Book: Traces of My Thoughts
Author: Ezrom Maromo wa Sekgobela
Reviewer: Goodenough Mashego
The Voices of Africa film project two years ago unveiled a buried truth that has always dodged this province; that there are very consistent and conscious poets hidden behind the rising sun. Poets such as Cebisile Hlambo, Naledi Dlamini, Selby Mogane, the late Olgivit Gumede and Lucky Khoza. They carried this province's flag higher during the 21 episodes screened on SABC1.
Two years later another truth surfaces; there are poets with their own books in the province. The latest revelation is Ezrom Maromo wa Sekgobela whose poetry collection Traces of My Thoughts has just been unleashed. It's a portable 54 pages long interrogation of society and self by this prolific 34-years old-wordsmith, which comes to your in black and red. The glossy covered book, dedicated to so many people including '... the people of Mpumalanga Province' is made up of four chapters and thirty two poems.
On the chapter of Silent Thoughts I liked the poem In Foreign Lands which comes handy in our current socio-political dispensation. "in foreign lands/ we died clinch-fisted in protest/'we shall overcome'/ a conviction held till we transcended/ into the silent world of the dead'. It's relevant at a time when the memories of those who never saw the sought-after liberation have to be appeased by those who made it through. At a time when our loyalities are twisted and we are focused on material accumulation than creating marbles of rememberance.
Taiwa is a poem dedicated to the late jazz pianist Moses Taiwa Molelekwa. Sekgobela first published it in Sowetan-Sundayworld where it made such an impact that today the lines, 'Taiwa! I am incessantly haunted by the idea of how it would have been like had I known you' still ring gorier. 'Taiwa' it appears is also the name of one of his sons.
The two more chapters are Tears of Love and Inspiration of Nature which is where this Marketing Manager at the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) pays homage to the province, its natural resources and its diverse people. Here you find poems like Mpumalanga My Home, The Long Tailed Widow, Bridal Veil Waterfalls, The Caracal Attack, Lydenburg Heads and two others.
From this Mashishing native who now lives in Nelspruit Traces of my Thoughts is a book every Mpumalanga resident should aspire to own. 'Your cushioned womb begot luminaries and visionaries/ Dikwankwetla Bo Makwetla, Phosa, Masekela, Chikapa, Sekoto/ your children innumerable warm hearted and humble/ emulating your maternal love and embrace', he writes.
Not only because it's one of few coming out of poets from this province but also because its relevance to the daily reality of this population is gory.
I said to Sekgobela that this province deserves its own poetry Festival to celebrate its bards, he said we should discuss it with Arts and Culture. For now, his brilliantly written book should be available at Exclusive Books with a glittering cover designed by Nicholas P Hauser. I don't give 10 out of 10 to any book, and it's no different with this one.