Escaping Trauma in a World that Encourages Confrontation - Sabata-Mpho Mokae

There’s nothing as intriguing, fulfilling and inspiring as reading work from an author you respect, like and who you can count amongst your friends and colleagues. I know in the so-called mainstream media it will be called a conflict of interest for me to voice objective opinions about Escaping Trauma, a poetry book by award-winning author Sabata-Mpho Mokae.

Ja, you are smarter than you thought; Sabata-Mpho comes from that dynasty of intellectual and souljahs of the arts. I don’t know if he’ll be impressed with me mentioning it but this family deserves a whole town named after it – and not Taung.

Okay; enough of hero-worshipping the living. Sabata is a journalist who has written extensively on various issues relating to literature. He is to literature what my brother Bongani Madondo is to everything ‘cultural’. Sabata has reviewed more books and spoken to authors, librarians, publishers and everyone on that value chain than any other Black journalist I know today. Barry Ronge has reviewed more films than anyone and Sabata is getting there with books. I think being based in Kimberley is useful because one can’t unconsciously fall into that Joburg trap of thinking you are a celebrity journalist and suddenly making news instead of writing them.

The one other person i know who has read as many books, maybe 30 times more across genres must be youthful Malaika wa Azania and artist Tshwarelo Mogakane. Interesting enough all these people I am mentioning have become intellectuals in their own right, commanding respect amongst those who know the difference between Homer and Shakespeare.

Sabata’s Escaping Trauma is made up of poetry spanning ten years and capturing various epochs of his interpretation of life in this vast pot-pouri country. You pick that immediately when he tells you, “those with beautiful hands/ do not die/ when they die/ works of their hands/ do not follow”; in his tribute to the late genius pianist Moses Taiwa Molelekwa – moses (molelekwa) did not die.

Molelekwa was of Sabata’s generation and they say no social mishap is scarier at reminding one that they will die like seeing your peers kaput infront of your eyes. He probably is of my generation as well as I also wrote in The Didn’t Die In Vain, “moses taiwa molelekwa genius fingers caressing keys/ give me that tune once again i’m in a mood for sexing”.
If I am not overstepping my license I think even a poet as youthful as Matete Motsoaledi and poet Ezrom Maromo Sekgobela have written something for Molelekwa. Fine, this post is about the poetry of Sabata and not disciples of Molelekwa.

Mokae’s appreciation for music is reflected through some of his works. The last time I had a one-on-one with him was during the Polokwane Literary Festival where as a connoisseur of words he travelled all the way from the Northern Cape to break bread with his brethrens and launch his novel Ha se nna Modisa (I’m not my Brother’s Keeper).
In my other incarnation I work closely with his cousin, literary giant and filmmaker Dr Gomolemo Mokae and I say without fear of contradiction that Sabata might have written a lot for his short space of existence, but in many’s opinion his time is still in the horizon. He is still an unpolished diamond that is recognisable to those who have seen the gem in its rough state. Those used to the glitz must wait for some time before they finally find themselves failing to resist this writer. And you know what they say about diamonds?

Escaping Trauma is a beautiful artwork with lots of dishes for all consumers of poetry. The poet is not trying to be something he isn’t. The collection is a mirror of the person. And if you have a comprehension of artistic aesthetic, rest assured this is a book for your summer jol and beyond.
This collection of 50 peoms should be available at bookstores that know what literature is. If it’s not there tell them to order it for you. Or alternatively find Sabata-Mpho Mokae on Facebook and discuss your frustrations with him.

TO COMMENT ON THIS POST GO TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE: THE Kasiekulture BLOG & write your comment on the wall

No comments:

Post a Comment

Dear Commentator

Kasiekulture encourages you to leave a comment and sensitize others about it. However due to spammers filling this box with useless rhetoric that has nothing to do with our posts we have now decided that to comment you have to go to our Facebook Page titled THE Kasiekulture BLOG. We will not authorise any comments. Apologies for the inconvenience.