Voices from Exile A Book of Poetry
Ballysillan Drive, Belfast BT14 8HQ
9781907276484 $10.00 / $5.00 (Digital Price in PDF)
From his blog, African poet Tendai Mwanaka speaks: "Sometimes the beautiful colours of the rainbow myth are a pointer telling you to look beyond their poetic-singed about beauty and the hollowed hauntings of those rainbow colours results in one colour ultimately playing the god-insect function."- May 1, 2011
Tendai Mwanaka, is a creative writer, worldly anthologized poet, short story writer and non fiction writer. At publication time for Voices from Exile, he was a Zimbabwean citizen staying in South Africa on temporary visas. Though he has had poetry published in over 50 countries, this is his collection about political exile in South Africa. His political exile.
Beginning his writing career when he was twenty years old, Tendai has had his work published in the USA, UK, Southern Africa, India, Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand and Australia. He is also a songwriter.
"Brutal Times," leads the collection by introducing the reader to one of the dark sides of being a political prisoner.
The arrest and slammed doors
In a cell, in Harare
The beatings, gorging, chopping
In the throes of a shape-shift
The walls of my cell in Chikurubi
Slanting backwards with weights
Of a cracked head, gorged flesh and chopped
Limbs of my own body.
And my steady howling and gnashing cries.
"The CIO's beatings, questions,
Sexual and psychological abuse
Trying to bleed answers from me.
Also from my next cell's occupant.
Talk, talk, talk the insistent hammer
Of those words repeated again and again.
Where are your handlers? Where are the weapons?
What was the plan...that I never had?
That I never knew of, and in the next cell
The green bombers rage at the cell's occupant..."
From The Brutal Times, Voices from Exile, page 7.
The poems are plenty and run a gamut of emotion. Perhaps one of the most touching poems is one entitled "That Child," which describes the horror of coming of age in a war-riddled place and searching for meaning from the sad conditions.
The words here paint pictures that the reader can touch. Some good pictures and some not so good pictures:
"They hit me with those sticks, gun butts, belts, etc, on my stomach. The child I was carrying broke to pieces inside my stomach. The baby girl died inside me. Though my husband died that night, it was God's desire that I did not die too.
"It was at the hospital that the child was born afterwards. The doctors had to cut my stomach to remove those pieces. A head alone, then a leg, an arm, the body, piece by piece."
--Breaking the Silence, Voices from Exile, Pg 12
This book will be enjoyed by poetry lovers and anyone wondering about what has been going on for the people in certain parts of Africa. Though the countries are war torn and seem a mystery to those of us lucky enough to be somewhere else, Tendai furnishes us with a portrait of the place he calls home.