Dambudzo - Jabulani Mzinyathi

‘Troubling’ the racist Rhodesian system
That one man demonstration
Little David against Goliath
‘Trouble’ in faculty corridors
From the University of Rhodesia to Oxford
Pursuing prancing poetry and prose.

‘Troubling’ them at the Guardian fiction prize
‘Troubling’ those that could not cross
The racial divide in matters of the heart
‘Troubling’ the greedy and the corrupt
Seeing the revolution derailed
Were you trouble, Dambudzo?

With those allusions to Greek mythology
Still ‘troubling’ us in symposiums
The person that became the poetry
That immortality secured
Dambudzo you cannot be remembered
That is the beauty of your art.


LS said...

I suppose one has to think of how the personalities of poets/artists etc filter into their work. Most poets write with a mask on, and that is crucial since it permits one to maintain some distance between the poet and his/her body of work.

But every now and then one comes across poets like Marechera, Okigbo, etc, who bring some of their personal baggage into their work, and that tends to make other poets around them quite uncomfortable; and they are thought of as destabilising, or some such other adjective. Africa has always been a continent of conformities.

I mean when Marechera writes lines like:

Here comes one who in silence
Howled a thousand torments
One who behind polite phrases
Screamed terrible curses to the sky;

he is on the one hand telling you that the world is not all that safe place just because one might wish it to be so. He also removes his mask and lets you into what may be some of his own private pain.

The irony is that only when they are gone; and therefore safely beyond reach does their work become a sort of yard stick by which every other poet of their generation/country/region etc is measured; sometimes unfairly for the rest. Yet it is the same society that produced them all; but these few pay a higher price. May he always rest in peace.


Unknown said...

ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm well said indeed. new and useful insights.

LS said...

thanks Jabulani,

I understand the long disfluence, I admit I may be engaging in a bit of sideways thinking here; DM will always be the tongue of lightning that sets fire to both the dry grass and the green grass.