Reflections of Melville Poetry Festival I
12 – 14 October 2012

This past weekend was inarguably my best of 2012. Nothing feeds me like a swarm of poets and intellectuals; intelligent souls indeed who never listened when their mothers told them never to try and change the world. This here is screwed up already. True, i often think that poets do really believe they can change the course of history. You pick it from how they have banished fear so they can speak their minds. In South Africa they are not scared to chop on Jacob Zuma and dare an acolyte to hate them for speaking their mind. I picked Zumaphobia (hahahahahah!) from Lesego Rampolokeng and Tumelo Khoza. White poets are scared of sniping darkie leaders lest they be called racist. But i think that’s an old paranoid narrative because the license to shoot Zuma is actually green and barcoded.

Medieval philosophers and poets tried and only left us with words and punchlines that matter hundreds of years later. Their generation called them crazy. How we find them interesting is primarily because we are scared of being labelled ‘counter-revolutionaries’ by the ANC. Flip a bird to that.

My past weekend was such. I arrived in arty Melville’s 7th Street on Friday afternoon after a long bus trip to a very interesting literature activity which’s tag i still need to ask Alan Kolski Howitz. Look, what was happening here at Lucky Bean Restaurant was a joint Wits Writing Centre and Botsotso venture where a few people are prescribed a Japanese short story book translated into English and written by this author i am ashamed to confess i forgot. They have to share with us their impression of a short story they read; then read from material they generated inspired by that short story or mused into it by the Japanese short story.

Actually here’s how it was marketed: [The mentor protégé writing group has been running at Wits and in Melville for three years. It consists of a variety of published writers all interested in cross fertilization and experiment. Two years ago the group wrote in response to the Senegalese writer, Boris Boubakar Diop, specifically his record of the Rwandan genocide, Murambi the Book of Bones. Last year the group wrote in response to the events of the Arab Spring. This year they have been inspired by the short stories of Akutagawa, the early 20c Japanese stylist. Hear what a diverse group of writers can produce given a common, artistically challenging theme.

Writers participating include Allan Kolski Horwitz, Bezi Phiri, Lwazi Mvusi, Paul Miles, Kgaogelo Lekota and Thabisani Ndlovu.]

Well, this was pretty interesting because i got to learn about different people’s approach to literature; informed by their backgrounds of course [socio-economic-political]. Truth be told white, black, brown and grey people don’t see things the same way. But then i’m not one of those who look for differences but similarities and i found plenty. This was called Mentor Protégé Readings.

Hailstorm came down and as I was connecting with MJ (Mashapa Machaba) and his manager Darula outside Lucky Bean we were forced to find solace into this activity again after i sneaked out to socialise. The night ended with the three of us devouring pizza at Camps Square and wiping our lips dry. Hahahaha

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