Thursday, August 2, 2012

Launch of Jamala Safari’s The Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the Gods at The Book Lounge

Jamala will be in conversation with Lauren Beukes, author of the award-winning Zoo City, on Thursday 2 August at 5:30 for 6:00 PM.
See you there!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jamala Safari at the 2012 Franschhoek Literary Festival

What a fabulous time I had at the 2012 Franschh
oek Literary Festival! Thanks for the FLF team for the invitation. My gratitude to the wonderful and enthusiastic audience, you listened carefully and passionately, and interacted with me with great interest– much love. I enjoyed the company of Elaine Proctor (Rhumba) with whom I shared the discussion table as we were interviewed by Meg Vandermerwe (This Place I Call Home).

The Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the Gods

Dear readers, I would like to introduce you to my debut novel " The Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the Gods" coming out in July 2012. The novel is being published by Umuzi, a South African branch of Random House Struik. This is story will stay with you!
Risto Mahuno’s agony is what happens to his sweetheart Néné, to his cousin, and to himself. In the east of the Congo, where the border with Rwanda is also the border between life and death, the boys are abducted and forced to become soldiers, the girls raped. Far too much happens for 15-year-old children. Néné is claimed by the warlord, Risto’s cousin killed, and Risto, his eyes already dead, is beaten to the brink. His fate flings him south, on a fraught journey by foot or whatever ride he can get, to Mozambique, where he arrives with even less of himself left. And yet the gods are laughing, for Risto’s journey back holds promise of love, peace and family. Risto’s story is based on real experiences.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Somewhere in Somalia

Somewhere in Somalia
A child stretches on the ground
It is not a sandy beach of Copacabana
But a hot, burning soil
Heated by the rage of a blazing Sun

I count 24 rib bones
Then almost 206 bones of his whole body
There is no muscle
I can’t find veins too
They are glued to his dried bones

Aside a vulture watches
In vain the body tries to move
The body tries to cry
There is no voice
Because there is no breath

© Jamala Safari, 26 July 2011

Saturday, December 4, 2010

poem: Alive


So many times you bury me
in the coffin of your cynical mind
your poisonous tongue burns
my fragile bones in stigma of its slanders

Even though each dawn I kiss the golden
lips of unborn day, rays twinkling
on the mountain top above breathing seas
i awake in the grief of aching bones
but still I am alive –still I breathe

I breakfast my bitter pills
spiced in syringe injections
to hold the little life I share with
virus colonies –HIV-AIDS

still, you bury me with words of your mouth
but if only you would listen to my testimony
and walk on my side with open eyes
your cursing words would turn into blessing wishes

I inherited the sword of death in my flesh
orphaned in human wars of desire and love
though I carry the shadow of death within me
i am still on in the heroic marathon of life

I live in slogans and chants of men and women
with no stigma over HIV and AIDS
i am the twilight of hope in nocturnal eclipse
the comrade of spiritual and scientific battle
i am the resurrected miracle of human faith

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jamala at the Empty Tin Can Reading season 2

at the Empty Tin Can 2 reading:

Enjoy it!

Portrait of African wisdom

I seat down caressing
The skin of the universe
It heart beats and blinks
Through the canvas portrait
Of a Surma old man
It is a naked soul of a pure life

The old man’s face rekindles
The emotional birth of time
Millions wrinkles on his face in
Millions paths to hidden treasure
Earthed in journeys crossed
And battles fought and won

I try to deeply touch each line
Feel each tear of his eyes
Touch each smile of his face
It is a flesh of a soulful quest
Buried in sight of crossed centuries
That thrills the pace of my blood

It is a wheeze of an African wisdom
That yells on each facial hump
That roars in each façade I touch
A soothing breathe of savannah wind
Shaking coconut trees on African shores
That transcend in blinks of the old man’s eye

The man is a colour of history
With a skin of fermented years
Layer of ripple marks of Kingdoms
And Africa breathes in his nostrils and
Africa sings and speaks through his mouth
It is a portrait of African wisdom
That stands like a baobab in a savannah

© Jamala 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The traveler’s memory

The traveler’s memory

Tell me tortoise-like travelers
Where do you hide your heartily eyes
When you crisscross lands and shores
Of spicy tales and wondrous melodies

Do you seat on the riverside
Inhaling the breath of whispering
Rivers and lakes of showery tales
Depicted by the ancient ones

Or do you roam like a lost buck
In green pastures grazing
and swallowing each story
Its flesh and bone as purely offered

When you kneel beside the grinding maize stone
Pounded like maize with the chronicle of the ancestors
Holding dearly each words of their mouth and
Keeping them in the secret corner of your heart

Do you see in their story their pure heart
Untainted, unstained, pure like their water
Coming out of magical rocks and stones
And like snaking pathways in green fields

At the harvest celebration feast
When spirits are undressed
Naked, revealed to your eyes
save and cherish each moment dearly

Tell me hibernator travelers
Looking for sunrays in thatched villages
Where do you hide the wisdom of
these mysterious African roads

In clamorous songs of shepherds
In ritualistic melodies of these young spirits
aspirant to manhood and womanhood within them
echo the voice of their gods and goddesses

do you hold each bead of each story and song
in your palm to make a string of souvenirs
a necklace of undying moment and treasure
then keep it in your heart where no thief can reach

listen each day to the voice of your heart
when it rewinds each footstep of your journeys
at the rendezvous of souls because each bead
of story and song carries the spirit of the ancestors