Black Verse for Mama Sobukwe

On this nyanga yooMama in 2017, the Blackhouse Kollective (BHK) endorsed by Sobukwe Trust brought back to the forefront of national consciousness the memory of Mama Zondeni Sobukwe. Many people in this country were shocked to learn that Mama Sobukwe was still alive. Two years after celebrating the Mother of Azania with an Inauguration Tribute Lecture at her old home in Mofolo, the Blackhouse Kollective are now collaborating with Lesego Rampolokeng and Black Consciousness Poetry to bring to Soweto an initiative in line with a search for a language to memorialize the ubuntu-centric paradigm of power Mama Sobukwe embodied: a leadership characterized by putting people first and leaders last; sacrificing oneself for one's people, and suffering in order to realize black people's aspiration for liberation.

One of Blackhouse Kollective’s founders Zandi Radebe pressed to breathe on what Mama Sobukwe means to the long struggle of resistance and liberation of black people in South Africa when she said “We are yet to find the right language that truly represents Mama Sobukwe philosophically, politically and spirituality”.

Radebe continued, “Her legacy is encapsulated in how she forces us to think harder and imagine a new language of resistance. A language that will help us understand her ability to stay in the trenches for over 90 years and not sell out as many have done.” She concluded by saying “The Mother of Azania gives a deeper meaning to the Pan Afrikanist principle of: Serve Suffer Sacrifice.”

This initiative to memorialize The Mother of Azania enlists the launch of Sleeping Giant Awakes. This is an anthology that prides itself for being a rare feat of uncurated truth and uncoerced black speech.

“The book seeks to identify and analyse the black condition from our own view and perspective”, says Mufasa, one of the book’s authors who is based in Cape Town.

“This book embodies the ideas and vision of the Black Consciousness Movement as perceived by Bantu Biko and his SASO comrades.”.

The book of poetry project as envisioned by Black Power Poetry is an initiative of a young like-minded group who are activists, authors, singers, guitarists, and traditional instrument makers and players. Pressed to say more about their Black Consciousness adherence and poetry approach they said, “we think of poetry as an entry point in our journey to emancipate the minds of our people. We concern ourselves with the liberation of all black people. And our desire is to see black people free. We do this by visiting history, through reading books, writing poetry that is inspired by black pain”.

Black Consciousness Poetry are seasoned in turning poetry sessions into vibrant discussion seminars about topical issues and current affairs. The group has performed their poetry pieces on varied platforms that seem to share little commonality other than the presence of black people being guaranteed. They have stood before both Artscape audiences and church congregants in Khayelitsha alike. Their aim is to establish a footprint of black consciousness oriented art form in High schools. “We basically go anywhere where our people are”, Mufasa added.

The poetry book launch and event is motivated by Blackhouse Kollective’s desire to see activism in constant dialogue with critical thought. BHK’s consciousness-raising and educational work in the community of Soweto is based on Pan Africanist and Black Consciousness thoughts. Their activism catalogue boasts programmes that include, a) Philosopher In Soweto Lecture Series, b) The Sankofa Educational Mobile Exhibition, c) Activism Through Creative Writing , d) Lugotywa Lusemanzi Saturday School for children, e) The Mother of Azania Inaugural Lecture , f) #JusticeForBraMike Campaign, a campaign about continued Black dispossession in democratic South Africa and g) Decoloniality & Black Consciousness Summer School (a collaboration with the Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies (RAICCS ) USA.

The books by Rampolokeng and Black Consciousness Poetry will be available at Blackhouse Kollective poetry event at a discounted price.

Date: 31 August 2019
Time: 3pm
Venue: Blackhouse (just behind Kopanong Hall, Dobsonville)
Fee: free
Contact: Huey, 0834256969, Zandile 073 447 5663