Hon­est, raw po­etry in ‘A womb of Time’

Cape Times - - LIFESTYLE - 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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