December 11, 2007

hybridization and slang in south african poetry

Filed under: literature,mphutlane wa bofelo,poetry — ABRAXAS @ 9:32 am


Ike Muila’s Iscamtho poetry:

Though there is an increase in the number of poets with poems that utilize hybridization, fusing English and African languages with slang\Iscamtho, Rasta and rap-speak, Ike Mboneni Muila of the Botsotso Jesters is probably the only South African poet who writes \performs solely in a mix of languages, and is very passionate, irrepressible and unrepentant in calling the playful mixing of languages and slanguages, the sampling of folk-songs and children’s tales and snap-shots of township and village scenes art\poetry: “I am into creative writing as a poet artist performer\ my narrative mix is in eleven languages spoken in south africa\ by and bye trapped in one poem \the so called tsotsi taal\ iscamtho lingo alive and kicking sense of humor in you and me\ mixing of languages into a witty lingo \ a language of identity \ a language of an ordinary person in the street \ a language of unity in diversity” His poems bodly declares that his mission is to make art\poetry out of the mixing of languages and slanguages, out of the recollection, reconstruction, re-mixing and adaptation of children game-songs, folk songs\African classics games\songs\township classics\ township tales and the exposition of everyday real-life stories in the streets, villages, townships and inner-city of Azania

As if in response to critics who questions the literary-ness\originality , like fellow poet Lesego Rampolokeng who charged him of writing his arse in Sophiatown, back spinning in dj mode, cutting and pasting to copyright children’s game-songs by taking them of the ground and locking them in a book, Ike Muila pronounces in a tongue-in-cheek poem, aptly titled ‘Velevele’ : “ Velevele…, I am only in command of spoken word mix masala\ mgosi chop deur mekaar\ chopper chopper chapies mingle mence mence\ by en bye by means meanwhilescrawling\ slicing cutting en pasting mix masala livingword\ across yourfountain pen african language \ connection if not someone else is \under banners of Iscamtho ground major I salute\ binne pozi jumptyd drank jy smere mere or jika\ skhambathi wise hier is nou my dozencrate \ dark en lovely mummy blues phola hierso\ mojo grend grend moja..”

Muila’s sampling of children’s games and folk songs is a deliberate articulation of the childhood experiences and socio-cultural environment that is a source of inspiration to him “Velevele is die dae se goetes of die dinge wat \ inspired me to write buddyscamtho \behind amabonda ne environment ya se kasi\ langikhulela khona as a bambino had an\ all-round inspiring impact on me a lot\ playing hide and seek black mampatile no no game”

The characters in his poems are not caricatures from the figment of the poet’s imagination but real people walking the streets of Mofolo and Venda. These people are not the robots and stereotypes we meet on TV and in Newspapers but people with diverse personalities, dreams and hopes, and they have a history, of which the story of Sophiatown, Skom and Fietas and the forced removals is an integral part of. :” ..people I associate with are amongst gawe mense\ comrade bras tigers van ou topies en taimas\ wat slim is\ a bo matwetwe mogoe se clever one site\ kom kry hulle dra die dae se vision forward ennet\ soos hulle is capable to lead the way soos mense\ wat ken hulle mission in life as buddys\ van toeka se dae vele.”

For Ike Iscamtho is not about a show of loquaciousness and gaming with words but an expression of a people’s way of living:”velevele…nomakanjani mr know it all\ ndangala spy poet in supreme isicamtho is a language of survival no wordplay about vele Velevele…”

One Response to “hybridization and slang in south african poetry”

  1. Thabiso Eudy Dipudi Says:

    This is something that u can not forget after reading