Protest poet’s inspiration

Poems that protest against the social injustices of President Robert Mugabe’s failed rule have propelled Bongani Ncube, a Zimbabwean-born poet based here, into an instant hit with fellow Zimbabwean exiles.

Poet, Bongani Ncube, is popular in Johannesburg.
Poet, Bongani Ncube, is popular in Johannesburg.

The Plumtree-born Ncube (34), who failed to reach the standard Ordinary Level education after his father was killed by Mugabe’s notorious Gukurahundi operation in the 1980s, is now a crowd favourite at public gatherings in Johannesburg.

“My father was already suffering from Tuberculosis when he was arrested and tortured by the Fifth Brigade. That became a turning point for me,” Ncube told The Zimbabwean recently.

“After passing my Grade 7 certificate with flying colours, I applied for education assistance from the same government that had put me in that situation, but they did not assist me. As a result, I failed to proceed any further with my education.

“I have realised that mourning and complaining will not take us anywhere and that we have to do something to turn things around. When I look back at what I went through as a child and what I am going through now as someone who lives in a foreign land, I always get inspiration to write.”

Ncube, like many people, blames the Mugabe regime for the injustices he has suffered, but says his poems and plays are not meant to stir up tribal hate.

“I am not one of those people who believe that a certain tribe must be blamed for all the imbalances and injustices we are facing in Zimbabwe. It is the Mugabe government that is responsible and they are the ones that I blame, not just anyone,” explained Ncube.

Ncube’s poems, the most popular of which is “Lafa Elihle/Cry the beloved country” are performed in both Ndebele and English.

The writer is also in the process of editing a Ndebele novel, Mhlaba Awulaqiniso, loosely translated to mean that there is no truth in the world.

“The book recounts the troubles and dangers that villagers encountered during the liberation struggle,” he said. “The same villages are now being subjected to the same treatment and are exposed to the same terror by war veterans on political grounds.”

Post published in: Arts

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