15 February 2010

african poetry on a national (US) broadcast?!?

Indeed! Amazing as it is, some small segment of the poetry community of the Continent actually broke into a national broadcast with -- gasp!! -- poetry (instead of... oh, something like bringing Wole Soyinka on to talk about the crisis in the Niger Delta).

As part of its Emerging Cultural Voices from Africa series, National Public Radio's Morning Edition presented a piece on A Voice for South Africa's Post-Apartheid Generation way back on 7 August 2009 (this piece has been held in draft since).

It is a brief story about the South African poet, Lebo Mashile (and nominally, by extension, the "born-frees" -- those who came of age in South Africa after the demise of Apartheid). There are snippets of Mashile's readings and performances and she offers up the rather perplexing (to me) notion that growing up in the United States was good preparation for living in South Africa: "it helped me to understand my identity as a black person globally."

Though I think one of the most telling and spot-on comments in the story is offered up by a young man identified only as Mpho Slenda Lakaje: "we have to live our lives in such a way that it's not apologetic. We are the generation that's going to lead this country, for sure."

For sure. But unapologetically? Hmmm...
Some additional links of interest:
Side note: Mpho "Slenda" Lakaje happens to be the BBC's reporter in Johannesburg. Does it "matter"? Not really. But it seems to me a rather artful omission in Ofeibea Quist-Arcton's reporting: lending additional township "cred" and authenticity by implication...

No comments: