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The annual Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, now in its third year, recognises the life and vision of this highly respected political and social activist. This book anthologises the strongest entries. As Plaatje’s works did in his time, these poems reveal the political and social attitudes of our time. Between these covers are laments and ululations, powerful and resonant. In blank verse and free verse, rhymed lines and prose poems these voices address HIV, violence, loss of culture and the degradation of the earth. They explore the delicate nuances of motherhood, memory, travel and faith. The poets have offered their wise eyes and quirky humour, their sensibilities and observations to make of their experiences art that is passionate, assiduous, alert and keenly sensitive.

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His many achievements were built on a gifted dedication to language and communication. He excelled as an interpreter and translator, was proficient in at least eight languages, and established himself as a journalist, novelist and memoirist of substance. At his funeral in 1932, H.I.E. Dhlomo described him as “a great, intelligent leader; a forceful public speaker, sharp witted, quick of thought, critical; a leading Bantu [African] writer, versatile, rich, and prolific; a man who by force of character and sharpness of intellect rose to the front rank of leadership notwithstanding the fact that he never entered a secondary school; a real artist, passionate, assiduous, alert, keenly sensitive”.

The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology

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The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology Volume III


The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology Volume III

Compiled by Liesl Jobson

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the funder.

First published by Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd in 2013 10 Orange Street Sunnyside Auckland Park 2092 South Africa +2711 628 3200 © Individual authors, 2013 All rights reserved. ISBN 978-1-4314-0985-3 Also available as an e-book d-PDF ISBN 978-1-4314-0989-1 ePUB ISBN 978-1-4314-0990-7 mobi ISBN 978-1-4314-0991-4 Cover design by Maggie Davey and Shawn Paikin Set in Ehrhardt MT 11/13pt Job no. 002101 See a complete list of Jacana titles at


Contents Foreword Liesl Jobson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi

Death toll Karin Andersen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Mare marginis Karin Andersen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Silent Wing Jim Agustin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Human Patience Jim Agustin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Exit Music for the Disappeared Jim Agustin. . . . . . . . 5 Time Mia Arderne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Atlantis and colposcopy Diane Awerbuck. . . . . . . . . . . 7 Saint Francis saw the scissors Diane Awerbuck . . . . . 8 Washing Lines II Diane Awerbuck. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 ’n afrikaanse laerskool Marike Beyers . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 an afrikaans primary school Marike Beyers. . . . . . . 11 Ancestral Wealth Vonani Bila. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Memory Vonani Bila . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Rose’s Note Vonani Bila. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 dancing Johann Botha. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 As the Sparks Fly Upward Paul Clingman. . . . . . . . . 41 These Are Early Memories Christine Coates . . . . . . . 43 Frail Care Lise Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Instructions for Changing Your Life Gail Dendy . . 46 The Deserted Beach Gail Dendy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Freedom Song Phillippa de Villiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Alcyone Unheard Rick de Villiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Valediction Rick de Villiers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 v

Curfew Julian de Wette. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pit bull territory Julian de Wette. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bus shelter Graham Dukas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My Lidah Uzair Ben Ebrahim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Departure Ruth Everson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My Father’s Prayer Shawl Hazel Frankel. . . . . . . . . . Samovar Hazel Frankel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 ways of looking at egg shell Hazel Frankel. . . . . . Il Diavolo Genna Gardini. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Out Genna Gardini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Pot Genna Gardini. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . littoral zone Dawn Garisch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My Left Ear Dawn Garisch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Last Rhino (Sculpture at the Exhibition) Dawn Garisch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flying Fish Gerald Gaylard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Verwondering Sunelle Geyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amazement Sunelle Geyer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spring fears Megan Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This is my life now Megan Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Day has ended Kerry Hammerton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Grammar of Dating Kerry Hammerton. . . . . . . Giant Rain Frogs Geoffrey Haresnape. . . . . . . . . . . . . Misheard Heidi Henning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I wrote a love poem yesterday Sandra Hill. . . . . . . . Sunday Night Sandra Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Two Bushes Allan Kolski Horwitz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


56 58 60 61 64 65 66 67 69 70 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87

Voice of a Homeless Woman Allan Kolski Horwitz. . 88 Pula pakeng tsa maoto Nthabiseng JahRose Jafta . . . 90 Rain on my feet Nthabiseng JahRose Jafta . . . . . . . . . 92 Killing Thabo Jijana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 The Thing about Beetroot and Manto Thabo Jijana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Watching Grandpa’s small, quiet eyes after Grandma’s burial Thabo Jijana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Mafumahadi a Afrika! Mmakgotso Lehola. . . . . . . . . 99 Women of Africa! Mmakgotso Lehola . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Ke Wa Mang? Nombulelo Leqheku . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Who am I? Nombulelo Leqheku. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 red rural soil David wa Maahlamela . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 the was and is of thabo mbeki David wa Maahlamela. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 Elokuncama Sivuyile Mazantsi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 To Admit Defeat Sivuyile Mazantsi . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Isicelo somzukulwana Sivuyile Mazantsi. . . . . . . . . 112 A grandchild’s request Sivuyile Mazantsi . . . . . . . . 112 Postcards from an Ichthyologist Michelle McGrane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 The Farmer’s Daughter Michelle McGrane . . . . . . . 115 Come rain or sunshine Marthé McLoud . . . . . . . . . 116 Come rain or sunshine Marthé McLoud . . . . . . . . . 118 In memoriam ESAM 1922–1994 Peter Merrington. . 120 Mayibuye Peter Merrington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 Royal Tour Peter Merrington for M.H.M. . . . . . . . . . 125


Facebook posts: a year in Noordhoek Helen Moffett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Falling Helen Moffett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 Seeta sa ka Thabiso Mofokeng. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 My Shoe Thabiso Mofokeng. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136 Afrika, o tlafola Mpho Molapo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 You will heal, Africa Mpho Molapo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Motsomi Mpho Molapo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 Hunter Mpho Molapo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 This history, a three chambered heart George G Momogos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 Daily Duty Kobus Moolman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 He Knew He Should Not Kobus Moolman . . . . . . . . 155 Weighed and Wanting Kobus Moolman . . . . . . . . . . 156 me=mycelium=me Nedine Moonsamy. . . . . . . . . . . 158 amsterdam Melt Myburgh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162 digter wandelend Melt Myburgh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 poet walking Melt Myburgh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 Foreplay Eduan Naudé . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165 Inleiding tot Pretoria se portfolio Eduan Naudé . . 166 Introduction to Pretoria’s portfolio Eduan Naudé. 167 Muti Pamela Newham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168 Deadly Subway Bomkazi Ngqokelela . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 Grow Tall Mtanami Ndumiso Phenyane. . . . . . . . . . 170 Out of Touch Donald Powers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172 O mme wa sebele Daniel Radebe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174 Mother Daniel Radebe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175


A Girl of Thirteen Gudani Ramikosi. . . . . . . . . . . . . Sheila Marnus Roothman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sheila Marnus Roothman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Indonesian woman in the sea Arja Salafranca . . . . Your face Arja Salafranca. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bird of Prey Karin Schimke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pathfinders Karin Schimke. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Truffler Karin Schimke. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thoughts in Winter Annette Snyckers. . . . . . . . . . . . albertus street Toni Stuart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A taste of banadilla Liz Trew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baobabs Liz Trew. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I bargain with the mist Nonjabulo Tshabalala. . . . . King Kwela, ná al die jare – 16 Junie 1991 Jacobus van der Riet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . King Kwela, after all these years – 16 June 1991 Jacobus van der Riet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Incandescent Crystal Warren. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Khanivukeni! Athini Watu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wake Up! Athini Watu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Parting – Witsies Hoek, 1987 James Whyle . . . . . . .

176 179 181 183 185 187 188 192 193 194 196 197 198 200 201 202 203 205 207

Biographies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210 What is the European Union? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228



Foreword My tongue, it’s lost. Have you
heard it? I’m speechless, literally. This tongue
 Gave me a voice. I can see it
in others. My tongue, that is. – Uzair Ben Ebrahim

As you open the pages of this, the third Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Prize anthology, an open-throated choir greets you in celebration. Those reclaiming the tongue that has been lost, refusing to be silenced, are defiant and triumphant. They sing on behalf of the voiceless. Rich, powerful South African voices are speaking in our different languages to articulate their experiences, the private and political, the contemporary and historic. How do we lose poetry and how do we find it? Many had poetry foist upon them in school, suffering its oblique, inscrutable nature, only to abandon it for the rest of their lives. Too often, one hears how a young person’s creative endeavours were dismissed or ridiculed, driving them to cease all attempts at self-expression. Poetry is too often taught without passion or wit, leaving those who look to it for comfort at odds with it, discomforted. Some never learnt poetry formally, and never had their juvenile efforts tossed aside – because there wasn’t the opportunity to try. But poetry has a way of surviving, xi

of calling those who need it to itself. Many discover, or rediscover, their voices when least expected, as if by magic. It happens that a poem written by another in some distant place waits in silence for this precise moment, stealing closer to surprise you with its power and acuity, its relevance to your own life. The poem turns to the reader, returning her to her own soul, her own hunger for clarity and meaning, restoring her tongue. Fortunately, this art form is now easily accessible, easily recovered. Sol Plaatje, whose formal education lasted just five years, could never have predicted how the touch of a button could access abundant resources that open up the world of poetry. We can only imagine his wonder at the fabulous apps for memorising poetry, the free online workshops and discussion groups that make the study of poetry easy and fun. He would surely celebrate the video clips of poetry giants performing their poetry and the podcasts from poetry festivals enriching a journey by taxi or train. Would Plaatje not have delighted in the plethora of websites explaining the nuts and bolts of poetic craft? With the doors thrown wide, poetry education is no longer an elitist preserve. It is for everybody. This book brings South African poetry lovers, those who read and those who write, a portal to the richest of our talent. It offers the relief of hearing a voice given to your own context, resonating with your own clan or geography. These outpourings have been prompted by the banalities and catastrophes of daily existence, great and small. The words enable South Africans to digest what happens here. They grant foreigners a compelling insight into the country’s diverse people. Some poems refer to events that made headlines, that xii

prompted eruptions of protest in social media; some talk of gender issues and violence; some record the acts of public bravery; and some whisper the private erotic. The subtlest observations of the night sky, of a bird alighting or a frog singing in the dark, render the natural world visible and immediate. The poems take shape in compelling lyricism and robust commentaries, delicate images and vigorous metaphors. They say after the moon has scooped water Seven days later It faces down And the calabash releases rain Rain on my feet Carrier of blessings and gifts Child of the gods

– Nthabiseng JahRose Jafta

The poems in this anthology are a scoop, raining blessings on the thirsty. My fellow judges, Goodenough Mashego and Johann de Lange, took their tasks seriously, engaging in vital discussions to enable a selection we can be proud of. These poems were judged blind, enabling the presiding judge, Mongane Wally Serote, to choose finalists entirely worthy of the prize. As a general comment, the judges perceived that most entrants do not read enough poetry. Poets in all languages are encouraged to take their craft more seriously, to immerse themselves in the poetic traditions, and to read far more widely in their own and other languages. Mashego and De Lange are to be congratulated for their subtle and xiii

thoughtful translations of the indigenous language and Afrikaans poetry in the collection. Without the support from the European Union, this anthology would not exist and our poetry landscape would be significantly poorer. It is a pleasure to share once again, the vision of Sol Plaatje, one of the country’s earliest freedom fighters and greatest thinkers. His spirit lives on in this book. Liesl Jobson Co-ordinating judge and editor October 2013


Message from the ambassador South Africa and the Netherlands have developed a strong partnership. We are working together closely in a number of areas, such as trade and investment, agriculture, education, culture, sports, defence and migration. The sharing of knowledge and innovative approaches is essential to our cooperation. Through its Culture, Sports and Development programme, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is engaging with South African organisations in a variety of areas, including languages. Though one of the official languages, Afrikaans, is closely related to the Dutch language, the Netherlands considers all eleven official languages as equally important expressions of South Africa’s diversity. In this book a variety of poems appear in the different official South African languages. It is a beautiful collection of written expressions by the poets. I feel honoured that the Netherlands was able to support this project in 2013. I hope everybody will enjoy reading the poems and I trust that after reading, and maybe discussing the poems, more South Africans will take up the pen in order to express themselves in a written way and that next year even more poems than this year will be submitted for the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry Award. Finally, I am thrilled to congratulate all the poets whose poems were selected for this publication and celebrate with them in this success. AndrÊ Haspels Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Republic of South Africa xv


Death toll It’s Christmas Eve, a cormorant dragging one wing staggers across the road. Sorrow finds a home in my throat. The talk show host says “this mail just in – My unemployed husband has taken 14 sleeping tablets, is it serious?” The sirens are so loud I cannot hear the sea. Seven hundred and eighty eight dead. My list includes one cormorant, the tabby from the corner house, one marriage, and Christmas Day.

Karin Andersen


Mare marginis the moon is making her bed on the sea, look, there she lays her silken sheets there, she steps out from behind the hills and bends, here, at the foot of the road at the foot of the sand dunes billowing silk in her hands, throwing it onto the waves, there, her necklace of gleaming glittering highway lights her night lights spread across the flats, the wind-scoured plains where the poor burn tyres to keep warm burn paraffin to cook steal bread to stay alive, beg for just 5 cents please, bless you, madam, bless you see, she bends in grace stately, glorious, perfumed with smoke and grief look, she lies down before us and surrenders to the tide.


Karin Andersen

Silent Wing I saw the first hadeda ibis that did not cry out when I came near. It did not take flight. Instead, its scimitar beak cut through bushes, one wing dragging against sharp rocks, past stalks riddled with thorns so close to the fence of the neighbour with vicious dogs.

Jim Agustin


Human Patience By the time you read this, the five men who had to climb up a tree to escape Sumatran tigers would have been saved or devoured. It is Tuesday and I read about their ordeal on Sunday, four days since it began with the accidental trapping and killing of a cub. It is an echo of a comic scene from “Quest for Fire.� The last leaf eaten or blown away by the wind, the eyes of men who have seen the end of a companion who could not scamper fast enough. The dwindling rainforest in the jaws of biofuel production and human impatience come together at this particular and soon to be forgotten junction. Not a single note will be played from an unwritten piece of exit music.


Jim Agustin

Exit Music for the Disappeared It has to be played with a single instrument that craves breath drawn from the darkest chambers of flesh. There must be no more than one person to hear its first performance and no less than a million for its last. May only one be written and never again be needed. But we know history. We keep hoping there will be a sky for silent wings.

Jim Agustin


Time The hands of time will: Pull you by the hair Grab you by the balls Whip you on the arse Choke you at the collar You will: Strap him to your wrist Place him on your wall Plead with him to pass Plead with him to linger


Mia Arderne

Atlantis and colposcopy Centuries of high ground but it stinks of the sea, of birds made flesh from the old fish. I am the Girl Moses. I walk between the tarmac and the stones. I divide the tarmac and the stones. I divide, and my cells divide with me, healthy, round on round, clinking like pebbles, separate and musical and new.

Diane Awerbuck


Saint Francis saw the scissors They twitch, the birds I drew and coloured for ancient Science projects. The girl me traced and named each pin feather; she dreamed each blurry flight. I see them again solid as Adam heaving between my elbows from the book on the kitchen table. They are rising on the current, wingspan and hollow bones. They hover in halos; they stutter out their lingering recognition. See how they come to me, fluttering.


Diane Awerbuck

Washing Lines II You drew all of Egypt over my head. The roads and rivers were woven into your white shirt: the sun and the fertile strip and the floating. I skipped over the heads of crocodiles: at my heels they steamed and snapped, their eyes flicking open like yellow umbrellas too late for purchase but good for glinting. On my feet I wore the wings of white birds, the white birds that lodge and dip in the long mouths of the brooding crocodiles the white birds that fly east to west and back home again their wings blurring like laundry in the sun.

Diane Awerbuck


’n afrikaanse laerskool die stoepe rooi gepolish en die juffrou se hare staan boontoe sy spoeg gif want fanie is weer siek dit is maandag en die klas mis nog ’n vol-week teenwoordig in die saal amen en almal klap hande die opstelle vakansie op soveel plase by soveel oupas en oumas die vlaktes wyd en die lug so blou en ek weet niks fanie kom skool toe sy arm in gips hulle sê die varkhond het hom beetgekry kake vas maar hy huil nie fanie is taff hy maak die meisies bang met ’n rubber spinnekop maar ek mind nie want hy los my uit met my boeke onder die tafel en somme gedoen ek weet nie wie die juffrou oor frons nie fanie is stout en ek praat nie daar’s ’n lyn op die lessenaar onsigbaar knik ons mekaar verby liniale en swartbordname ienie mienie maainie mou almal staan wel eendag in die tou


Marike Beyers

an afrikaans primary school the stoeps polished red and the teacher’s hair standing on end she is spitting spiders because fanie is off sick again it is monday and the class misses another week with everyone present in the hall amen and then everybody claps the compositions holiday on so many farms with so many grandpas and grandmas the fields wide and the sky so blue and I know nothing fanie returns to school his arm in plaster cast they say the bull dog got a hold of him jaws locked but he doesn’t cry fanie is tough he frightens the girls with a rubber spider but I don’t mind because he leaves me alone with my books underneath the desk and arithmetic done I don’t know who the teacher is frowning at fanie is bad and I don’t talk there’s a line on the desk invisibly we nod at one another past rulers and names on black boards eeny meeny miny mo one day we’ll all stand in a row

Marike Beyers


Ancestral Wealth (For my father)

I Under these tall thorn umbrella trees My ancestors dwell Jonas is buried in a woven grass kenya When Dayimani woke up dead at 10 am He was buried in the afternoon, the same day His body covered with white linen and a thin blanket My ancestors dwell here Seated, facing home in the east Facing Bileni, far away in Mozambique A broken mattress and xihlungwani heaped on the grave Cracked enamel plates and mugs heaped on the grave II Papa, when you finally got admitted at Giyani Block We thought the learned doctors who can see what’s hidden in blood and water Would remove these needles And pins and spears in your veins and wearied bones But their bewitched green-red flashing machines in theatre confirmed you healthy And when you got into the late night train ride to Garankuwa Hospital Far away in Pretoria, on that ultra-distance bumpy ride


We thought the learned doctors would have removed this excruciating pain In your chest and packing bones But doctors in white gowns saw no fault in your stuttering engine They sent you home You got into that long bumpy train ride uncured They asked you to come with your wife on 4th December 1989 For possible heart surgery And the next day you came back home Sat with your family around the fire That night you didn’t cough blood clots, nor groan That night you didn’t vomit Nor was your body a river of sweat Your face was sun-beaming Blue eyes were shining We ate chicken stew and pap Drank Rooibos tea with buttered bread That night owls and the wind didn’t howl in trees The mountain snake and dzelehani didn’t cry Dogs and cats didn’t wail nor mew That night I slept like a baby Under these tall thorn umbrella trees My ancestors rise and hold hands They sing in unison Dance in rhythmic step Around the fire


III Wednesday 13 September 1989, 1 am: You asked Mother to extinguish the paraffin lamp Burning on the red polished cement floor The time to switch off your tormented heart beat had beckoned That day you requested mhani N’wa-Noel Your concubine from Mbhokota To sleep in the grass-thatched rondavel with your girl children Because the last night of intimacy And pain belonged to your wife Fokisa N’wa-Mahatlani Your black beauty of twenty six years Yena wa ka mkhamu wa nsuku na ngwavila (She whose body glitters with gold and gems) Mbati ya ku fuma (The door to wealth) Your last night belonged to your wife Who birthed you seven healthy children Children born between 1964 and 1980 The last night to outline your will – Because you knew n’wana wa munhu u le kusuhani The last night to outline how your homestead should be run So that you don’t return home wearing shorts And run riot In case your house was turned into a playground Emachihweni, emathumbhanini


You sat on your three quarter bed Wearing that brown striped t-shirt from Pep stores Eyes fixed on the old leaking zinc roof Then you paged through the Old Mutual policy document And you said: Mhana Oom (he called me Oom) The roof is old I have bought the bricks But they’ll not be enough to build a decent house When they give you my little pension fund Build a house: A room for Oom, a room for Simon, another room for Makhanani and Julia If God had given me seven more years to live Oom and Simon would be working They would take care of Makhanani and Julia Then the burning paraffin lamp was extinguished: Each sleeping in their separate three quarter beds Suddenly a heavy hand whipped Mother’s shoulder It was her grandmother N’wa-Xakhombo Whose voice shrieked: Pfuka wena N’wa-Mafelalomo (Wake up, you who die in far distant places) A wu swi voni leswaku wa weriwa? (Don’t you see the roof is falling, collapsing upon you?) All she heard was one groan Hhmmm, hmmmm!


And Papa, when she came to your three quarter bed Daniel Risimati Bila the son of Dayimani and N’wa-Zulu Had packed for good Papa, your room was filled with cold air Misty cloudy smog covered the room at 1 am Mama says you didn’t hit, didn’t kick the walls violently As you wrestled with the monster Kwalaho ndzi n’wi longa (Then I laid out his body) Ndzi koka minkumba ndzi zola milenge (I removed blankets and elevated his legs) Ndzi lola mavoko ya longoloka na yena (I elevated his hands and arms along his body) Ndzi vuyetela mahlo (I gently closed his eyes with a simple touch) Ndzi n’wi sula xikandza (I wiped down his face) A hlambile a nga se etlela (He had bathed before bedtime) Mapfalo ya mina a ma file (I was but remorseless) Ivi ndzi khomelela mubedwa (Then I held the bed so firm) Ndzi ku kumbe u ta pfuka (Thinking that he would wake up) She searched for Rattex in the wardrobe If she had found it She would have crushed it Swallowed it to burn her liver and heart And join you in the other world


How would she raise her children With cents from selling banana and tomatoes At the Elim market? Under these tall thorn umbrella trees My ancestors rise and hold hands They sing in unison Dance in rhythmic step Around the fire IV ‘My time to go has arrived,’ you told Mother several times The ZCC prophets Markos Mukhuva and vhoRamantshwane Had tearfully told you the same at Magangeni church: Your life’s ticket is over They told you a few months before your departure To the land yonder They told you to stop chasing after the skirts Because skirts were a cloth covering a big bottomless pit And you came home to tell your wife You were not taking anyone’s cows nor calves in the kraal But helping the wandering women in need You lived facing the tomb Facing the red setting sun Knowing your living days


Were vanishing fast like paraffin paper fire You lived facing the tomb Knowing you couldn’t afford skipping monthly subscriptions To Saffas the undertaker in Louis Trichardt Because the ancestors emaxubini were calling you You lived facing the tomb That’s why you cleared the bushy shrubs Making the road with a pick and shovel Making the road with a spade and hoe Because you wanted the hearse To collect your remains at home with ease Because you didn’t want to be loaded in a wheelbarrow And driven to be collected at the main road Watched by birds, monkeys and stray dogs You lived facing the tomb Because Papa, something so sharp was piercing you Needles stinging your veins with deadly venom Nails biting on your flesh The sharp spear jabbing your heart Something so sharp was numbing your veins Draining your energy from your bowels You breathed heavily every time you climbed a steep hill You coughed strenuously, sneezing, lungs rattled Sometimes you collapsed on the narrow paths After vomiting blood, groaning, vomiting air Sometimes you bellowed


Like someone who had eaten fresh poison But Papa, you carried the burden of a family man On your shoulders Working every day of the week Slowly walking ten kilometres every day To Elim Hospital For all these thirty years Helping doctors carry out post-mortems – Cutting through skulls, stitching and cleaning the dead so stinking Burying the dead in black shrouds at ten o’clock every day Behind the hospital sewerage Papa, you did everything at Elim Hospital: Ferrying patients to theatre Feeding relieved mothers at the maternity wards Scrubbing the floor in the Eye Department Papa, you did everything at Elim Hospital Just for a paltry R300 salary in 1989 Because you had beaks to feed And clothe Under these tall thorn umbrella trees My ancestors rise like elephants At the break of dawn To drink water From the mountain’s fountain


Biographies Karin Andersen was born and raised in Zimbabwe, then lived in France, Tunisia and the UK as a young adult. Her poems appear in the anthology, Women Writing, and have been seen on umbrellas, trousers and eucalyptus leaf flags at Afrika Burn in the Tankwa Karoo. Thanks to her most recent part-time job, she has learned that she probably should have spent her life selling second hand books instead of looking after children, plants, backpackers, translation projects and websites. Jim Pascual Agustin, born in the Philippines, writes and translates in Filipino and English. He came to Cape Town in 1994 and is now a South African citizen. His work appears in various international print and online journals, magazines, and anthologies, among them Rhino Poetry, GUD Magazine, and Modern Poetry in Translation. He received second prize in the 2012 DALRO New Coin Poetry Prize. He has had six books of poetry published in the Philippines, two of them in 2013: Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran (poems in Filipino) and Sound Before Water. Mia Arderne is a fiction writer from Cape Town whose subject matter interfaces the magical and the criminal. She is currently completing her Master’s in English Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town. She has been published in the 2012 AfroSF anthology, the first science fiction anthology by African writers, edited and compiled by Ivor Hartmann. Her novella, Pigs in Golfs, was published by Fox&Raven.


Diane Awerbuck is a teacher, writer and reviewer. Her first novel, Gardening at Night, won the Commonwealth Award for Best First Book (Africa and the Caribbean). She is new to poetry, but it is not new to her. Marike Beyers lives in Grahamstown, keeping busy at the National English Literary Museum. She finds that there is so much still to be read; also that belonging in such a fragile world is a tricky thing, not always getting it quite right. Vonani Bila was born in 1972 in Shirley village, Limpopo. He is the founding editor of the Timbila poetry journal, publisher of Timbila books and director of the Timbila Poetry Project. He has written eight storybooks in English, Xitsonga and Sepedi for newly literate adults. He has read and performed his poetry in South Africa and abroad, and his poems have been translated into German, Dutch, Finnish, Turkish, Swedish, French, Arabic and Indonesian Bahasa. He is the current editor of New Coin. Bila’s poetry books are: No Free Sleeping (with Donald Parenzee and Alan Finlay), In the Name of Amandla, Magicstan Fires and Handsome Jita. Johann Botha is a white Afrikaner male born forty-one years ago in Discovery, Johannesburg. Married to a wonderful woman, he is father to two beautiful daughters. He writes software for a living whilst considering ways to make rhyme pay. Paul Clingman is a writer whose work spans poetry, fiction, drama, biography and music. His novel, A State of Symmetry, published in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, was shortlisted for the M-Net Literary Award. His 211

biography of the Hon A E Abrahamson, The Moon Can Wait, deals with African colonial and post-colonial society and politics of the fifties. His play A Question of Names was produced at the Market Theatre Laboratory, while his five albums of original songs made him one of the pioneers of the crossover genre, helping to form the foundations of a new music in South Africa. Christine M Coates lives in Cape Town where she spends many hours on the mountain or besides the sea. She watches birds and whales and loves to walk in the fynbos. Her mantra is “And this is our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything”. She has a special interest in life-writing and has collaborated with several writers on their stories. Her own stories and poems have been published in various literary journals. She also enjoys making creative hand-made books and art. Lise Day recently retired to Hout Bay after forty years of teaching English, most recently at the Nelson Mandela University. A member of the ‘Pleached Poetry’ writing circle, she regularly attends and enjoys workshops with Finuala Dowling. Her short stories have been published in the English National Curriculum textbook and in periodicals and books. Her poetry has appeared in Carapace, New Contrast and online at Aerodrome. Gail Dendy’s first collection of poetry, entitled Assault and the Moth, was published by Gerville Press in 1993. This was followed by People Crossing, Swimming in the Long Dark Sound, Painting the Bamboo Tree, The Poetry of Norman Corwin and Gail Dendy and The Lady Missionary. 212

Her seventh collection, Closer than That, was published by Dye Hard Press in 2011. Originally from Durban, she now lives in Johannesburg. Over the years she has worked, inter alia, as a university lecturer, copywriter and radio news writer. She is currently the library and research specialist for an international corporate law firm. Phillippa de Villiers is a multi-award winning poet, playwright and performance artist. She graduated from the Lecoq International School of Theatre in Paris. Her poetry ranges from the private to the political, exploring matters serious, satirical and sensual. She has a prolific portfolio of national and international stage and television productions. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Taller than Buildings and The Everyday Wife. Rick de Villiers is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Pretoria. His research areas include literary modernism, TS Eliot, Samuel Beckett, and JM Coetzee. He has published a number of scholarly articles as well as poetry. Apart from his literary pursuits, he plays drums for the Pretoria-based metal band, Urban Vitamin. Julian de Wette was born in Cape Town. He was educated at South Peninsula High School in Diep River, and is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. De Wette worked for the United Nations in New York, Windhoek, London and Almaty for over twenty years, including a stint with United Nations Volunteers in Geneva and Bonn. He is the author of a novel, A Case of Knives, and has published three collections of Afrikaans poetry Koning in die Buiteland, Verban: Verbinne, and Tussen Duine Gebore, 213

and a play, Sister Priscilla’s Dilemma: The Nun with a Gun. De Wette and his wife live in Napier, in the Overberg. Graham Dukas lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. He divides his time between business management and strategy consulting, executive coaching and part-time teaching at UCT’s School of Architecture. He started writing at a young age but lost his way as the demands of parenting and earning a living took over. In recent years he returned to the pen, inspired by the simple experiences of this peculiar thing called life. He writes for fun. The older he gets the more important this seems. A few of his poems have found their way into the poetry journal Carapace. A few have gone online. Uzair Ben Ebrahim grew up in Cape Town, and has lived there all his life. He is a third-year student at the University of Cape Town, majoring in Linguistics, Arabic and Hebrew. Languages have always had an important role in Uzair’s life. When he found his passion for poetry, it only made sense to merge the two. Through expressing himself through his poetry (in English, Arabic and Hebrew) he tries to challenge the status quo, by focusing on finding common ground within South African society. He also hopes that the words he writes will inspire beneficial change. Ruth Everson has worked at festivals across the country under the banner of the National Schools’ Festivals of the Arts and at other arts festivals. She has presented her poetry in front of groups of five and to hundreds, including audiences in Egypt and Beijing. She did a stint as the resident poet on Radio 702’s early breakfast show and has been featured in numerous publications. Her poems are 214

widely taught. She has recently released a new anthology, Landscapes of Courage. Ruth currently teaches English at St Stithians Girls’ College. Hazel Frankel is a practising artist, calligrapher, poet and author. She holds MAs in both Fine Arts and English from Wits University and a PhD in Creative Writing from Sheffield Hallam University. She is the author of a calligraphy manual, Calligraphy for Africa, and a poetry collection, Drawing from Memory. Her novel Counting Sleeping Beauties was a runner-up for the EU Award. Memoirs: Our Stories; Our Lives was published in 2010 by Chevrah Kadisha Publications, and her second novel, Illuminating Love, was published in 2011 by the Jacana Literary Foundation. Genna Gardini is currently completing her MA in Theatre-making (Playwriting) at UCT. She was selected as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for 2013. Later that year, she was announced as the winner of the 2012 DALRO New Coin Poetry Prize. She has had two plays produced at the National Arts Festival, WinterSweet (2012) and Scrape (2013), both of which won Standard Bank Ovation Awards. She co-owns Horses’ Heads Productions with Gary Hartley. Gardini also works as an arts writer and reviewer for Art South Africa magazine and the Cape Times. Dawn Garisch is a poet and author in many genres. She has had five novels published – three also in the UK – and Trespass was short-listed for the Commonwealth fiction prize in Africa in 2010. Her poem ‘Blood Delta’ won the DALRO poetry prize in 2007 and ‘Miracle’ won the EU Sol 215

Plaatje Poetry Award in 2011. Her poetry collection is entitled Difficult Gifts, and she also has written a nonfiction work Eloquent Body. She runs workshops in writing and creative method and lives in Cape Town. Her memoir Dance With Suitcase will be out in late 2013. Gerald Gaylard was born in Harare in 1968. His quiet bourgeois childhood was punctuated by holidays on grandma’s farm. Five minutes’ walk from the farmhouse and he couldn’t tell what era he was in because there was no sign whatsoever of human habitation. One Christmas Eve there were mortars on the next door farm. It was a relief to hear Bob Marley on the radio after 1980. University plunged him into another conflict zone: KwaZulu-Natal during the late 1980s. Eventually finding himself an economic migrant in Johannesburg, he now works in the English Department at Wits. Sunelle Geyer (Swanepoel) was born in Kimberley in 1974, grew up in Boksburg and matriculated from the Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria in 1992. She completed the degrees BProc, LLB and LLD at the University of Pretoria. Her LLD thesis embodied an interdisciplinary study between copyright law and publishing studies, comparing the legal interpretation of originality with the understanding of the same concept in the literary world. Sunelle is an associate professor in intellectual property law at the University of South Africa. Her favourite timeout activities include reading fantasy novels and spending time with her husband and their two daughters. Megan Hall is the author of the poetry collection, Fourth Child, which won the Ingrid Jonker prize for the best debut 216

volume in English. Published in print journals New Coin, New Contrast, Fidelities, Carapace, Botsotso and Imago, she is also featured on Poetry International. Hall has also co-edited New Contrast and her work has been included in the school poetry anthology Worldscapes. Born in Cape Town, she is a publishing manager at Oxford University Press Southern Africa. Kerry Hammerton has published poetry in various South African and UK literary journals. These are the lies I told you, her debut poetry collection, was published by Modjaji in 2010. Some of her poems appear in the anthology Difficult to Explain, Africa, My Africa and For a Rhino in a Shrinking World. Geoffrey Haresnape was born in Durban and brought up in Cape Town. He is a poet and writer of fiction with five volumes of poetry published to date: Drive of the Tide (1976), New-Born Images (1991), Mulberries in Autumn (1996), The Living and the Dead: Selected and New Poems (2005) and Where the Wind Wills (2011). He has a prizewinning novel Testimony (1991) and a collection of short stories, African Tales from Shakespeare (1999). He is Emeritus Professor of English at UCT. Heidi Henning was born in Johannesburg, and attended Roedean School South Africa, where she was awarded the English Essay Prize. She completed a BA at Wits University and an MSc in Creative Writing at Edinburgh University. She has been published in New Contrast and is a regular contributor to LitNet. She lives on a farm in South Africa with her partner and two young daughters. Misheard, her first collection of poetry, is available on Amazon and Xlibris. 217

Sandra Hill is a Stellenbosch-based freelance writer, editor and writing facilitator, working primarily with civil society organisations. She writes poetry and short stories, and is currently completing her MA in Creative Writing at UWC. Allan Kolski Horwitz is the author of several collections of poems including Saving Water and There are Two Birds at My Window; he also writes short fiction, plays and song lyrics. He is a member of the Botsotso Jesters poetry performance group and a member of the editorial board of Botsotso Publishing. Nthabiseng JahRose Jafta is a performing poet, author, mentor, artpreneur and art activist. JahRose Productions is the umbrella under which all these activities come together. She holds awards in her contribution as writer and poet in the Free State communities since 2004. She self-published and launched her debut poetry collection, Rooted from the heart, in 2010. More recently, she published the anthology, Free State of Mind, with an audio book and a DVD. She is a co-founder of Tlouhadi Arts Projects and has shared stages in South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho and in Europe. Thabo Jijana was born in Peddie, in the Eastern Cape, not far from the town where the late Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, was born. His journalism work has appeared in Mampoer Shorts, The Herald, Weekend Post and Grocott’s Mail. His poetry has appeared in The Kalahari Review and Poetry Potion. Mmakgotso Lehola was born in 1963 on a farm called Kruisfontein in Bothaville and was raised by a single 218

mother. In 1983 she began her career as a secretary at Motsi Creations and went on to Vomak Industries from there. In 1986 she returned to complete her schooling, passing matric in 1987. She works as a typist for the Department of Education. Lehola joined the Metjodi Writers and is working on a book. She is focusing on her craft and hopes to achieve many writing successes. Nombulelo Maggie Leqheku was born at Touwsriver in 1958. She graduated from the University of the North and worked as an administrative clerk for eleven years, then as a teacher for eleven years. She was promoted to the position of deputy principal and later became a subject advisor in arts and culture in the Free State Department of Education. She works in the Thabo Mofutsanyana Education District. David Maahlamela is an award-winning writer who hails from Mankweng in Polokwane, Limpopo. Writing mainly in Sepedi and English, his poetry and prose has featured widely in South African literary journals and anthologies. He is the recipient of the Herifest Prize for Poetry, the Musina Mayoral Excellence Award for Arts Development, and a PanSALB Multilingualism Award. Maahlamela has performed at various prestigious events around the country. He was listed recently as one of the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Top Young South Africans. Sivuyile Mazantsi is a full-time writer based in Cape Town. He has written three books for children, Unyanelizwe, Intlungu kaMaMkhwemte, and Too Young to Die (co-written with Sam Roth). His book, Unyanelizwe, won the 2010 Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award.


Michelle McGrane, born in Zimbabwe in 1974, spent her childhood in Malawi and moved to South Africa with her family when she was fourteen. She has lived in Johannesburg since 2007. Her recent collection, The Suitable Girl, was published by Pindrop Press in the United Kingdom and Modjaji Books in South Africa. Her work deals with societal expectations, gender, death, grief and mythology, and looks at how women, historical or actual, have ‘shaped their interior landscapes and, in doing so, shaped the world’. ‘[Her] poems refuse to lie down in the boxes set out by history or society. Instead, they describe women who are complex, difficult and pleasingly unsuitable’. She is a member of SA PEN and blogs at Peony Moon. Marthé Mcloud was born in Stellenbosch in 1964 and matriculated in 1981 in Paarl. She studied social work at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Pretoria, where she was awarded her Master’s with distinction in 1989. She has a special affection for children and tries to balance despondency with hope. Her poems are a response to the people and communities with whom she works. Peter Merrington, freelance writer and researcher, lives in Cape Town. He has published two books of fiction with Jacana, Zebra Crossings: tales from the shaman’s record and The Zombie and the Moon: more tales from the shaman’s record. His research essays deal with the public imaginary and the 1910 Union of South Africa. He is a motorcyclist and a ceramic sculptor. Helen Moffett is a freelance writer, editor, academic and the author of the poetry collection, Strange Fruit. She has lectured as far afield as Trinidad and Alaska. Her academic 220

writings include a gloomy but necessary work on sexual violence in the post-apartheid context. She writes about cricket because it reminds her why she likes men and because she loves the game with a passion. She has also published a university textbook on poetry, an anthology of South African landscape writing and several short stories. Poetry is her first and last love. Thabiso Michael Mofokeng was born in 1989 in Qwaqwa, Free State. He matriculated at Tshibollo Senior Secondary and is currently studying a BCom at Unisa. He started writing at the age of fifteen and pays tribute to his mentors, KPD Maphalla and MA Dladla. Thabiso slept at Navalsig Police Station when he attended his first writing workshop because he couldn’t afford regular accommodation! He is the author of the novella, Motswalle ya sa Tsebahaleng, and his short stories have appeared in various anthologies. Mpho Godfrey Molapo was born in 1985 at Sebayeng Village in Limpopo Province and matriculated at Mafolofolo High School in 2003. He has completed a BA degree in Languages and Literature at Unisa, where he is currently completing his Honours in African Languages. Mpho works as a career information advisor at the South African Qualifications Authority. He is also a writer, translator, editor and transcriber. George G Momogos lives with his wife, Anne, and daughter, Michelle, in Durban. He is a fledgling poet and short-story writer who is plotting out a literary course for himself. He is also a marketing and business-strategy expert and an entrepreneur, designing and developing web-based 221

solutions to help organisations implement effective learning programmes. Kobus Moolman was born in 1964. He lives in Pietermaritzburg and has published five collections of poetry, as well as several plays. His most recent poetry collection, Left Over was published by Dye Hard Press, and was launched in Grahamstown during a three-month Mellon Writer’s residency. He edited Tilling the Hard Soil, an anthology of poetry and prose by South African writers living with disabilities, and teaches creative writing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. Nedine Moonsamy has just completed her doctoral research at Wits University. Her current academic interests include time, nostalgia and post-transitional South African literature. In comparison, her poetic and creative interests are entirely promiscuous. Melt Myburgh of Stellenbosch received the 2011 Ingrid Jonker Prize for his poetry debut Oewerbestaan. He is a publisher at Naledi, the young, upcoming and independent publishing house in Cape Town. In 2014 he will be a guest in Marlene van Niekerk’s Creative Writing class at Stellenbosch University. Eduan Naudé is originally from Mossel Bay, but has lived in Pretoria since 2012. He studied at North-West University from 2006 to 2011 where he was awarded his Honours degree in Urban and Regional Planning. Poetry started out as a hidden hobby, but is now his greatest passion – something which is clearly illustrated by the many poetry collections cluttering up his home. 222

Pamela Newham began her career as an English teacher before becoming a magazine journalist and features editor. In the past few years, she has turned her attention to fiction writing. In 2010 her first book, Three Blind Dates was runner-up in Maskew Miller Longman’s Literature Awards. She has had various short stories published and her poems have appeared in online poetry blogs, Carapace, The Ground’s Ear and Difficult to Explain. Bomkazi Ngqokelela was born in rural Transkei. She is a graduate of the University of Cape Town and now lives and works as a business analyst in Johannesburg. She is an art enthusiast who loves fine art photography, African literature and the performing arts. She also indulges in yoga. She is fascinated by creative and liberated thinking and is unafraid to bend the rules or question the status quo. She is passionate about social and economic development and is due to pursue her Master’s in International Relations in 2014. Ndumiso Phenyane was born in 1986, in Vryheid. He went to school in Empangeni, completing matric in 2006 at Dlamvuzo High School. He started writing poetry at the age of 13, whilst still at the Inkamana Mission. He aims to become a well known poet and has chosen art as his career. He is currently working as an assistant at Khula Arts Centre in Richards Bay and acknowledges his mentor, Bhekani Thabede. Donald Powers currently works in the English Department at the University of Cape Town. His publications include three poems in The Ground’s Ear: Contemporary Verse from Southern Africa, the short story ‘Oban Road’ in The GhostEater and Other Stories, and academic articles on JM Coetzee and Cormac McCarthy. 223

Daniel Nuwejaar Radebe was born in 1965 in the Bethlehem district. He has a BA and a BA Hons, majoring in Sesotho. He has taught Sesotho since 1988 at primary and secondary school level and is a part-time lecturer at the University of the North’s Qwaqwa Branch. Presently he is the subject advisor for Sesotho at GET band. He is an emerging poet with some 45 unpublished poems. Gudani Ramikosi lives in Shirley near Elim. She attended a workshop on writing for children in 2006, offered by the publishing initiative, Room to Read. They published her first book in 2010, Thili’s Journey. In the Valley of the Rising Sun is her second publication. Her husband, an established poet, motivates her. She loves reading to their children. Her latest book in Tshivenda, Muvhunduni wa Matavhelo a Duvha, is forthcoming soon. She appeared at the inaugural Polokwane Literary Festival in 2011 and her poem, ‘Zwa uno muta’, appeared in an episode of the Tshivenda soapie Muvhango. Marnus Roothman studied journalism at Potchefstroom University where he completed his Honours degree. He has written poems since his university days, but has never attempted to have a collection published. He is a marketing strategist and copy writer, specialising in writing for the web in South Africa and other English-speaking countries. Arja Salafranca, born in Spain to a Spanish father and South African mother, has lived in South Africa since the age of five. Her first poetry collection, A life stripped of illusions, received the 1994 Sanlam Award and her short story, ‘Couple on the Beach’, won the same award in 1999 for short fiction. She is the author of a second poetry 224

collection, The fire in which we burn, and a short story collection, The Thin Line. She currently edits the Life supplement in the Sunday Independent. Karin Schimke is a journalist, columnist, author and poet writing in English, Afrikaans and German. She is widely published in mainstream South African newspapers, magazines and websites, and in literary magazines and poetry anthologies. Poems from her debut collection Bare & Breaking were translated into German by Sylvia Geist and she has been awarded a writer’s residency to the Sylt Foundation. She has performed her poetry at various national and international poetry festivals and on the radio. She has been nominated for the 2013 SA Literary Awards for poetry. Annette Snyckers was born in Bloemfontein. She studied English, French and German at Pretoria University and Fine Art at Unisa. She was a high school teacher and translator before dedicating herself in ceramics, graphic art and painting. Every few years, she spends an artist’s residency of three months at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Her poems have appeared online at Incwadi and SLiP, and in the anthology Difficult to Explain. Annette loves living in Cape Town. Toni Stuart is a poet who has performed locally and internationally. She appeared at the2010 Urban Voices International Poetry Festival and the 2013 Bridgewater International Poetry Festival. She works with the stories of place and displacement, HIV/Aids and gender-based violence. She is the curator of Poetica and runs writing workshops that enable people to explore their own voice. 225

She was named as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for her work in co-founding I Am Somebody! – an NGO that uses storytelling and youth development to build integrated communities. Liz Trew was born in Cape Town. She returned to South Africa in 1991 after 27 years in England, where she was involved in adult education and taught English to immigrants and refugees. Back home she continued to teach, and obtained a Master’s degree in English Education at Wits University. She became a volunteer counsellor at People Opposed to Women Abuse (POWA) and continues to serve as a co-ordinator of POWA’s women’s writing project. Now retired from teaching, she helps at Siviwe and girls’ shelters in Cape Town. She is widely published in literary journals and anthologies in England and South Africa. Nonjabulo Tshabalala was born in Pietermaritzburg and moved to Cape Town to study fashion design in 2006. When she started attending open-mic sessions she developed a taste for the stage. She has worked with many artists, performing in numerous shows between KZN and Cape Town. She has also helped to organise events in order to create platforms for other upcoming artists. Nonjabulo is inspired by love and life. She writes because it heals her, and shares it because she believes in poetry’s potential to heal others. Jacobus van der Riet was born in 1959 in Stellenbosch where he obtained degrees in Theology and Classics. He has a PhD in Classics from Wits University, studied further in the USA, and has lived in a Greek monastery. He has been an illustrator in Zimbabwe, a hospital chaplain in Cape 226

Town, a lecturer at Wits and Unisa, a second-hand book salesman, and a teacher. He currently serves as a library assistant and priest of the Orthodox Church in Johannesburg. His collection of poems, Die Onsienlike Son, appeared in 2012. Crystal Warren is a compulsive reader and writer. Born and raised in Port Elizabeth she has lived and worked in Grahamstown for many years. She works at the National English Literary Museum, which combines her studies in librarianship, English and history, and her deep love for books and literature. Athini Watu, the only child of the late Ester Watu, was born in 1980 at Cathcart in the Eastern Cape. He attended Daliwe Primary and Fundani High School where he encountered teachers with a great love of the isiXhosa language and literature. They inspired his passion for writing and in 2002 he registered for a short course in creative writing at Unisa. His drama, Inkintsela yaseMontana, won the 2010 Maskew Miller Longman literature award. He hopes to gain more knowledge and courage to write in African languages. James Whyle’s novel, The Book of War, was short listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Award and won the M-Net Literary Award for best debut novel. Whyle’s published drama includes National Madness, an Amstel Play of the Year runner up, and Rejoice Burning, which was commissioned by the BBC. His short story, ‘The Story’, was chosen by JM Coetzee as winner of the 2011 PEN/ Studzinski award. He believes in the bloody horse.


What is the European Union? The European Union is a unique economic and political partnership between 27 European countries* that has delivered half a century of peace, stability, and prosperity, helped raise living standards, launched a single European currency, and is progressively building a single Europewide market in which people, goods, services and capital move among Member States as freely as within a country. Created in the aftermath of the Second World War, the first steps taken towards a union were to foster economic cooperation. Since then, the union has developed into a huge single market. What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organisation spanning all areas, from development aid to environmental policy. The EU actively promotes human rights and democracy and has the most ambitious emission reduction targets for fighting climate change in the world. Thanks to the abolition of border controls between EU countries, it is now possible for people to travel freely within most of the EU.

How does it work? European Union countries have set up institutions to run the European Union and adopt its legislation. The main ones are: • European Parliament (representing the people of Europe) • Council of the European Union (representing national governments) • European Commission (representing the common EU interest) 228

Size and population At 4 million km² the European Union is roughly one seventh the size of Africa and just over three times the size of South Africa. France is the EU’s largest country and Malta its smallest. The EU has a population of close to 500 million people – the world’s third largest after China and India.

European Union symbols • The European flag – the 12 stars in a circle symbolise the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe. • The European anthem – the melody used to symbolise the EU comes from Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony composed in 1823. • Europe Day – the ideas behind the European Union were first put forward on 9 May 1950 by French foreign minister Robert Schuman. This is why 9 May is celebrated as a key date for the EU. • The EU motto – “United in diversity”.

The European Union and South Africa – a Partnership of Equals The growing relationship between South Africa and the European Union since 1994 has been underpinned by the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). Closer ties between the two parties were consolidated in 2007 with the establishment of the EU–SA Strategic Partnership. This partnership, the only one of its kind with an African partner, is centered on enhanced political dialogue around issues of shared interest including climate change, the global economy, governance, bilateral trade, and peace 229

and security matters. In line with this, its action plan encompasses sectoral cooperation on a range of issues such as climate change, environment, education, science and technology, space, trade, migration, etc. Annual summits and ministerial and senior officials’ meetings steer the partnership along with the EU–South Africa Joint Cooperation Council. They provide the occasions to discuss current bilateral, regional and global issues.

Trade cooperation The European Union remained South Africa’s number one trading partner in 2011, accounting for 26% of the value of total SA trade flows. The EU is the most important destination for local exports, accounting for just over 22% of total exports from South Africa. Similarly, the EU remains the biggest source of SA imports at some 31% of total imports.

Development cooperation The European Union is South Africa’s most important development partner by far, providing close to 70% of all external assistance funds. The total indicative budget for the period 2007–13 amounts to €980 million, the largest bilateral envelope worldwide. The EU, its Member States and the European Investment Bank (EIB) annually invest in South Africa over €500 million in grants and loans. More information can be found at south_africa/ * Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.




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