Cape Times

Honest, raw poetry in ‘A womb of Time’

- Masego Panyane

JOBURG-based writer and poet Zama Madinana has released another anthology called A Womb of Time.

Madinana is not new to the publishing circuit, having released a body of work in 2013 called Rescue.

It opens with a dedication that reads: “For Afrikan children who recite hope with their eyes”, and this sets the tone for the journey the poetry takes you on.

Madinana explores topics such as the passage of time, the concept of freedom, the problems facing Africa and her people and religion. The usual suspect that is love, also makes an appearance in the collection.

A poem that stood out is one called Dear Black God that looks at the strife that black people in Africa go through. One of the lines read: “O modimo, it is a dialogue of weapons in Tripoli and xenophobic attacks Egoli”.

The poem also deals with the issue of drug abuse among the youth. It is a plea to “Black God” to save his people, from the ills they are exposed to.

It evokes a sombre mood, possibly because of the imagery that he uses to describe these ills. One such image is that of skeletal babies to illustrate the pandemic that is famine in some parts of the continent, or the legacy of the blood diamonds in Sierra Leone that has led to civil wars and instabilit­y in the region.

It reads and sounds like a heartfelt plea for Africans to be saved.

An Ode to Sobukwe, another poem, is a letter to the slain leader of the PAC that shares the status quo with the leader as though he were still here.

It shares with him the moral crisis the country’s leadership is faced with and the impact this corruption plaguing the country has on people.

Men and Kuku (which is colloquial Sotho for a vagina) is not so great.

It outlines the struggles of women after they’ve had sexual relations with a man, but are subsequent­ly left high and dry. Men and Kuku is not very poetic, it feels crass and the only special thing about it is the usage of the word kuku.

Madinana’s collection consists of 22 poems. Overall the work is honest, raw and different. There are bits of it however, like Men and Kuku that aren’t so great.

Note: Sobukwe died of complicati­ons relating to TB. But I use the word slain because the conditions of his banning order made it difficult for him to get the medication he needed.

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