If Zuma were a poet ...'
MBABANE – South African poet and writer Phillippa Yaa de Villiers says she wishes President Jacob Zuma would speak about and accept his past mistakes.
De Villiers, who was making a presentation at House on Fire during the MTN Bushfire Festival on Saturday, said Zuma would do this effectively and easily if he were a poet.
She said the point of departure for the Republic’s leader would have been the public HIV/AIDS test he took.
"I was going to Haifa (Bulgaria) when Zuma had a public HIV/AIDS test, and I’m glad he took it. After getting negative results, if he were a poet, I wish he would have said more. If Zuma was a poet, I’d want him to speak out," de Villiers said.
She was speaking at ‘The Barn’ section of the festival where this new division was host to talks, live performances and exhibition.
The Barn looked at issues that encompass African humanism, HIV/AIDS, employment, nutrition and the creative industry in the context of Swaziland.
De Villiers, in clear reference to Zuma, said she felt fascinated by presidents who inspire art, which was why she had also written a poem titled ‘Tissue Paper’ that has to do with leaders.
People burst into laughter as she spoke about presidents inspiring art as this reminded them of the current burning issue of the controversial painting called ‘The Spear’ by South African artist Brett Murray, which shows President Zuma with his genitals exposed.
The South African poet said she had a thing about presidents because they represented the people and were the face of the nation they led.
"We were all excited when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.
"On the day of his election I even wrote a poem about him, about how we represent this person; the one to lead us to a higher destiny. But now, a few years down the line, well, we have come to realise that he’s also human like us," de Villiers said.
The poet has written a book titled ‘The Every Day Wife’ which contains many of her poems and people who listened to her presentation quickly rushed to get a copy afterwards.
Other poems she recited on the day include ‘Biscuit’, ‘The Quiet Conversation’, ‘My Son’, ‘Katherina’ and ‘Red Apples’.
She also delivered one titled ‘Bantfu Bahle’ which she composed after visiting Swaziland and learning that this means sunset.
Ode on female slavery
MBABANE – Local poet and writer Joy Ndwandwe received applause from the MTN Bushfire Festival crowd when she told of the existence of female slavery at the Matsapha Industrial Site.
She was speaking on African Humanism and referred to King Sobhuza II as one leader who encouraged gender equality, both at home and at the workplace.
Ndwandwe said when she conducted a study for Women Gone Rural she was proud to witness women weaving baskets as an economic empowerment occupation which did not expose them to any manipulation and also did not drive them from their homes as they woke up next to their husbands every day.
She said this was not the case with the women employed by some factories at the Matsapha Industrial Site who are subjected to inhumane working conditions and little pay.
"King Sobhuza II understood gender equity as he was raised by Queen Regent Labotsibeni (Gwamile), his grandmother, after losing his father at a young age. He had no choice, but to understand gender equity," the poet said.
Ndwandwe said King Sobhuza II understood and encouraged gender equity in the Swazi tradition context because Africans have a different kind of consciousness as opposed to westerners.
She made an example of an African family where both women and men would contribute to putting food on the table unlike the present modern days where one partner would be found watching television with remote control in hand while the other prepared the day’s meal.
She continued: "At the workplace, Sobhuza II encouraged a win-win situation. But now what is happening in Matsapha shouldn’t be happening. The women will have no choice but to sell their bodies."
Matsapha is well-known for having a high rate of prostitution and women who ply this trade can be visibly seen along the streets and drinking spots especially during the night.
Ndwandwe is author of the book ‘Akusiko Kwami Kwebantfu’ which is the legendary King Sobhuza II’s philosophy.
Joy Ndwandwe is such an enjoyable speaker. If you missed her talk at Bush Fire, do not despair! Joy is hosting a talk on Tuesday May 29, 5:00pm at Sifundzani High School. Come listen and participate in a robust and dynamic discussion! Entry E50 – 100% going to charity! Joy will also donate a portion of her book sales from this event.
May 28, 2012, 11:55 AM, Karly Southworth (karly.southworth@SHAMBAtrust.org)
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