Timbila Six (6) is here

After an almost forever lull that could have unsettled even a vulture Timbila 6 A Journal of Onion Skin Poetry finally rolled off the presses and hit the streets running late last year. Polokwane based but with tentacles as reaching as an octupus Timbila Poetry Project has been compiling this wonderful poetry anthology featuring who's who of alternative world writing for the past ten years, only interrupted by individual collections that steal the thunder from this always welcome compendium of literary excellence.

Timbila 6 was edited by Vonani Bila and Mark Waller and features 48 critical bards, two short stories, three essays and profiles of Mpho Ramaano (Talks with the Sun) and Magamana Eric Lubisi, a painter. It is a bulky 313 pages thick with works that probe, jests, mourns, bemoans, massages, heals, pokes fun and just plainly goes all out to unsettle people from their comfortable zones, whether it's a couch infront of a plasma screen or s bench infront of a transistor radio. Very few anthologies have carried 168 poems in one book, especially when poetry has to share space with prose. Some of the poets featured in this anthology and their literary styles are analysed by veterans such as Gary Cumminskey, Mzi Mahola and Spree MacDonald.

Interestingly enough this volume features among the poets Mpumalanga’s prolific journalist, gifted artist and motivational speaker Tshwarelo eseng Mogakane, for the first time published in a mainstream (though Timbila believes it's more alternative as in left) anthology in South Afrika. Mogakane contributes a healthy eight poems and for those who don’t know him well there’s an intense interview with him featured in Timbila 6. “beautiful woman/ and her beautiful man/ we lie on an ugly casket/ that appears like a beautiful bed/ filled with wreaths and bouquets/ flowing with electrical blood and toxic kisses/ urban mistletoe, we dive in matrimonial satires” he writes in Kamikaze Sex.

He’s got such probing poetry throughout his installment with titles like In My Own Image, Tha sun would not rise, Redemption of a dead ego, Piano Violence, Fat Poets, Ugly Poets and others.
Another Mpumalanga poet gracing the hallowed (some say 'august') pages of this anthology is Kopano ‘Soul Ink’ Dibakwane who contributes a hefty 12 poems dedicated to his ghetto, his self-destructive lifestyle, the girls he loved, his paranoia, his suicidal thoughts and the one that got away with a name Nomfundo, which loosely translated means 'the educated one'.

Wrestling his demons Dibakwane writes in lines from my heart, "mama I’ve just turned 21/ but you probably ain’t proud to have a failure for a son/ lately I’ve been fondling papa’s gun/ ashamed of the kind of man I’ve become”. On another poem he flip-flops and takes the political route, “black consciousness is my religion/ for i represent the slave/ that the master never sold/ i was sent to deliver a message/ from our angry gods”. This is the man who apologized to God for having a crush on his guardian angel.

Timbila 6 is made up of such beautiful, diverse, thought-provoking and deep works of literature. It features amongst other poets African National Congress Youth League Spokesperson Floyd Nyiko Shibambu, June Madingwane, Alan Finlay, Alan Kolski Horwitz, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Mzwandile Matiwana and many others. The editor, in his usual leftist trip wrote of the sociopolitical status quo, “Gender equity may be in line, but I sometimes hear of hungry bosses snatching the panties of vulnerable pretty and sensuous thighs behind closed doors, in what are called job interviews. There’s blackouts in all government buildings, but blowjobs and bleeding hears to unreported

It’s of such high quality that National Library Services and its provincial sisters will be doing an injustice to the country's learners and book readers if they doesn’t prioritise it in their next shopping list. It retails at R160, 00 and is available at all good stores. To fathom where to pick a copy please call (+27) 015 291 2088 or emailing timbila@telkomsa.net.

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