Louis Esterhuizen. Bekende Ghanese digter gedood tydens tereuraanval op winkelsentrum in Nairobi

 

Volgens AFP is die bekende Ghanese digter en diplomaat, Kofi Awonoor (foto), een van die mense wat verlede week omgekom het tydens die tereuraanslag deur Islamitiese militantes op ‘n winkelsentrum in Nairobi, Kenia. Awonoor (78) se seun is ook tydens dié aanval gedood. Awonoor was in Nairobi om aan die Storymoja Hay Literary Festival deel te neem.

Kwame Dawes, neef van Awonoor en eweneens ‘n gerekende digter, het volgens AFP die volgende te sê gehad: “I think the son went to pick up something at the mall. Professor Awoonor was in the parking garage waiting for him. The son was shot while he was inside the mall. We don’t know at what point the professor was shot.”  

“He straddled many, many, many worlds,” het Esi Sutherland-Addy, ‘n hoogleraar verbonde aan die Universiteit van Ghana in reaksie op die nuus gesê. “He’s an elderly gentleman. You would have thought that such a person would pass away peacefully. That’s what you wish for. This is just absolutely the last thing that one would have thought.”

Awonoor was die Ghanese verteenwoordiger by die VN gedurende Jerry Rawlings se presidentskap (1990 tot 1994). Meer onlangs was hy voorsitter van die Ghanese presidentsraad, maar dit is uiteraard vir sy digkuns wat hy vereer en onthou sal word: “He was most noted for his poetry inspired by the oral tradition of the Ewe people, to which he belonged. Much of his best work was published in Ghana’s immediate post-independence period, part of which he spent in exile after the first president and post-colonial icon Kwame Nkrumah, to whom Awoonor was close, was overthrown in a coup.” Aldus AFP se beriggewer.

By wyse van huldeblyk volg een van die digter se meer bekende gedigte hieronder.

*

Song of Sorrow

 

Dzogbese Lisa has treated me thus

It has led me among the sharps of the forest

Returning is not possible

And going forward is a great difficulty

The affairs of this world are like the chameleon faeces

Into which I have stepped

When I clean it cannot go.

I am on the world’s extreme corner,

I am not sitting in the row with the eminent

But those who are lucky

Sit in the middle and forget

I am on the world’s extreme corner

I can only go beyond and forget.

My people, I have been somewhere

If I turn here, the rain beats me

If I turn there the sun burns me

The firewood of this world

Is for only those who can take heart

That is why not all can gather it.

The world is not good for anybody

But you are so happy with your fate;

Alas! the travelers are back

All covered with debt.

Something has happened to me

The things so great that I cannot weep;

I have no sons to fire the gun when I die

And no daughter to wail when I close my mouth

I have wandered on the wilderness

The great wilderness men call life

The rain has beaten me,

And the sharp stumps cut as keen as knives

I shall go beyond and rest.

I have no kin and no brother,

Death has made war upon our house;

And Kpeti’s great household is no more,

Only the broken fence stands;

And those who dared not look in his face

Have come out as men.

How well their pride is with them.

Let those gone before take note

They have treated their offspring badly.

What is the wailing for?

Somebody is dead. Agosu himself

Alas! a snake has bitten me

My right arm is broken,

And the tree on which I lean is fallen.

Agosi if you go tell them,

Tell Nyidevu, Kpeti, and Kove

That they have done us evil;

Tell them their house is falling

And the trees in the fence

Have been eaten by termites;

That the martels curse them.

Ask them why they idle there

While we suffer, and eat sand.

And the crow and the vulture

Hover always above our broken fences

And strangers walk over our portion.

 

© Kofi Awonoor (1935 – 2013)

 

 

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9 Kommentare op “Louis Esterhuizen. Bekende Ghanese digter gedood tydens tereuraanval op winkelsentrum in Nairobi”

  1. René Bohnen :

    Dankie, Louis. Hier is ook een van Awonoor se laaste gedigte, met inligting oor ‘n bundel wat binnekort verskyn.
    http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/09/22/read-one-of-kofi-awoonors-final-poems/

  2. Johann Lodewyk Marais :

    Prof. Kofi Awonoor was ‘n kremetartboom in die landskap van Afrika se poësie. Ek haal graag my hoed af wanneer ek by ‘n groot boom kom.

  3. Maria :

    Hier is die middelste gedeelte van Awonoor se gedig “Across a New Dawn” – ek voel net dit moet aangehaal word – dit is pragtig, vol hoop ten spyte van alles wat gebeur het. Soos Derrida dit weereens duidelik maak in een van sy laat werke A Taste for the Secret (Derrida en Ferraris 2001), geweld is onvermybaar (ons moet goed eet (bien manger, Derrida 1992:282)), maar daar is geweld en geweld, en hy verkies om die een soort brutaliteit te noem, want “not only [is it] an unrefined violence, it is a bad violence, impoverishing, repetitive, mechanical”, dit is ‘n geweld “that does not open the future, does not leave room for the other”. Hier is die gedeelte uit Kofi Awonoor se gedig wat op bien manger eindig:

    (…)

    On the seaside, the ruins recent

    from the latest storms

    remind of ancestral wealth

    pillaged purloined pawned

    by an unthinking grandfather

    who lived the life of a lord

    and drove coming generations to

    despair and ruin

    *

    But who says our time is up

    that the box maker and the digger

    are in conference

    or that the preachers have aired their robes

    and the choir and the drummers

    are in rehearsal?

    No; where the worm eats

    a grain grows.

    the consultant deities

    have measured the time

    with long winded

    arguments of eternity

    And death, when he comes

    to the door with his own

    inimitable calling card

    shall find a homestead

    resurrected with laughter and dance

    and the festival of the meat

    of the young lamb and the red porridge

    of the new corn

    (…)

  4. Johann Lodewyk Marais :

    Awoonor se werk was/is in wese ‘n groot antikolonialistiese projek. Hy het ook in onder meer die VN teen apartheid gestry.

  5. Buiteblaf Breytenbach :

    Seker darem nie “gestry” het nie, Johann… Apartheid het nooit ‘n argument gehad waarteen mens jou sou verwerdig om te stry nie. Dat Kofi Awoonor daardie droglering die stryd aangesê het is ‘n feit. Ons vergeet deesdae dat opeenvolgende generasies van Afrika se intellektuele en denkers en kunstenaars gelouter is in die stryd teen die onmenslike en mensonterende ideologie wat, so is daar gevoel, alle Afrikane verneder het. En nou is daar ‘n nuwe onmenslikheid. Dis ‘n wrang simboll dat een van Wes-Afrika se grootste en mees deurwinterde stryders juis in ‘n verbruikerspaleis vir rykes in Oos-Afrika moes omkom, waarskynlik afgemaai deur jong Afrika fanatici wat glo hulle veg teen mensontering.

  6. Buiteblaf Breytenbach :

    ‘simbool’! My spellchecker vra nie eens my opinie voor hy my koloniseer nie. Hy erken nie Afferkaans nie – wat nog te sê van Kaaps!

  7. Annora :

    Allerverskrikliks, maar so aangrypend.
    Kofi Awonoor (1935 – 2013): Long live.

  8. Johann Lodewyk Marais :

    Breyten, ek het eintlik probeer verwys na Kofi Awoonor se betrokkenheid by die VN se Spesiale Komitee teen Apartheid, waarvan hy aan die begin van die 1990’s die voorsitter was. Ek gaan uiteraard akkoord met jou ontleding.

  9. Buiteblaf Breytenbach :

    Johann, ek weet – en ek het aangeneem ons deel die siening. Ek stry nie met jou nie. Het jou maar net ‘n bietjie probeer terg oor die gebruik van “stry” in hierdie konteks. Ek sou sê Awoonor het in daardie jare die stryd teen Apartheid in die VN gelei as ambassadeur van Ghana.

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