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Victor Dlamini

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category

Podcast with South Africa’s Great Homme des Lettres, André Brink

André P Brink

André Brink is one of the world’s major writers – and has been so for several decades. He is best-known as a novelist, but has also distinguished himself as a lecturer, poet and essayist. An homme des lettres of the kind that are far and few between in South Africa, his fascination with language can be felt in all his writings.

Brink’s books, such as An Instant in the Wind, A Dry White Season, Rumours of Rain and The Other side of Silence, established his ability to tackle head-on Africa’s “big” subjects in in fiction, colonialism, Apartheid, and a rapidly changing world. Join me on the Victor Dlamini Literary Podcast and hear Brink share how he developed as a writer, what led to his discovery of the power of language and how the distance supplied by 1960s Paris helped him to see very clearly the dark evil that was Apartheid. (Some of this is also set down in his latest work, A Fork in the Road, which records his memoirs.)
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Podcast with Master Storyteller Gcina Mhlope

Gcina MhlopeSinging ChameleonIt is often said of the supremely talented that they possess gifts that are innate – that they are born for their craft – and in many ways this reflects our belief that, beyond a certain point, no amount of personal effort can explain success. Gcina Mhlope is a storyteller who has been the object of observations like these. She doesn’t tell, but performs her stories, blending movement, dance and song into her delivery. Hers is a style that invokes the jazz vocalist as much as the praise singer or imbongi, and even carries the touch of the griot.
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Podcast with Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile

This Way I Salute YouKeorapetse KgositsileIt is his ability to capture, in movingly lyrical poetry, his very deep love for the musicians who brought us jazz – the stand out art form of the 20th century – that has endeared Keorapetse “Bra Willie” Kgositsile to lovers of poetry. Keorapetse is South Africa’s Poet Laureate: a fitting role for a writer whose work is littered with lines that elevate the human spirit and oppose all that limits freedom. But it shows the measure of the man that, even as he performs his official duties, he has maintained the delicate balance of the celebrated griot – the one who praises and chastises his patron and society in the very same moment.

In his collection, This Way I Salute You, Keorapetse pays homage to jazz artists with distinctive voices on their chosen instrument, whether it be the trumpet of Hugh Masekela, the double-bass of Johnny Dyani, the saxophone of John Coltrane, Billie Holiday’s delicate and Nina Simone’s gruff vocals, or the incomparably beautiful singing of Cassandra Wilson. He also pays homage to other poets, like Senghor, and it is an affirmation of his status as a proponent of Pan Africanism that his references to African leaders cut across the arbitrary borders that were the result of the Scramble for Africa.
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Podcast with Anne Landsman in New York

The Rowing LessonAnne LandsmanReading Anne Landsman‘s The Rowing Lesson, one is reminded that the divisions between prose and poetry are not natural – that these words, “prose” and “poetry”, mostly serve external, classificatory purposes. Death, a very slow death, is the subject of this novel, and Anne brings to her subject a language that is highly charged, as Betsy Klein contemplates the impending loss of her father. It is a language at once of prose and poetry – of loss, memory, imagination, belonging and grief. Harold Klein and his daughter engage in vigorous conversation through Betsy’s rememberings even though Harold lies comatose in a Cape Town hospital bed – and we believe it.
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