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New Era Newspaper Friday September 8, 2017

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24 POETRY entertainment

24 POETRY entertainment Friday, 08 September 2017 | NEW ERA Koleka Putuma, a groundbreaking new voice Sabelo Mkhabela Cape Town South African poet Koleka Putuma is a rockstar. She’s not playing by the rules and her poetry is direct without being a cliché. The Cape Town-based poet’s debut anthology, Collective Amnesia, which was released in April this year, was accompanied by visuals – both photography and videos – something you don’t see in South Africa. She went against the odds when she released the book. “I remember a veteran writer that I had great respect for telling me: ‘Publishing a book of poems in South Africa? You will be lucky if you sell 200 copies in your book’s lifetime, and be grateful if 20 people show up to your book launch. Just know you are doing it for you,’” she once mused in a Facebook post just after her successful nationwide book tour in June. “So here we are, and in less than three months since its release: a national tour, 13 cities, 17 launches, a prescribed text for second-year university students, four print runs, 2,000 copies later.” “She was born in 1993, and [her book] is already being read in Stellenbosch (University) and UCT (University of Cape Town),” Milisuthando Bongela, editor of Friday, the arts and culture section of the newspaper Mail & Guardian says. This is during one of the three Johannesburg stops of Putuma’s book tour, which had other stops in places such as Durban and Eastern Cape “I’ve never seen anyone do that,” Bongela continues. And when you get inside the book, you see yourself for once. The most powerful thing for me about this book, is that this person who was born in 1993 was never meant to experience apartheid or any sort of discrimination, has now written a book that archives her experiences in this so-called free country that we live in.” Before Putuma opens the event with a reading from the book, Afurakan, another revered poet and co-founder of the poetry movement Word N Sound, has a few words of introduction. “At this stage,” says Afurakan, “I would say she’s the dream of the work that we do as a company – to be able to give young poets space for them to perform, to express themselves and watch them run with that opportunity and turn it into something he encountered Putuma. It was during the organised by Word N Sound in 2014. “Everyone had props,” Afurakan says when describing the competition. “It was dramatic, but Koleka, with just three simple poems, won the slam. And she took that little credibility that came with that and ran with it. And three years later, look where she is now, with an award for directing, a 2016 PEN SA Student Writing Prize (for her poem Water), and she just launched a book.” Putuma’s sharp eyes scan the room, as she stands up with a wry smirk to read her 1994: A Love Poem – a tongue-in-cheek take on white South Africans’ juvenile obsession with late apartheid struggle hero and former South African president, Nelson Mandela. It’s a poem that stylistically references meme culture. “I want someone who’s going to look at me and love me the way white people look at and love Mandela,” she pauses “You don’t know love until you’ve been loved like Mandela/ You don’t know betrayal until you’ve been loved like Mandela/ You don’t know fuckery until you’ve been loved like Mandela…” Her readings take me back to the few events I’ve seen her perform at in Cape Town. Her book Collective Amnesia includes some poems she has read before. One of the most prominent being ‘Water’, which is one of her most popular pieces to date. “It’s surreal to hold an anthology of someone who speaks the way I do – with slang, making reference to the internet, hip-hop, Oppikoppi, Nike, God’s medical bill, and has no economy for expletives. “The South African publishing industry has its own types of books that it favours, and Collective Amnesia just wouldn’t normally make the cut.” Which is why Putuma’s book is a special moment. She was born only one year before elected president. She is one of the many voices of our generation that doesn’t have any memories of apartheid, but is feeling its repercussions and based violence, patriarchy, homophobia and the like. Collective Amnesia is written in a quirky and unconventional way. For instance, the poem Apartheid, which consists of just a title and a footnote, is an intense one-liner that and then realise how little has changed in post-apartheid South Africa for black people. The poet celebrates and mourns her blackness, woman-ness and queerness through the book’s three sections – Inherited Memory, Buried Memory and Post-memory. Writer Maneo Mohale described Collective Amnesia best in her review of the anthology on the Mail & Guardian. “The book reads as a deeply personal shifting politics of identity, in a country that is still deeply troubled by the past’s complicated legacies.” And indeed, Collective Amnesia does come from a lot of personal experiences. “Before this book, about two years ago,” Putuma explains during the discussion she’s having with Bongela and Mashile. “I used to look at my mother and my auntie’s choices and think, ‘Why would you stay? Why would you choose that in that particular situation?’ But after writing this book and having experienced things as a black woman, I learned that, in that particular situation, your mother and aunt chose silence so that they could live, or so that there could be peace in the house, so that they could eat.” “What I like about this book, beyond talking about whiteness, white people, and white supremacy,” says Bongela, “[is that it touches on] this very with the bullshit that’s happening in our families. which is necessary, but then when it’s just us, ah, out. We as black people know what’s going on in this book.” On the poem ‘Memoirs Of A Queer Slave & Queer Person’, which is just four lines long, Putuma writes poignantly about the dangers of being queer in South Africa: “I don’t want to die with my hands up or legs open.” In ‘Xmas Dinner With Skeletons’, she writes about domestic sexual violence: “Your perpetrator has your uncle’s eyes and his cheap brandy breath/ How many abortions have fallen out of your mouth while counting the men in your life.” On Black Solidarity, she talks about the hypocrisy of black male activists, and the sexism and patriarchy of such men: “How come your revolution always wants to go rummaging through my underwear?… How come references to your revolution are limited to Biko and Fanon and Malcolm?/ Do you read?/ Your solidarity, it seems, is anchored by undermining black womxn’s struggle.” “If you are a black womxn in this country, you either get a bullet in your head, and they kill you fast, or they kill you slow over the course of a lifetime,” Mashile says when her turn to speak comes. She starts by referencing her experience as a black womxn poet in South Africa; how the media never focused on her work, but her celebrity and fame. “None of us are spared,” she continues. “It’s important to have tools that are going to be a lifeline for you, and I think this book is a lifeline for the second-year students who are studying in the most racist institutions in this country. “It’s a lifeline for all the young womxn who are working in corporate South Africa, who follow Koleka’s work online. It’s going to be a lifeline for anyone who feels invisible and unheard, and who needs the reality to be validated.” Mashile’s face beams as she admits to being an avid follower of the young poet’s work, and how she admires her methods of getting her work out. “She’s exploding the model of South African literature, which is a wonderful thing,” Mashile says. “She is emerging, and with authority, to claim her space and audience. The fact that she is now on her third print, and the book has just come out is extraordinary. I’m watching with hawk eyes, dedication and admiration, because you are inventing a new model for us in South Africa. And it’s important. “The work that you are doing is very necessary. The people who you are opening the way for… there are young girls who will be reading this work to survive, and not drink pills and take their lives. Ten to 15 years from now, they will reference and thank you.” As she sits now, there is a slide show of recurring portraits of the poet on a screen behind Putuma. The images were shot by photographer Andiswa Mkosi. One audience member asks her about the collaboration with Mkosi, to which Putuma responds, “This was not going to be the cover of the book. There was another cover that I wasn’t excited about. she asked me was, ‘what are you trying to say in this book?’” Mkosi asked Putuma about the themes in the book and read some parts of the anthology. “Then she said,” continues the poet. “What I’m getting from it is things or faces and names that have been hidden, now being unveiled.” So the theme for the photography was about hiding and an unveiling. “Unveiling memory, amnesia, stories of black mothers and white babies and us playing with our dolls, and black womxn,” she says. “Initially not all of them were supposed to be in public like this,” she says pointing at the screen. “We were supposed to choose one for the cover. But they were so beautiful and said so many things about the work that I was like, “I will take them wherever I go.’” The images are currently on sale as prints, independent of the book, because Putuma’s imagination just goes beyond the box that has been placed around artists. What her next move is, one may never know, and that’s the beauty of being her fan. –

Friday, 08 September 2017 | NEW ERA entertainment 25 29 The other lifestyle FILMS Home Gardening: Spring is the ideal season to start growing your own garden. Imagine harvesting fresh, nutritious vegetables and fruit straight from your backyard! Consider planting potatoes, onions, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, guavas, pears or apricots as the soil begins to warm up. If you enjoy the sight and scent of or on your lawn, they will provide a welcoming treat for your visitors. can plant such as tulips, daffodils, roses and lilies. Create a compost pile for your seeds; make sure your garden receives enough sunlight and water the soil with a watering can. Personal growth: If you have given yourself some new year’s resolutions earlier on in the year, now is a good time to examine your progress. There is no use in stressing out if you haven’t achieved everything you want yet. Just re-evaluate your goals and get back on track with your plans, and don’t allow procrastination to become a habit. Some of your objectives can seem overwhelming when you look at them from a goal-oriented perspective but your vision will become clearer when you write down weekly or daily to-do lists. Be your own cheerleader and motivator, and above all learn to love yourself for who you are inside and outside. Getting In Shape: During winter, you may have indulged in some decadent treats, and the bundles of clothes that you wore helped to hide the extra weight gain. Spring is here and the warm weather allows you to show some skin, so now you realise that you are not in shape. Start out by reducing the junk food, eating more vegetables, fruit and drinking Pinehas Nakaziko Windhoek Film lovers will be able to enjoy the free screening of some of the best local short films at the Wernhil Park Atrium tomorrow. Local film production company Optimistic Media in conjunction with Namibian Film Commission (NFC), has organised the screening to give local audiences the opportunity of seeing the films. It will also give them a chance to voice their opinions on the production quality of the films. At the same time, the film fest will give filmmakers an idea of whether audiences would like to see more local content and whether a need exists to produce more local films. Some of the short films featuring at the event include ‘Try’ directed by Joel Haikali, ‘Tjiraa’ by Krischka Stoffels, ‘Uushimba’ by Khama Nakaduugileh and ‘Shortcut’ directed by Blos Amunyela. Tomas Amakali, who enjoyed watching the film Uushimba, says he cannot wait to watch his favourite local films on the big screen. He adds that screening the films free of charge offers local filmmakers a great opportunity to gain recognition among a wider section of the public. “Most people don’t have money to buy the DVDs or go to cinemas to watch the movies. I guess this is a better way to promote local films by screening them at a public venue like Wernhil Park,” he says. Many people complain that they don’t know where they can find Namibian films or where to watch them, but through this public cinema fest, they will have the chance to interact with filmmakers face to face. The organisers say this will help to identify ways to improve the visibility and accessibility of the films in Namibia. This will be the first time such screening has taken place with an outreach programme to other areas planned to follow. Event coordinator Gustav Nuuyoma, who also acts in one of the short films, plenty of water. Include some workout activities such as walking and aerobics in your weekly schedule, or sign up at a local gym. Strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and very soon, you will look and feel wonderful. Wardrobe Update: The cold weather is trends in spring wear. Before you splurge on new attire, draw up a budget and decide how much you can afford to spend on clothes, shoes and accessories. When it comes to style choices for this season, it’s all about bright hues, vibrant patterns, solid stripes and bold prints. Pair up bold patterns with neutral colours to achieve a cohesive look or mix boldprinted items to create fabulous ensembles. Have fun experimenting with different colours and fabrics. Spring Cleaning: Make room in your closet clothes. You need to wash blankets before storing them until next winter. Dirt can accumulate in areas of your home and if there is, too much clutter; tidily store away your heater, dust the air-conditioners and ceiling fans. Thoroughly clean your carpets, rugs and wash your curtains plus the windows. Clear out any expired products from your kitchen and wipe your refrigerator meticulously. A clean home produces a relaxing atmosphere for you and your family. Beauty Ndapanda is a lifestyle blogger/writer. Her articles include wellness and beauty tips to help readers look and feel their best, while her topics on introspection examine thoughts and emotional processes for navigating through life’s ups and downs. – Taste of local... Here we see a snapshot of the movie ‘Uush- will be able to view free of charge tomorrow at the Wernhil Atrium during the public Cinema Fest. encourages the public to come and watch the films, give their opinions and encourage filmmakers in the industry to tell the country’s own stories. “Such a platform can encourage people to pursue a career in filmmaking and acting or take up any other role in film making such as becoming make-up artist, lighting, gaffers, production designers, script writers and many other roles involved in film making,” Nuuyoma says. H e a l s o c a l l e d o n filmmakers to come and interact with audiences on various topics surrounding the filmmaking process and to provide input on how the film industry in Namibia can grow. Organisers also called on those interested in film to come take pictures with s o m e o f t h e N a m i b i a n actors present at the film fest and ask them questions. The event will start at 9:30 a.m. in the morning and continue until 2 p.m. in the afternoon. NSK Industry What's the point?! From time to time, you see corporate brands out in full swing with entertainers and radio stations doing product promotions and outside broadcasts. This would be the case at strategically targeted spots around the country, be it at malls, parks, bars etc. The point is to bring a product/service closer to the target market and to bring a human face to a corporate brand. In carrying out these activities and outside broadcasts, it would be customary to have sound; a DJ, an MC and the radio stations all activating the corporate brand by means of music, fun and games. Customers of these corporate brands would normally only see their product/service on TV and in newspapers or hear about their service on radio. So activations and outside broadcasts are really a golden opportunity to breathe life into a corporate brand. Companies spend a lot of money on these activations and outside broadcasts. Hiring an agency to take care of all the logistical requirements for the activations and for outside broadcasts to be a success, to booking sound, professional entertainers, the site and promotional items all costs money. Growing up in the windy streets of Kuisebmond as kids, we would look forward to Saturday mornings because there would always be promotions at Shop4Value or in town at Shoprite. Today most of these brands that would excite me as a kid are either my professional clients as an entertainer or I am a loyal customer of their brand. I remember the heavyweights back than were Ou Chrizzo a.k.a. the Top Score, Ninja, Websito, DJ Paulo and the Equipped Dancing Academy with names such as Viro, Moria, Sebastian and Stanley featuring! Basically, activations and outside broadcasts are a Namibian way of life. What annoys me today as a professional entertainer is seeing my clients bend over not to “offend” anyone at these sites. What am I talking about? I am talking about those grumpy old a$$ managers who limit the sound level at these promotions. I have been activating corporate brands for years now, and to this day, I still do not understand how these site managers expect us to activate in silence! Because that’s the biggest challenge we face right now. We, as entertainers, have to activate these brands championed by agencies. We have to deal with the boring, grumpy managers at these sites who literally make it impossible for us to do a proper job by demanding we reduce the sound level. Agencies manage most of these corporate brands today. I don’t think agencies are so dumb that they would just come to a spot and make noise. No! Agencies plan these promotions to the very last detail. One such detail is to let site managers know in ADVANCE that music will be playing, fun and games will be the order of the day led by a hyperactive MC. agers complaining about “sound” EVEN though EVERYONE seems to be enjoying the activations. This despite being informed that yes…ultimately we will make noise!!! What is the point of a promotion if you are not attracting people to your product? Normally most of these promotions usually just run for three hours. Just three damn hours!!! Are you telling me you can’t take one for the team? Come on man! If your site is sort of some holy ground… then please do not allow companies to have activations at your site. It’s unfair that you take money from these companies for the site but you end up making it impossible for us to do our work. You can’t have your bread buttered on both sides. Decide today… no activations at all at your site or allow activations but then they will need to go full steam. Today’s generation will never be able to experience the excitement we experienced as kids because of your boring grumpy nature! Hou op assablief! Loosen up and dammit lets have fun! Og! Until the next loop, we say “GMTM”! Song of the week: Jayden - Doing Me Flop of the week: DJ Castro - My World (dope song but weak visuals) NSK is a professional MC. For bookings, email naobebsekind@ or tweet at @naobebsekind (twitter)

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167