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Archive for the ‘Zimbabwe’ Category

George Pemba – Not just a South African Township Artist

george-pemba.jpgoverload-oil-on-canvas-george-pemba.jpgI have worked in African Township Hospitals since nearly sixteen years. My first encounter with African Township life was at the Mzilikazi Township in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in the nineties. I was then a Registrar in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo. The township used to burst with gaiety especially on weekends. Jazz, dancing and beer use to overflow at every street. People forgot their everyday problems and came together in a stream of enjoyment. I remember dancing to the strains of Amandamara.

I shifted to Umtata in the former Transkei and later to Mdantsane in the former Ciskei. I still work in Mdantsane and have been enjoying the thrills of a vibrant township life. I have encountered township art on various occasions. There is a school next to the Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, where I work, its walls are painted with such beautiful murals ranging from the school headmaster wearing his felt hat to girls in various festivity dress. I have always wondered who the artist may be.

Apartheid era brought a restriction to inflow of knowledge on world art to such remote townships. But that didn’t restrict the art which kept on flowing from their brushes. The art is unique as it didn’t have any influences.

One of these is an artist called George Pemba whose works were recognised only at the age of seventy-nine. I came across a painting done by George Pemba at the Ann Bryant Art Gallery, East London, South Africa. It is titled ‘Overload’ and is Oil on Canvas work. It is a typical depiction of a township scene with people in various emotional states overloaded in a bus. I was struck with the deft brush strokes that brought out such realty that one needs to see the picture again and again and from different angles. It brought in me such happiness being familiar with such daily scenes in townships, where I work.

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Introducing Stanley Onjezani Kenani

Stanley KenaniI have the greatest pleasure in introducing Stanley Onjezani Kenani. Stanley is a well known poet from Malawi. I have published his works in the print poetry journal, ‘A Hudson View’. His poem ‘Lilongwe at midnight’ is being published in the coming issue of Hudson.


Born in 1976, Stanley lives in Malawi and has read his poems at the Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe, Struga Poetry Evenings in Macedonia and Poetry Africa in Durban, South Africa.

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Remembering Zimbabwe of Old

Bulawayo broad streetsIt’s Friday again and the afternoon is resounding with the distant marimba beat inoculating that certain joyousness which heralds the coming of a weekend.

My one-year old son, now so tuned to the marimba, crawls out towards the sounds, his face lit up with the same spirit which is common to the people here. He has an Ndebele name lovingly given to him by the nursing staff. He is Tabani.

That was Bulawayo fifteen years ago.

My friends also called it Little London.

My trek in the health sector of African countries had reached Bulawayo — the heart of Matebeleland. A small boy helped me off the train, carried my luggage and even telephoned the medical superintendent about my arrival. Rose, the superintendent’s beautiful secretary welcomed me with open hands. Never had I been welcomed so lavishly and as warmly as I was in Zimbabwe.

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