Spier Dansende Digtersfees. Keorapetse Kgositsile (1938)

Keorapetse Willie Kgositsile

Keorapetse Kgositsile

“In a situation of oppression, there are no choices beyond didactic writing: either you are a tool of oppression or an instrument of liberation.”


Een van die digters wat aan die Spier Dansende Digtersfees op 7 Mei 2016 gaan deelneem, is Suid-Afrika se poet laureate, Keorapetse William Kgositsile wat in 1938 in Johannesburg gebore is. Sy skoolopleiding het hy aan die Matibane High School voltooi. Na sy skoolopleiding was hy werksaam as  verslaggewer by New Age, ‘n publikasie wat ook van sy eerste gedigte gepubliseer het. In 1961, in opdrag van die ANC, ‘n organisasie waarvan hy tóé reeds lid was, verlaat Kgositsile die land. Eers het hy na Dar es Salaam, Tanzanië, gegaan waar hy eers aan die Spearhead magazine verbonde was. In die daaropvolgende jaar is Kgositsile na die VSA waar hy aan verskeie universiteite studeer het. Hy het etlike grade behaal.

In hierdie tye het hy sy eerste digbundel, Spirits Unchained, gepuliseer; ‘n werk wat met die Harlem Cultural Council Poetry Award bekroon is en ook met die National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Award. In 1971, het die bundel, My Name is Afrika, wat sy reputasie as een van Afrika se vernaamste digters sal vestig, verskyn. In 1974 was hy ‘n stigterslid van die African Literature Association. Nadat hy aan verskeie universiteite in Afrika doseer het, keer hy in 1990 terug na Suid-Afrika; dieselfde jaar waartydens sy digbundel When clouds clear verskyn het.

In 2008 is Kgositsile aangewys as  South African Poet Laureate.

Van sy werk is die volgende: This Way I Salute You (2004), If I Could Sing (2002), To the Bitter End (1995), Approaches to Poetry Writing (1994), The Present is a Dangerous Place to Live (1975), When the Clouds Clear (1990), Freeword – with Katiyo, Davis, & Rydstom – (1983), Heartprints (1980), Places and Bloodstains (1976), A Capsule Course in Black Poetry Writing – with Brooks, Madhubuti & Randall – (1975), The Word is Here, ed. (1973), My Name is Africa (1971), For Melba (1971), Spirits Unchained (1969). He is also the author of numerous articles, speeches, and other materials. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals including Guerrilla, Journal of Black Poetry, Negro Digest, The New African, Pan African Journal and Urban Review as well as in the anthologies Black Arts, Black Fire, For Malcolm andPoems Now.

By wyse van bekendstelling volg een van sy gedigte hieronder.


Random Notes to My Son

Beware, my son, words
that carry the loudnesses
of blind desire also carry
the slime of illusion
dripping like pus from the slave’s battered back
e.g. they speak of black power whose eyes
will not threaten the quick whitening of their own intent
what days will you inherit?
what shadows inhabit your silences?

I have aspired to expression, all these years,
elegant past the most eloquent word. But here now
our tongue dries into maggots as we continue our slimy
death and grin. Except today it is fashionable to scream
of pride and beauty as though it were not known that
‘slaves and dead people have no beauty’

in me and around me
confusion. This pain was
not from the past. This pain was
not because we had failed
to understand:
this land is mine
confusion and borrowed fears
it was. We stood like shrubs
shrivelled on this piece of earth
the ground parched and cracked
through the cracks my cry:

And what shapes
in assent and ascent
must people the eye of newborn
determined desire know
no frightened tear ever rolls on
to the elegance of fire. I have
fallen with all the names I am
but the newborn eye, old as
childbirth, must touch the day
that, speaking my language, will
say, today we move, we move ?

© 2002, Keorapetse Kgositsile
Uit: If I Could Sing (Kwela Uitgewers)

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