Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Late night sermon

They say there is no rest for the sinners and so, here I sit, at something to one in the morning, presuming that writing these words is of enough importance to justify them, when I should be sleeping. Every day I promise myself that I shall sleep at a godly hour and every day I fail to fulfil that promise. I love the night. The darkness. The silence (well, as silent as it can get in a city like Johannesburg). But society is so gung-ho about being functional from 8 to 5 that I constantly find myself out of synch and unsettled, rushing to deal with daily realities when I'd rather be sleeping, and forcing myself into bed when I'd rather be awake. And I've been that way my whole life.

Anyway, just wanted to share a bit of my evening today (well, now yesterday). Oh, please let me first apologise for my posts taking forever to show, will try figure that out - received a comment from someone who says they are only becoming visible days after I've posted. I will try post a bit further in advance, particularly around events coming up.

This evening I was blessed enough to be invited to participate in a broadcast by BBC's "World Have Your Say" in collaboration with Y FM. Imagine about 40 people (primarily youth) representing a cross section of society discussing issues that we, and listeners, felt were pertinent to the progression of this country. It was hard to get a word in but it was a fascinating journey into the heart of some of the more important social ills and stars. We delved into xenophobia, youth development, politics, etc and also had the opportunity to share in the thoughts of callers from around the world, as the show was broadcast on Y FM and BBC. Radio and TV shows are always difficult spaces to debate and share views due to the time and structure limits but every little bit helps. I also believe stuff around the discussion will be on the BBC and Y fm sites, namely www.bbcnews.com/worldhaveyoursay and www.yfm.co.za. There is not enough room to go into all the views expressed and my mind is racing, but my conclusion to the whole thing is that, in some form, the youth of the world need to 'wake up and step up'. Today I was surrounded by people who are taking responsibility and people who continue to point and expect government, their elders, God, etc to solve their problems. Time Magazine did a feature on the youth in Italy, the youth in France have been rioting, etc and it just seems like we are constantly looking to others to solve our problems. The only people who can do that is ourselves. We continue to stand on the outside and gripe, while others are finding ways to bring change. I have no complete answers but this experience has forced me to question my own contribution to the development of mankind.

We get so caught up in the differences between us, we forget how much each of us has in common. Whether black, white, green, purple, the youth throughout the world are grappling with similar problems. And we continue to wait and whine rather than getting off our butts and trying to do something, however big, or small. It is said that "once bitten, twice shy" but as a species we never seem to learn this lesson. Everyone is caught up in their little island. Just thoughts. It scares me sometimes. There is so much work to be done and the day we stop talking (yeah, and look at me blogging away .... Blah, blah) and actually start doing, there will truly be a future. I give praise to everyone who has stood up for a cause that they feel strongly about. Let's just remember that the potential for extinction is not impossible with the levels of creativity involved in dividing and destroying each other. I'm starting to sound preachy but I do belive posivity starts with one person and each of us does have the potential to create true change. Whew. Let me sleep. Easy

Sunday, May 21, 2006


I try to, as much as possible, use sunday evenings to introspect on the previous week and prepare my mind for the week to come. This evening the thoughts have some optimism to them, which is a refreshing change from the general stress and confusion I often find myself bogged down by. The highlight of my week was performing in the presence of President Mbeki, the President of South Africa, and an interesting mix of people from different parts of society, at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. A lot more nervous than usual, it ended up being an awesome experience with positive feedback from the President and the people there. It reminded me why I probably won't ever be able to stop. My words are always personal and when someone shares what they feel from your words with you, it is a fulfilling moment. It is not about the external, physical or outward but rather about being able to connect with another human being on a soul level.

It was also awesome to listen to the President talk and answer questions from the audience in a relaxed setting. There were some high school students in attendance from various schools around Joburg who are part of a programme at GIBS called Spirit of Youth and, to hear them talk and to listen to the questions they asked was tap into the hope that our future, while possibly difficult, will be brighter. It humbled me.

All of this goes a long way to understanding the true nature of what it is I do. The rewards of the Word go far beyond the commercial in this world of brands. As a brand, 'kojo the poet' has things he wants to achieve but those will be nothing unless coupled with the understanding that there is an element of pure human interaction and sharing that cannot be fulfilled if the Word is approached with blinders on. Reality demands its slice of flesh and so does the spirit. The challenge is to give those willingly while ensuring that there remains enough to keep on going. Easy#
Blog: http://infinitepursuit.blogspot.com
www.artistswithoutfrontiers.com (Writer's Section)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Usual ramblings

As I fade into the poetic shadows, and drift onto the fringes of poetry, I am less in touch with what is happening on the scene in jozi. In seeking balance between the realities of modern day existence and my passions, I am finding some element of peace and direction. That said, there are still some wonderful things happening on the streets that shall realise the vision many of us see. There also continue to be avenues for successful of one's financial needs with the spiritual needs of poetry.

I love sharing my work, and this week, I shall be allowed the privilege of performing in the same space as the President of South Africa at the Gordon Institute of Business Science - Dialogue With The President Forum. As a business school, they continue to explore the merger of art with the traditional subjects of business.

A few weeks back, I also had the privilege of sitting in on a business discussion forum and I was tasked with both writing a reportback and scribbling some poetry-influenced thoughts on the discussion. Seems to have gone across very nicely.

The balance between passion and reality, for me, lies in finding a way to explore all possible relationships between corporate & creative writing. One day I shall find the perfect balance, but it does feel like I am getting closer. I am a lot more optimistic about the future and feeling less pressured by time.

Anyway, other events taking place in poetry are at Xarra Books in Newtown, which continues to push the written and spoken word in Joburg. Check out their calendar of events at www.xarra.com (I think). Will try get the full calendar for the rest of the month and share.

I will be featured there in June, which should be interesting experience. Busy developing the results of my daily writing sessions which are posted on http://imperfectpoetry.blogspot.com. A lot of the stuff doesn't work, but I do think there are some with some potential. Time will tell.
Blog: http://infinitepursuit.blogspot.com
www.artistswithoutfrontiers.com (Writer's Section)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Running in one place

As poets, writers and people of the Word, one of the most exhilirating moments we can achieve is to see our words in print. The publishing of a book, for me, is as much for the writer (if not more) as it is about the desire to share and make one's voice heard. Unless you are writing a best seller or something of high demand, one cannot get rich, or even comfortable off the sales of a book. This is more so with poetry.

I published two collections of poetry as the achievement of a dream, the reaching of a milestone that I spent over 10 years pursuing. I also discovered that the achievement of a dream is not always as it is dreamed. There was an anti-climax that has driven me into a rut I am still attempting crawl out of. The first thing that hit me was 'now what?!'. I have toyed with many an idea looking for that next hit, that next shot that would re-inspire me and still I search.

My next book is a year or two away, so I need something to nourish myself with something else. I still haven't found an answer but I am getting closer and that comes from re-defining myself and re-discovering why it is I write, or at least attempt to write, poetry. This desire to write is a desire beyond merely poetry and the next stage for me is about improvement and evolution as an all-round writer.

It is easier said than done. It means more work, hard work. Writing, like any other career, requires an unwavering devotion to perfection. Devotion to craft. Devotion to experience. Devotion to living life, which serves as the foundation for great writing.

Sometimes it feels like too much. Sometimes it seems fruitless. But, the desire to write is like a drug. I cannot stop.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


For those of you who keep up with my Imperfect Poetry blog, you will probably have realised that I have become somewhat disillusioned with this whole poetic existence. Funnily enough, I have still been relatively regular with daily poetry postings but haven't been up to conversation on my Imperfect Poet blog, namely because I haven't known what to say.

So much internal dialogue going on that it is damn near impossible to translate all of that into written word. But here I am, still plodding along. I have spent the last two months systematically withdrawing from the poetry scene here in Johannesburg. I need a break, particularly from the whole 'performance poet' state of mind, and I am taking all the necessary steps to free myself from expectation, both mine and others.

This decision to hibernate has some interesting side effects. My focus all along has been on the overall development of poetry, in addition to my growth as a poet, and I have reached the point where the development work was draining my energy, drawing it away from from my personal growth. As I withdraw, my enthusiasm for the written word increases.

Where all of this is going, I do not know, but all I have is time to figure it out. The moment I stopped stressing about time and my definition of what is success, I started re-discovering why it is I enjoy the written word.

Meanwhile, I am still doing the occassional gig, in addition to all my business writing work. Tomorrow night, I perform at the National School of the Arts, a high school that emphasises the arts. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, just wanted to reach out and touch. Easy