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Steaming pot of prose, poetry, profiles, paintings…

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The content page lists 34 items. The cover story is on Fred Khumalo. The following writers feature Ngugi Wa Thiong’o Decoloniality in his Fiction and Zakes Mda, an extract from his upcoming novel Wayfarer’s Hymns. There is also an essay on Njabulo S. Ndebele’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela. There are items, poetry, short stories and essays, in isiXhosa, Kikuyu and Kiswahili.

The two pieces on the matter of the library – ‘an encounter with a library’ and ‘on reading, books & libraries’ – under the general title of “library matters” tells the story of education in South Africa. To one South African he came to a library by chance. To the other South African, ‘I was a library user before I could read.’ There is no prize for guessing who is who.

The sight of a new literary journal is a thing of joy and of sorrow. A thing of joy because it affirms the hope that springs eternally in the human heart. Never mind the many efforts at starting literary journals, which never go beyond vol. 1, number 1.

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There is what is called abiku-syndrome, something, a baby who makes the trip of birth and death many times and refuses to stay. This is the disease, which afflicts our literary journals. What are the reasons for these efforts not to survive? So many efforts end in failure in Africa. Why would the fate of literary journals differ? We hope this will stay with us for a while.

The heaviest part of this journal is the essay section. The essay on Professor Ndebele’s novel The Cry of Winnie Mandela has been mentioned. It is written by Ostia Ezeliora, Ph.D, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Wits Africa Research (African Literature), University of the Witwatersrand. It is followed by Grappling with anti-establishment broadcasting history of South Africa: On political communication and the ANC’s anti-apartheid radio freedom by Siyasanga M.Tyali, Ph.D, associate professor and Chair of Department (Communication Science, CHS) University of South Africa. This is followed by Rememorying of slaver: South African wine farms and intangible slave memory by Simamkele Dlakavu, lecturer, Gender Studies, University of Cape Town.

The three last essays are Elements of culture in health communication: An Isizulu translation of the photonovel an ounce of prevention as a case study, by Thandeka Maseko Academic Literacy and Language Development Unit, Centre for Teaching and Learning: University of the Free State, The changing topography of short story writing in South Africa, by Siphiwo Mahala, Ph.D Research Associate: Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria, Research Fellow: Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Johannesburg, and Decoloniality in the Fiction of Ngugi Wa Thiong’O by Brian Sibanda, Ph.D, Lecturer/Researcher, Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of the Free State.

At some future date, I hope to tackle Dr. Mahala’s essay along with his collection of short stories Red apple, dreams and other stories.

The short stories are a joy to read. Best Friends by Stacey Fru is followed by The head that won’t wear the crown by Babatunde Fagbayibo, a police run of the mill detective murder investigation. This is followed by What the old man had to say by Liso Zenani, a crime prevention story during the tragic period of cattle-killing and grain-burning in the land of AmaZhosa in the 1860s. Lowering the bar by Patrick Kenny is about the police and army mistreating one another in the townships and in the makeshift camps. This is followed by a short story in IsiZhosa Ngumntu Waphi LO? By Madoda Ndlakuse. The next short story is in Kiswahili by Anna Samuel Manyanza, KASRI YA WAKE WANNE.

The next item, under the rubric of short stories, is the Secret family recipes by Gloria Bosmann.

The poetry section begins with Nambu Wa Rifu by Vonani Bila followed by a Kikuyu poem by Maina wa Mutonya, Mattuhuhu Ma Wandahuhu and Rendezvous with the son of man – man of the people by Eugene Skeef. Two short poems MALOHLE and KGADIME both by Moses Seletisha close this section.

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An early section of Imbiza called features presents the works, or the thoughts of various artistes and writers. Koleka Putuma: permission to thrive and breathe, by Vangile Gantsho, Masoja Msiza fuses poetry with acting by Sandile Ngidi, The writer’s voice in a political, social and artistically-conscious world by Zukiswa Wanner, and finally a consultancy Writers’ inc – powering the might of the pen set up by Nozizwe Cynthia Jele, Angela Makholwa and Zukiswa Wanner.

Under the title What’s Cooking at the end of the journal are short and shorter book reviews and book mentions. The Story of the Forgotten Scientists by Lorato Trok (An Interview) by Nokuthula Mazibuko Msimang is the first of three short reviews. The other two are Joburg Noir: [edited by Niq Mhlongo] A Gathering Of City Troubadours by Outlwile Tsipane and Tshilidzi Marwala’s Leading in the 21st century: the call for a new type of African leader. There are four shorter book mentions: A family affair by Sue Nyathi, Miriam Tlali: Writing freedom edited by Pumla Dineo Gqola, Constructing hegemony: The South African Commercial Media and the (Mis) Representation of Nationalisation by Mandla J. Radebe and Phonemes, Graphemes And Democracy: The Significance of Accuracy in the Orthographical Development of IsiXhosa by Zandisile W. Saul and Rudolph Botha.

Only two or so typographical mistakes have been noticed. This shows that the journal has been put together with the most careful to details. For this issue Khehla Chepape Makgato is the featured artist. Four of his paintings are reproduced here.

There is no doubt that the journal packs quite an incredible load of scintillating articles and features that are simply mouth-watering. This present package is evidence of what readers can expect from future editions. May this pot never stop steaming such tasty poetry, prose and so on and so forth.

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South AfricaZakes Mda
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