Literary Zone

Poetry—All voices become hoarse

2 November 2007 at 05:38 | 1061 views

All Voices Become Hoarse.

By Sipho Sepamla

step by step
we rise
as the goldminers
deeper and deeper
moment to moment
we live
as the death-row
inmates wait
for the noose
day by day
as freedom chants
shrill voices
louder and louder
come the demands
as lower and lower
the commandant’s strident orders

all voices become hoarse

*Sydney Sipho Sepamla (born 1932 - January 9, 2007 ) was a South African poet and novelist.

Born in a township near Krugersdorp, Sipho Sepamla lived most of his life in Soweto. He studied teaching at Pretoria Normal College and published his first volume of poetry, Hurry Up to It!, in 1975.

During this period he was active in the Black Consciousness movement and his 1977 book The Soweto I Love, partly a response the the Soweto Riots, was banned by the Apartheid reigime. He was a founder of the Federated Union of Black Artists (now the Fuba Academy of Arts)and editor of the literary magazine New Classic, and the theatre magazine S’ketsh.

He published several volumes of poetry and novels. He received the Thomas Pringle Award (1977) and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his writing. More recently in democratic South Africa he was a member of the government’s Arts and Culture Task Group.