Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Poets Printery

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

A Creative Approach to Healing, Sola Osofisan interviews Amitabh Mitra

Sola photo solaosofisan1_zps78a156ae.jpg

Noted Writer/Poet Sola Osofisan interviews Amitabh Mitra, his life in detail, his poetry, his involvement in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies at Niger and Congo and his life revolving around Gwalior and Mdantsane
Sola Osofisan is a multiple award winning writer, screenwriter and film director from Nigeria. He now lives in the United States

Read More

» read article

Six Delhi Poets

 photo SixDelhiPoets11_zpsf1a2cd41.jpg

Delhi is a city of dreams and dervishes, a city with innumerable skies and stranger horizons spreadeagled over a stretch of rapturous melody. Thoughts lose streets at traffic jams and belief remain an undeterred sun.

Such is Delhi

Such are its Poets

The Poetry of Keshav Malik, Rakshat Puri, Dan Husain, Subroto Bondo, Nibedita Sen and Suman Keshari can only be uniquely explained in its Indian hues, a solitary percussionist finds a gypsy beat suddenly on an evening tainted with color of old summers.

The watercolor cover of this collection, done by me is rebellion of love; its tryst in a destiny, Delhi remains the same.

Amitabh Mitra
14 January 2014


» read article

Chirikure Chirikure reviews Splinters of a Mirage Dawn, An Anthology of Migrant Poetry of South Africa

Chikure Chikure photo Chikure3_zpsdd895694.jpg

Review by Chirikure Chirikure

As the title indicates, this volume is a collection of migrant poetry from South Africa. According to one of the editors, Naomi Nkealah, ‘this anthology was born out of a need to document, in poetic form, the vast experiences of migrants living in South Africa.’ True to its objective, the volume features twenty poets who migrated into South Africa, from different parts of the world. Migration, as a subject, is complex. The circumstances that force people to move from one place to another differ from one person to the other. The physical as well as the emotional paths that they go through vary. As such, each poet interprets his/her experiences in an individual way. This makes it quite a mammoth task, on the part of the editors, to decide which piece to pick or leave out in an anthology of this nature. As stated above, the main objective of this anthology is to ‘document, in poetic form’. Thus, over and above everything else, the final selection had to be based on the quality of the poetry. This anthology managed to attain that complex balance between subject matter and artistic quality. There is also quite a lot of variety within that ‘confined space’ of one thematic focus. The voices are so different, so varied, in their texture, tone, depth, aroma, and flavour. One’s emotions rise up and down, as one moves from one poet to the other. Some pieces make you drop a tear, while others make you chuckle through their ability to make a sad story very much light-hearted. This anthology is a solid step in the overdue journey towards a world where we all sing from the same page, in our varied, individual voices.

Chirikure Chirikure

(Born 1962) is a Zimbabwean writer of poetry, prose, educational and children’s books. He writes in Shona and English. He is also a performance poet, performing solo and/or with musical accompaniment. He has recorded his poetry with music. All his poetry books have received several local and international awards and/or nominations. His poetry has been translated into a number of languages. He is a recipient of the DAAD Artists in Berlin fellowship for 2011/12 and the University of Iowa (USA) fellowship for 1990.

» read article

Sunday Times 20 October 2013 featuring the Migrant Poetry of Adebola Fawole from Splinters of a Mirage Dawn

 photo SundayTimes_zpsff812096.jpg

to buy the book, please click here

» read article

Splinters of a Mirage Dawn, An Anthology of Migrant Poetry from South Africa – Excerpts

Splinters of a Mirage Dawn photo bookcover1_zpsd982bbb5.jpg

Whatever I Hang – Femi Abodunrin

For Grace Nichols

From love of Calypsos
Through theorizing about the Middle-Passage
And amazing glimpses of the ruins of a great house
I watched the new Oilgerian game of death
But some call it the game of life
Disembarking at ORT to an implausible reception
By skeptical teams of post-apartheid Customs and Excise!
“Ah! This way Sir” – I heard one sister say to a brother.
“What have you brought from Oilgeria?” She would like to know
But the bulging Ghana-Must-Go had given away the game
“Eish! These Oilgerians think they’re clever”, sister mouths wordlessly
Tubers of yams sprouted from the bulging bag and brother feigned surprise
Cassava flour emerged trailed by iru, okasi and assorted bush meat!
“What are these?” Post-apartheid sister mouthed enraged
Nothing-to-deklare brother smiled and embraced the empty Ghana-Must-Go!
It’s every day for the thief, he retorted, without bitterness!

But just yesterday we were theorizing about the colonial baggage
Blown wide open on the conveyor belt – exposing decades of postcolonial angst
But now can we focus on the new post- without remorse?
And is the post- in post-colonial the post- in post-racialism?
Leaving my wazobia ways to participate in this orgy of tricolored angst
And nollywood stars trailing and cursing – not to mention
Sacrilegious ‘nothing-to-deklare’ sisters, joining the macabre dance.
In Jozi we shall all meet in an arranged marriage of inconvenience
The lobola dance terminating at ABSA – while we exchange
Knowing glances of notions of home. Ah! Whatever I hang!
‘And what are these?’ post-racialist sister would like to know
‘Fixes’, nothing-to-deklare brother retorted without contrition
‘You mean those things our girls hang on their heads’ sister corrected
‘And don’t they hang beautifully?’ he would like to know
And whatever I hang, he smiled ruefully,
Is this what I shall call home?

Femi Abodunrin
Polokwane, December 2012

Femi Abodunrin is presently Professor of English Studies and Performing Arts at the University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus. He studied at Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria and holds a PhD degree from Stirling University, Scotland, UK. He has taught at universities in Nigeria, the UK, Germany, Malawi and Swaziland. His major publications include Blackness: Culture, Ideology and Discourse (BASS, 1996, 2008).

Times and places – Adebola Fawole

My mother said, “Don’t look me in the eye! A well-brought girl never does.”
My mother said, “You must learn to cook and clean! “It is your right.”
My mother said, “You must get married and have children! They complete you.
My mother said, “The printed page is a must! You can’t succeed without it.”
My mother said, “You must greet people around you! You will always need them.”
These values I carried with me on my journey;
not burdensome but a guide to chart my course.
And they served me well in that time and place.
But alas!
Crossing borders and the threshold of womanhood to bringing forth,
they are challenged.
I am told only liars can’t look you in the eye!
Women are no longer cleaners!
Men are unnecessary essentials and having children is a choice!
Listening to the book is the way to succeed!
You are all sufficient in yourself. Greeting demeans you!
And my children; crossbreed of divergent times and place
Are caught in the interplay
I can only point to the course I charted in the middle of the two.

The taxpayer speaks – Adebola Fawole

The door opened with a push from feeble hands
Eyes like daggers drawn looked towards it,
taking in the fact that this is a stranger.
You can smell them a mile away.
Questions are fired off without waiting for answers.
“Where are you from?”
“When did you arrive here?”
“When are you going back?”
Only the last answer made sense.
“Soon”, said the head
bowed down in shame for a crime unaware of.
“It better be! Stop wasting taxpayers’ money!

Adebola Fawole was born in Nigeria and moved to South Africa in 2007. She is currently enrolled as a PhD student in the Department of Translation Studies and Linguistics of the University of Limpopo. Before this, she taught English language and arts and culture in a Pretorian high school.

Aliens – Sarah Rowland Jones

The South African National Biodiversity Institute
offers detailed and specific guidelines
on its website, for the identification
and treatment of aliens present in this country.

Some, especially those which threaten infestation,
are subject to compulsory removal.
They must be eradicated from the environment.
The law is clear, and brooks no exceptions.

Others are regulated by area or activity.
Permits must be issued to enter the country,
to breed, to move. This much is clear:
they may not inhabit riparian zones.

Many pose no threat to the native populations.
These aliens may come here freely,
and enjoy leave to remain, to spread,
to put down roots and become naturalised.

The rules are clear and implemented with care.
Everyone knows exactly where they stand.
If only the Department of Home Affairs
would take a leaf out of the same book.

Sarah Rowland Jones was a British diplomat for 15 years before being ordained as an Anglican priest in her home of Wales. She moved to South Africa in 2002, on marriage, and is Research Advisor to the Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, having also worked for his predecessor, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane.

sunnyside nightwalk – raphael d’abdon

a rusty lamp throws a weary towel over the street corner
i sit on a bench and share some words with alain,
my brother from burundi
he’s a street vendor
he’s got two public phones
sells candies
and even single rizlas
in case of emergency

he’s trying to make a living and raise his two kids
between the cops’ raids
and the xenoidiotic threats of some local afrophobiacs
(king shaka would be ashamed of these modern age fighters
and don quixote would pity them)

apart from this
alain’s doing fine
his babies are sleeping now
they’re dreaming of tomorrow’s crèche
where they’ll be playing all day
with the policemen’s kids

i salute alain as
three skinny cats jump out from a deserted building
look at me with disdainful indifference
it must be my long beard and my tattered shirt
or maybe
they’ve more urgent things to think about
like finding a way to catch that bloody bird

they’ve skipped too many meals this week
ribs don’t lie
and the night cutting wind reminisce
of how fragile they are

i kick dreams away as a
washed out pack of nik naks swirls down the sidewalk
and arrogantly lands
over my rugged takkies
littering is fascism
and i just can’t stand ignorance
and dirt

drunk screams from the flats across the road
from under a leafless tree the glittering shadow of a knife
blinking in the shrieking winter fog

“business as usual” smiles the flashy nedbank billboard
over the razor-wired fence

the umpteenth sickening sound of police sirens
rips the moistened sky in two
it stiffens the mallow along my squeaking spine
while needles
sting the midpoint
of my frozen anus

it reminds me that it’s time to go home
and i agree (even if i don’t have one).
i walk around the corner
find a seat at sipho’s tavern
pull up my overcoat
pull down my beret
and order another beer

it’s the penultimate one
for today

Dr Raphael d’Abdon is an Italian scholar, writer, editor and translator. His essays, articles, poems and short stories have been published in volumes and journals. In 2008 he moved to Pretoria, where he lives with his wife and his daughter. He is a vegetarian and his hero is Prince.

» read article

Cover of Splinters of a Mirage Dawn, An Anthology of Migrant Poetry from South Africa, Edited by Amitabh Mitra and Naomi Nkealah

Splinters of a Mirage Dawn photo bookcover1_zpsd982bbb5.jpg

1947, Memories, Oil on Canvas by Arpana Caur

When India turned 50 in 1997, I did a painting of my maternal grandfather Dr. M. S. Bajaj who migrated with his whole family, carrying the Holy Book on his head and a bundle of memories on his back.

Arpana Caur

» read article

Splinters of a Mirage Dawn, An Anthology of Migrant Poetry from South Africa

A photo 1947MemoriesOilonCanvas5X56ft1997collectionCymrozaArtGallerMumbai_zpsd87414bb.jpg

Splinters of a Mirage Dawn, An Anthology of South African Migrant Poetry is the result of a conglomeration of a variety of images that I brought with me through different countries, and finally to South Africa. Poetry and pigeons are my favourite as much as the fractured Sunsets that suddenly put them to flight in timeless journeys to distant and different skies. Poems of migration by poets who reached South Africa just also happens to be another statistical variable that remains incomplete, its importance camouflaged by many other elements of stranger disbelief.

The Migrant experience in a global fraternity is as ancient and ageless as the Earth we tread on. As much as we believe in the merging of global frontiers and the onset of a space era, living beings continue to move out in not such dynamicity, only reasonable in many such memories, as these within this book. Hurts indulge in navigational afterthoughts, its realm merges in the core of their birth after demise. Odours and homelessness are the theme of consciousness of star gazers, galaxies just keep moving within.

There is a war within and there is a war without. Fighting such wars in a life threatened by barbed wires and milestones, ‘health’ sometimes is an unheard word. The bullet only grazes the subterranean cortex, fibrous scars spring out trying to patch widened surfaces. An African Bush War creeps within surreptitiously. The Somali Spaza shop owner sells bread through apertures from his shack; yet living is a tight rope walk on an immigrant value. The war in Mogadishu continues to beckon him from where he once escaped for a better living.

Poems are sheer words; they are steep and have jagged edges. Words of Prose and Poems stem from raw winds, storms in vain trying desperately to live normally. Living is these words, their magnitude magnified by just any single poem of a migrant poet from this anthology. We live in many such upheavals; poems remain the border of infinite sanity. In a long divide growth, these poems try to infuse roots in crowded memories, waiting to bloom once again

Dawn comes as usual. Poems of migration share their continuity within many such dawns.

I am grateful to Dr. Naomi Nkealah, Poet and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Languages at the University of Limpopo for her assistance in bringing this unique anthology together. I must offer my heartfelt gratitude to internationally acclaimed artist Arpana Caur who consented to share her art relating to the horrors of the 1947 Migration of her family from Pakistan. Without the Migrant poets living in South Africa, their poems relating to their everyday mind, this book would not have seen the light of day. I thank them too..

Amitabh Mitra

» read article

Delhi, An Anthology of Poems

Old Delhi photo olddelhi2_zps16b95484.jpg

Calling for submissions by women poets below the age of 30, to share their love for the beautiful city of Delhi. Talk about your love for the city of memories. Delhi belongs to everyone who lives in it, but no one belongs to Delhi- is this how we see this city?

Poets Printery, a publishing house based at East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa is planning to bring out an anthology of poems and invites women based in Delhi to pour out their fascination for the city in the form of poetry. To reveal the undying and relentless, razed and raging, crazed and craving, old and ageless, Hindu, Islamic, Sikh and in equal measure sufi and atheist soul or the spirit of Delhi.

A city revealed, is a personality understood: it is this relationship with Delhi which we at Poets Printery seek to look into and as an editor I am looking forward to reading your work.

Please send me your poems on this email id-

Semeen Ali

» read article

For Rhino in a Shrinking World – A Publishing Adventure

 photo for-rhino-in-a-shrinking-world-lb1_zpsee3ccce5.jpg

Riding the midnight river, we reached a new dream called summer- Pritish Nandy

Publishing a poetry book on rhino extinction is like reaching home only to find that a rude summer we once loved has changed into a concrete landscape, photos of my home and peacocks on my veranda are only tales, now that I have for my children. Life, love and rivers of many such thoughts, of humans and animals roaming freely lies cluttered in my dreams. Explaining the process of publishing Harry Owen’s international anthology in simple words remains a not so simple task. In creating a movement towards extinction awareness, Harry and his fellow poets have shared shades of a fractured dawn within an increasing globalization indulging in increasing trauma, finally loosing the sense of pain to a long lasting drought.

Publishing poetry, right from realizing a colour on a blank canvas to building in strange shadow lines and finally creating a sustainable structure, remains a challenge. For me, as a trauma surgeon, I need to regroup my values far more frequently reviving them in the involvement of the making of such a poetry book. I asked myself a number of times, “Why the rhino?”, it’s possibly because I too have lost long back disclosures, on trauma driven late nights at Niger, Eastern Congo, Zimbabwe and now in Mdantsane, South Africa. .While the eye simply records interpersonal violence and the most extreme trauma, the mind blunts itself to changing horizons. The killing of a rhino is a representation of man’s own gradual extinction in sky less pandemics closer than one thinks.

This book will remain, Harry’s dreams that he shares, his confidence in my own recurring illusions from where this book evolves and in Rentia Ellis’s power in subscribing to these thoughts and indulging in building walls of a far dynamic outcome, than we ever believed.

The Rhino lives; this book with its extraordinary poetry will live too.

Amitabh Mitra

» read article

For Rhino in a Shrinking World, An International Anthology, Edited by Harry Owen, Illustrated by Sally Scott

 photo for-rhino-in-a-shrinking-world-lb1_zpsee3ccce5.jpg

In early 2012, as part of a rapidly growing criminal poaching campaign in Africa and Asia, three white rhinos were attacked and brutally mutilated for their horn at Kariega Game Reserve, near Grahamstown in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. The animals suffered appalling injuries and were left to bleed slowly to death.

Dr William Fowlds, a noted wildlife veterinarian, was called to treat them but one rhino died at the scene and there was little hope extended for the other two. As a result, however, of Dr Fowlds’s care and professional attention, one animal survived for three weeks before tragically drowning in a water hole, and the other – Thandi, whose name means ‘Love’ in isiXhosa – miraculously still lives more than a year later and is recovering from her trauma.

This international poetry anthology, For Rhino in a Shrinking World, its editor and poet Harry Owen’s attempt to raise awareness of the horror that is rhino poaching through the words of some of the world’s best and most generous-spirited poets. It is illustrated by renowned South African artist Sally Scott, whose specially commissioned work, like that of the poets, is contributed entirely free of charge.

All proceeds from the sale of this beautiful volume go, via the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (http//, to support the work of fighting poaching and protecting our gravely threatened natural heritage.

Some of the international poets whose work is represented include (amongst many others): Shabbir Banoobhai, Kerry Hammerton, Lesego Rampolokeng, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Rosemund Handler, Geoffrey Haresnape, Chris Mann, Dan Wylie, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers & Joan Metelerkamp (South Africa); Geraldine Green, Sheenagh Pugh, John Lindley, Pascale Petit, Pippa Little, Kate Noakes & Jennifer Wong (UK); Adam Tavel, J.D. Smith, Veronica Golos, David Mallett, Alfred Corn & Hélène Cardona (USA); Chloë Callistemon, Nola Firth, Lorne Johnson, Andy Kissane & Philip Neilsen (Australia); as well as superb poets from Ireland, Canada, India, Zimbabwe, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Germany, Botswana, Nigeria, France and The Netherlands.

The poets who have contributed to this book forcibly bring to mind the terrible plight of the rhino in the modern world. We applaud their efforts. – Dr Ian Player and Andrew Muir (The Wilderness Foundation)

I trust the power of the written word gathered within this wonderful collection, inspired by Harry Owen as an expression of his own journey, is enough to change our hearts and ignite us into action. – Dr William Fowlds

» read article