Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Protest, Poetry and Love: A tribute to James Matthews with special guest Mongane Wally Serote

The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), Cory Library, the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA), the English Department, the School of Journalism and Media Studies and the History Department invite you to:
Venue: Barratt Lecture Theatre 2
Date: Tuesday, 28th April 2015
Time: 5.30pm
This Humanities joint event is celebration of James Matthews, famed protest poet since the 1960's of the anti-apartheid struggle era. In attendance to pay tribute to James Matthews will be his close friend and poetic comrade Mongane Wally Serote, himself a famed poet of the Black Consciousness era.
The main event of the evening will be an engagement and discussion between Mongane Wally Serote and James Matthews on the sources of their poetic inspiration, their understanding of art and the continuing struggle to create a new democratic society where the people shall govern - and the
place of love in this struggle. The current volume of James Matthews poetry, Gently Stirs My Soul, covering themes of mortality, love and ageing (with a butterfly wafting between them), will also be launched for the first time. The volume was produced in collaboration with Cory Library and the
The event will include poetry reading, and short presentations in tribute to James Matthews including by Prof Monica Hendricks on James Matthews and his iconic poem Cry Rage ! The event will be hosted by Prof Cornelius Thomas of Cory Library.
On the 29th April James Matthews and Mongane Wally Serote will attend the Ntsika Secondary Reading Club, which is a joint English Department and Friends of the Library project. The learners will read poems, ask questions and perform some of their own poetry written in response to the poetry of
Matthews's and Serote. This learner engagement is organized by Prof Sam Naidu of the Department of English who co-ordinates the Ntsika Secondary Reading Club.
All welcome !
JAMES MATTHEWS was born on the 24 May 1929 in the ghetto of Cape Town's Bo-Kaap. His passion for creative writing lead to his first published writing in 1946 at the age of 17. His poetic craft was shaped in the period of the 1960's in the crucible of dissident cultural ferment alongside writers and artists such as Peter Clarke, Richard Rive, Gladys Thomas and George Hallet. His first collection of poetry Cry Rage ! (co-authored with Gladys Thomas and published in 1972) became the first collection of poetry to be banned by the apartheid regime. Subsequent published poetry collections, many also banned, include: Black Voices Shout (1974); Pass me a Meatball, Jones (1977); No Time for Dreams (1981); Poisoned Wells and Other Delights (1990); Flames and Flowers (2000); Poems from a Prison Cell (2002); Age is a Beautiful Phase (2008, 2nd edition 2014). Fiction titles include The Park and other Stories (1972; reprinted 1983), The Party is Over (1997) and a range of short stories in edited anthologies. Matthews enjoys a legendary status as a poet who championed dissidence and resistance to the human devastation caused to Blacks by petty apartheid and Matthews did this outside the formality associated with poetic convention. His latest poetry volume Gently Stirs My Soul (2015) will be launched at Rhodes University on the 28 April.
MONGANE WALLY SEROTE was born on 8 May 1944 in Sophiatown. He was a seminal figure in the cultural renaissance in the arts ignited in the townships by the Black Consciousness Movement of the late 1960's and 1970's. Associated with the Soweto poets of the 1970's his poetry focused on Black resistance to the brutalities of apartheid and the experience of life, love and death in the township. Serote was arrested by the apartheid regime under the Terrorism Act in June 1969 and spent nine months in solitary confinement. His first published collection, Yakhal'Inkomo won the Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize in 1973. Subsequent volumes include Tsetlo (1974), No Baby Must Weep
(1975), Behold Mama, Flowers (1978), The Night Keeps Winking (1982) A Tough Tale (1987) and Third World Express (1992). In 1993, he won the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa and in 2004 he received the Pablo Neruda award from the Chilean government. He has served as chair of the parliamentary select committee for arts and culture, and is currently the CEO of Freedom Park, a national heritage site in Pretoria.