Words – tool for liberation

JOHANNESBURG - With words ablaze and dropped jaws the grassroots poetry caravan hit Johannesburg last month. The Heart of Africa and Free Your Mind Publishing, with support from the University of Maryland, conducted a week-long poetry tour of Johannesburg, Soweto, Vaal Triangle and

many other townships.
The tour featured two of the USA’s leading spoken word artists, Omi Kongo and Umeleni, top South African poets and Zimbabwe’s own Comrade Fatso. Workshops were lead by the artists, who have all faced obstacles and injustices as youth in the US and Africa. In addition to teaching the prepared curriculum the touring poets shared their own experiences as testament to the fact that the performance arts can serve as a life preserver in even the bleakest of times. The word will be used as a tool for liberation Comrade Fatso (Samm Farai Monro) is one of Zimbabwe’s most popular poets, combining poetry with the struggle for freedom. The grassroots poetry caravan included workshops for disadvantaged school children, community performances and outrageous poetry concerts.
The Streets
Walkin’ the streets everyday
No job, no pay
From City to Msasa
Zvikanzi ‘Hapana basa’
How would you feel
If you got a raw deal
No school, no university
No job, no opportunity
Let them come down here
See what it’s like year after year
They put on their cocoa butter
While we spread out in the gutter
Ivovo vane dzimba
Isusu tine Chapomba
Ivovo vanoenda ku Stars
Isusu tinoatengesa
We try to hustle
They call us criminal
We sell drugs
They call us thugs
Asi we struggling to get by
While they sit high in the sky
These Borrowdale crooks, High class tsotsis
Give us dirty looks but they real thieves
They live in comfort ’cause of our sweat
They live in credit ’cause of our debt
They drive pajeros and live in luxury
Thanks to the povo thanks to the misery
Asi inzwa ka shamwari
They are few, we are many
Vari madhara, Tiri ma youth
‘Cause the rot can never stop the truth!

Post published in: Arts

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