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Bhekisigcino Damasius Khawula PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 22:06

Bhekisigcino Damasius Khawula (1967 - ) was born in Umzinto, KwaZulu-Natal. He studied at Kenterton Higher Primary School, St. Mary’s, Impunga High School and Sibonelo at KwaMashu.

Khawula started writing in 2004 and has been working in the machinery unit at the Hulletts sugar factory for 21 years. He is inspired him to write by a love for his native country and young people. In an online interview he revealed:

I decided to write books so that the young ones could take something out of these books that I have written. Whether you are writing a film or writing a novel or writing a drama, for me the most important thing is that there must be a message that you are putting across to your readers.

Khawula writes in isiZulu and his books include a collection of poems titled Izingwazi Zanamuhla, a collection of short stories titled Inyoni Kayiphumuli and Imikhombe Iyenanana, a play which won at the Actua Press in 2009.

Yihlathi Leli is Khawula’s debut novel, and was published in 2012. The novel is about Mchithwa, a young man whose goal in life is to be a teacher. However, when a taxi driver offers to help him on the side of the road, Mchithwa gets roped into a world trafficking.

Yihlathi Leli won a silver award in the African Languages category at the Sanlam Youth Literature Awards (2012). Relebohile Nephawe described the book as “a good read” and listed it as inspirational in her Live Magazine article.

Khawula currently resides in Ntokozweni, Durban, with his wife and three children.

Selected Work

Excerpt from Yihlathi Leli (2012:2-3):

Bangena emotini yakubo kaMchithwa ligamanxa ihora lesishiyagalombili kusihlwa. Ntondolo walayitha iwunga yakhe wabhema kabili kathathu, wase enika uMchithwa. Waqala wenqaba ukubhema, kodwa ngoba uNtondolo uyamncenga wagcina evumile.

“Mchithwa, uyawuzwa ukuthi umnandi kanjani lo gwayi?”

“Umnandi kakhulu,” evuma uMchithwa.

“Lo gwayi ubizwa ngewunga, wenza umfana abe umqemane, abe namandla amaningi, aphinde abe nesibindi,” kusho uNtondolo.

“Ngizwa kahle Dlamini.”

“Ngicela ungisize nawe Mchithwa.”

“Ngikusize ngani?”

“Izandla ingani uyazi ukuthi ziyagezana.”

“Yebo kunjalo,” kuvuma uMchithwa, inhliziyo yakhe isisekhaya ngoba uyazi ukuthi unina ujahe ukumbona.

“Uyabona ukuthi le wunga yohlobo oluphambili ukuthi imnandi kanjani? Yingoba yakhiwa ngezithako ezithize, okuhlanganisa ama-ARVs. Manje inkinga esivame ukuhlangabezana nayo ukudingeka kwawo ama-ARVs. Lokhu okunye kutholakala kalula, mfo kaNcokwane.


2012. Yihlathi Leli, Cape Town: Tafelberg


Midlands Literary Festival 2015 Kicks off Tomorrow PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 August 2015 11:14

The Midlands Literary Festivals kicks off tomorrow at Ike's Books and Collectibles wish a great line-up of writers and a 10% discount on all books!  It is safe to assume that we are pretty excited.  Check out the programme for the festival over at LitNet.

Review of A Book of Rooms by Kobus Moolman PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 13:44

Review By Alan Muller

Even if I have the help only of yellowing snapshots, a handful of eyewitness accounts and a few paltry documents to prop up my implausible memories, I have no alternative but to conjure up what for too many years I called the irrevocable: the things that were, the things that stopped, the things that were closed off – things that surely were and today are no longer, but things that also were so I may still be.

It is with this epigraph, taken from Georges Perec’s W, or the Memory of Childhood (1975), that Kobus Moolman opens his newest collection of poetry titled A Book of Rooms.  Divided into four sections – Who, What, Why, and When – the collection traces the life of a South African man born with a “hole in his heart” and a physical condition that destines him to wear an orthopaedic boot.  Throughout this assemblage of narrative prose poems, the man grapples with his bodily afflictions, love, sex, an ineffectual father, and his obsessive desire to become a writer.  Although the collection does have a chronological narrative arc, these themes become pervasive obsessions that mostly boil just beneath the surface and yet sometimes erupt ferociously into the consciousness of the speaker.

Each entry, named after a Room of sorts, recounts a specific moment in the life of the man as he explores his past.  While these ‘rooms’ are more psychological that physical, the physicality of the rooms is nevertheless always palpably present.  This, I believe is one of the greatest strengths of the collection as Moolman, in A Book of Rooms as in his preceding collections, relentlessly explores the physicality of the human condition. The physicality of the collection itself explores a room that is not expressly included in the titles of the pieces: the Room of the Body.  The entries all conform to a rigid form of alternating long and short lines, mimicking the unbalanced gait of the man with one heavy orthopaedic boot.  While the narrative flows smoothly from one line to the next, the visual impact of the lines leaves the reader with a constant feeling of being slightly off balance; a constant reminder of the Room of the Body into which all people are locked.

Playing with the nature of memory and recollection, Moolman makes sparing use of punctuation, creating a flowing torrent of episodes and scenarios that bleed into each other and often digress and converge in the way human thought is wont to do.  The general mood of the collection is dark with glimpses of light and happiness that seem within the man’s reach but are then often brutally taken from or squandered by him.  The cover, a painting by South African artist Andries Gouws, is a visual reminder of this.  His oil painting, ‘Grahamstown residence room with red curtains’, depicts a dark confining room in a residence with thing red curtains drawn across a small window. The room is one that denies a view of a bright outside world while still allowing a glimpse of the light just beyond the curtains.

Moolman’s newest offering continues the work evident in his previous collection, Left Over, by exploring the themes of memory and the body, allowing the two collections to be read as companion pieces that would allow the reader deeper insight into the workings of this remarkable poet.

A Book of Rooms is published by Deep South.

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