Posts Tagged ‘James Matthews’

Spier Dansende Digtersfees. James Matthews (1929)

Friday, April 8th, 2016

James Matthews

James Matthews

“For me, when you work you must take advantage of what you could use for the benefit of all of us … I understood that my words could be used as a weapon.”

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Nog een van die plaaslike digters wat tydens die Spier Dansende Digtersfees op 7 Mei 2016 gaan optree, is James Matthews. Hy is op 25 Mei 1929 in Distrik 6, Kaapstad, gebore. Van ‘n jong ouderdom was die woordkuns vir hom ‘n besonderse passie en sy eerste gedigte is reeds op die tere ouderdom van 17 gepubliseer. In hoofsaak was hy as joernalise verbonde aan verskeie publikasies, waaronder die Golden City Post, The Cape Times, Drum, en later die onafhanlike gemeenskapskoerant, , Muslim News.

In hoofsaak was dit die armoede en die impak van ekonomiese uitbuiting en rassisme op die psige, wat tot hom as digter gespreek het. In 1972 debuteer hy saam met Gladys Thomas in die bundel Cry Rage; ‘n bundel wat kort na sy verskyning verban is. Hy het vervolgens ook tronkstraf uuitgedien in die Victor Verster-gevangenis te Paarl. Na sy vrylating het hy die onafhanklike kunsgallery, Gallery Afrique,)  tot stand gebring, en ook die uitgewery, BLAC Publishing House wat van 1974 tot 1991 bestaan het. In 1987 is hy aangewys as beskermheer van die Congress of South African Writers.

In sy lewe het hy vele toekennings ontvang, nasionaal, sowel as internasionaal. Hieronder tel die Woza Afrika Award (1978), Kwaza Honours List – Black Arts Celebration, Chicago, U.S.A.(1979) en die Freeman of Lehrte and Nienburg, Germany (1982). In 2010 is hy met ‘n spesiale toekenning deur die Stad Kaapstad vereer.

Op 1 April 2016 het die Rhodes Universiteit op Grahamstad Matthews vereer met ‘n ere-doktersgraad. Sy kommetaar op dié toekenning was soos volg: ““Even though I am very humbled to be given this award, I also see the funny part … I was born in the ghetto but ended up at university with an honorary degree, nogal.”

Volgens die webtuiste South African History Online (SAHO), die volgende: “Matthews is an exceptionally gifted intellectual whose commitment to political and social justice and demanding litérature engagée is only surpassed by his humility and fierce independence. His art gallery and publishing house – though financially unsuccessful – were significant symbolic blows against the enforced cultural desert of apartheid. It provided the indispensable, albeit short-lived space for true artistic and literary expression, which served as the launch-pad for the continuing development of South African writing.”

Sy digbundels is die volgende:

  • Cry Rage (1972), Spro-Cas Publications
  • Black Voices Shout (1974)
  • Pass me a Meatball, Jones (1977)
  • No Time for Dreams (1981) BLAC Publications
  • Poisoned Wells and Other Delights (1990) BLAC Publications
  • Flames and Flowers (2000) Realities
  • Poems from a Prison Cell (2002), Realities
  • Age is a Beautiful Phase (2008), Realities
  • Gently Stirs My Soul (2015) Rhodes University

By wyse van bekendstelling volg een van sy gedigte.

***

the midnight hour
has a special quality
a stillness of graveyards
after hours
am I the only one
alive to hear the dead
astir in their grave?
perhaps, I am dying
and now aware
only when the midnight hour
had passed
will my spirit depart
to take solitary walks
along the stars
and rest in the moon’s crescent
sipping moondew
from translucent goblet
seeking traces of others
who had wandered this way
ears strain to capture
echoes of conversations
of the past
refreshed, i continue passage
along heaven’s breadth
dawn finds me
blanket-wrapped entombed
on the cement floor
of my cell

(c) James Matthews

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