A wave of conservatism has swept across the world. Siege-mentality governments are on the rise. The thrust of industrialisation and development shields a slew of social inequities and iniquities. Rampant disregard for human rights is coupled with environmental degradation, often legitimized by dubious development agendas. Democracy has become a dirty word and a false hope in many quarters, a guise for uncaring free market exploitation.
In South Africa, race and class conflicts are exacerbated by an alarmingly widening gap between rich and poor. Xenophobia and cultural conflicts further imperil the paper-thin rainbow nation euphoria which is clearly not enough to paste this country together. Clampdowns on civil liberties, however, are no answer to the taut undertow and tension in our society, and the two pernicious instruments currently under parliamentary discussion, namely the Protection of Information Bill and the proposed Media Tribunal are an assault on hard-won freedoms people have fought for.*
What has all this to do with poetry?
The arts need to remain at the forefront of a free society, and a unique strength of artists is their willingness to be a voice of dissent as well as discovery. Poets represent a voice of individual expression where the principle of free speech is paramount. Poetry Africa is a mechanism of empowerment of such voices. It is a potent signifier of the state of society that so much of today’s poetry is a comment and a challenge to social and political short-comings of our world. And so should it be.
But it is not all doom and gloom, there is a turning of the tide, and we hear it in the voice of poetry. Poetry Africa is a time for poets, a time to hear what poets have to say. Poetry Africa will showcase personal and political expression with all its ire, fire, meaning, motivation and all its delicate beauty. We welcome you to the Poetry Africa experience.
Director, Centre for Creative Arts
A Brighter Dawn for
Hoyiiii- na ! Hoyina !!
Everybody come out and watch
Today the morning star shines brighter As it triumphantly ushers in the sun rise
The day has finally dawned when the African woman Will be appreciated and honoured for who she really is For hundreds of years hunger and disease
Have been her unwanted companions
Denied education and the dignity every woman deserves
As insults and humiliation were heaped upon her All too often made to feel like a refugee in her own
Sexism, racism and many more battles she has fought One after the other, without any recognition
But you would not say by the smile she bears
To kiss the sun rise each morning
Grateful just to be alive with her children and man Her laughter inspires birds to sing new melodies She hates war with all her heart
Every time she’s called upon to sing and dance for one victory
Her hips sway longingly for all wars to end For every bullet on the African soil
To turn to a ripe juicy fruit, a vegetable seed A pen to write with or a cup of creamy milk
The woman of Africa wants to sing a song of love
To bring back old wisdoms that will shine a new light Brighter than the stars in the night sky
For all her tears & laughter, her wishes and
May the springs, lakes and rivers of Africa, sing her
Every single day so she may not tire May the leaves of every tree chant On a windy day : Halala !, Halala! We celebrate you, Woman of Africa Halala, Halala ! We celebrate you !!