A conversation with Makhosazana Xaba and Malika Ndlovu on Poetry, Trauma, and Healing
In her latest collection, which is the first of its kind in South Africa, ‘The Art of Waiting for Tales: Found Poetry from Grace –a novel’, Poet, Makhosazana Xaba reflects on how some words jump off the page and demand attention. In this wide-spreading conversation, the speakers will be exploring themes of violence, trauma and healing in Xaba’s latest collection and Ndlovu’s five collections of poetry. Through unpacking these themes, they will explore poetry as a vehicle of persuasive urgency and political imagination.
The speakers will aim to uncover not only issues relating to violence and trauma in Xaba and Ndlovu’s work, but further themes of grace, intimacy, creativity and the literary imagination. At the center of their conversation, as Ndlovu’s work continuously attests, they uncover poetry as a tool for (re)creating life, as people grapple with loss and bereavement. Ultimately, through Xaba and Ndlovu’s works, they will show these poets as being “testament to the utterly amazing healing power of creativity and black feminist imagination” as Barbara Boswell writes. Moreover, as Ndlovu’s (2022) forthcoming collection Grief Seeds attests, poetry allows us an opportunity to excavate the (re)generative nature of trauma and loss.
Professor Makhosazana Xaba is an award winning South African anthologist and short story writer. Her most recent edited volume Our word, Our Worlds: Writing on Black South African Women Poets, 2000 – 2018 was hailed as an instant classic and a winner of the 2021 Human Social Sciences Award. She is an essayist, poet and editor.
Malika Ndlovu is an internationally published South African poet, playwright, performer and arts project manager. For several years she was live festival and online curator/ presenter for the Africa Centre's Badilisha Poetry X- Change which pioneered an exclusively African poetry podcasting platform.
Dr Gcobani Qambela is a multi-award-winning distinguished educator and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg. He is President of the Anthropology Southern Africa association. He is the co-author, with Dr Warren Chalklen, of the Anti-Racist Teaching Practices and Learning Strategies workbook. He is working on two monographs focusing on ‘The Anthropology of Boyhoods’ and the interior lives of men living in conditions of economic and structural violence. He teaches Childhoods and Youth, Anthropological Theories and Medical Anthropology.