by Mbao, Wamuwi | Literature & literary studies
Published 07/10/2021 by Jonathan Ball Publishers SA in South Africa
Paperback | 256 pages
A unique anthology containing over five decades of protest poetry. ‘i may have been born on 27 April 1994 – but i was never born free.’ Mjiele MsimangContemporary poet Mjiele Msimang captures something of today’s zeitgeist in his poem ‘born(e) to the grave.’ But what of the past half-century of protest poetry in South Africa, a rich tradition born in response to colonialism, and fed by apartheid and a faltering democracy?in Years of Fire and Ash: South African Poems of Decolonisation, over fifty years of protest poetry are gathered in one single volume, bringing together some of the most remarkable and thought-provoking poems that have emerged from struggle. The animating impulse behind this collection of old and new voices is ‘decolonisation’, a term which has regained prominence over the last few years.
It allows us to perceive how different South African poets have placed their work in the world, and how that work might relate to the struggle for radical social transformation. Compiled by award-winning literary critic Wamuwi Mbao, this collection includes established voices such as HIE Dhlomo, Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali, Mongane Wally, Serote, Sipho Sepamla, and Es’kia Mphahlele, as well as prominent contemporary poets such as Vangile Gantsho, Lebohang Masango and Sihle Ntuli.