy and rampant, unsettling some of your prejudices. My good friend read this book and bought it for me. That’s always special to know.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My best friend bought me this book. I read it like I was diabetic and there was insulin in it. It reminded me of Nervous Conditions in Adichie’s treatment of patriarchy and childhood. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would read it again and again. I love the role of laughter, and how something as insignificant as laughing can dismantle whole oppressive structures.

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

I will buy this book for my children. I used to read it every year between ages 15 and 20. It speaks so succinctly about the dangers of discriminations. Children mimic what their parents do, and not what they say they should do. The character of Boo Radley is alive in all of us. If we decide to chance being different we may very well end up pariahs.

House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera

The scatological nature of this novella is what does it for me. I love the seamless comparison of a post-independent Zimbabwe and its people as semen running down a prostitute’s leg. And many more other nauseating comparisons that are truly reminiscent of Jean-Paul Satre’s novel Nausea.

The Madonna of Excelsior by Zakes Mda

ImageMda weaves a magical tale of a beautiful village in Bloemfontein, South Africa, where historically the white Afrikaaner men raped the black women, leaving, till today, a village of very light skinned, or coloured, women who speak enchanting Sesotho. Mda is so naughty in this novel as he goes through additional efforts to describe the bodies and penises of the white farmers, which never fails to reduce me to chuckles. Again, like laughter in Adichie’s novel, the bees in this novel are so mysteriously powerful.

Disgrace by J.M Coetzee

This South African novel is powerful for many reasons. It unsettles the race issue that remained concrete and unchanged even years after 1994, and asks pertinent questions around white privilege, the place of whiteness in a seemingly black South Africa, the place of lesbians, and essentially, the future of a South Africa damaged by race and difference. And it’s written exceptionally well.

The Restless Supermarket by Ivan Vladislavic

The way I see it, Vladislavic’s work represent a depletion of standing orders and convention, and a rebuilding of art and literature from a depleted and arising new place of innocence. His words are made to carry multiple meanings that respond to the world and the ever-changing political landscape of South Africa. Vladislavic is a voice of our generation. He is a true artist.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

My husband bought me this book when we were still dating. Actually, on the night we met I asked him what his favourite book was and he told me about Ian McEwan and Milan Kundera. When I heard this poetic title I immediately wanted to read it. I read this novel and was introduced to the politics of Europe and their impact on everyday life. My eyes were prised open to the connection that binds humanity; we all strive for freedom, equality, peace, and a lightness that must be attainable in our own lifetimes.

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ImageThose are my top ten books that I would take to a deserted island. It was a difficult choice because I really love a lot of books. Others worth mentioning are Toni Morrison’s Songs of Solomon, Chris Abani’s Graceland, Biyi Bandele’s The Streets, Ben Okri’s Famished Road, Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to our Hillbrow, and Yvonne Vera’s Butterfly Burning. My greatest love is still poetry…