Schlagwort-Archive: literature

„Versöhnung ist ein nie endender Prozess“

Im Interview mit Antjie Krog, Schriftstellerin und Journalistin

(Autor: Ghassan Abid)

© Antije Krog zählt zu den führenden Schriftstellern in Südafrika. Ihre literarischen Werke zur Aufarbeitung der Apartheid machten die in Kapstadt lebende Autorin international bekannt. Im Vorfeld ihres Auftritts auf dem "Internationalen Literaturfestival Berlin" stand Krog für ein Interview mit "SÜDAFRIKA - Land der Kontraste" zur Verfügung. (Quelle: Krzysztof Zielinski)

© Antije Krog zählt zu den führenden Schriftstellern in Südafrika. Ihre literarischen Werke zur Aufarbeitung der Apartheid machten die in Kapstadt lebende Autorin international bekannt. Im Vorfeld ihres Auftritts auf dem „Internationalen Literaturfestival Berlin“ stand Krog für ein Interview mit „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ zur Verfügung. (Quelle: Krzysztof Zielinski)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Antjie Krog zählt zu den führenden Schriftstellern Südafrikas. Die in Kapstadt lebende Autorin ist international für ihre Analysen des Lebens in Südafrika bekannt. Sie beleuchtet nicht nur die Lebenswirklichkeit der weißen, sondern auch die der schwarzen Bevölkerung. In ihrem bislang populärsten Buch „Country of My Skull” befasste sie sich mit der Aufarbeitung der Apartheid im Rahmen der Wahrheits- und Versöhnungskommission. Sie hält fest, dass die Versöhnung ein nie endender Prozess ist.

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Sarah Britten in interview

„The poor who rely on service delivery by the government will suffer most.“

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Sarah Britten ist in Deutschland weitgehend unbekannt. In Südafrika zählt sie zu den Who’s Who der nationalen Blogger- und Journalistenszene. Eigentlich kommt sie aus der Werbebranche und analysierte für ihre Doktorarbeit die nationale Identität Südafrikas aus der ökonomischen Perspektive heraus. Dementsprechend hält Sarah Britten fest, dass das Multikulti-Konzept in Südafrika besser funktioniere als in den USA oder Australien, wenn es beispielsweise um die muslimische Gemeinde geht. Zwar steht dem Land noch viel Arbeit bevor, doch verbinden eine gemeinsame Nationalflagge, Verfassung und Braai das Volk. Die infolge der Kriminalität ausgelöste Abwanderungswelle von mehrheitlich gut ausgebildeten Südafrikanern weißer Hautfarbe, welche als „brain drain“ bezeichnet wird, begegnet die Journalistin mit einer zu beobachtenden Gegentendenz. Denn zunehmend mehr Bürger kehren in ihre Heimat zurück. Die Regierung ist nun in der Pflicht, die Arbeitsbedingungen – vor allem für medizinisches Personal – zu verbessern und die Ursachen der Kriminalität anzugehen. Presse- und Meinungsfreiheit in Südafrika sieht Sarah Britten durch die geplanten Regulierungsvorhaben seitens der Regierung als nicht ausrangiert an, sondern eher als eingezwängt. Sie betont, dass die größten Leidtragenden der Secrecy Bill die Armen selbst sein werden. Deutschland besuchte Sarah Britten im Oktober 2011, wobei ihr Berlin sehr gefallen hat und sie diesen Ort auf Basis ihrer Erfahrung als beste Stadt für Touristen bezeichnet. Gegenwärtig bloggt sie für das renommierte südafrikanische Online-Medium Mail & Guardian.

© Sarah Britten, blogger, journalist and book author. She is also a blogging member of Thought Leader from Mail & Guardian.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German Gateway to South Africa, Ms. Dr. Sarah Britten – blogger, journalist and book author.

You completed your PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand with focus on new national identity in South African advertising industry. Is South Africa counting to the successful multicultural societies?

Answer: We have our problems but for the most part we muddle through. In one respect, we manage multiculturalism far better than most: unlike other nations, Muslims are one of our many communities and are not seen as a threat as they are in the US or Australia.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How would you describe South African identity? Does it exists?

Answer: South Africa is very diverse and we have a long history of division between groups. So we have had to work hard to find something we have in common. We have our flag, which is a very important symbol of the nation. There is the braai – our version of the barbecue – which is now celebrated as National Braai Day on September 24. And there are other aspects of life that only people who are South African or who live in South Africa will understand: minibus taxis, biltong, robots (traffic lights) and so on.

We also have our constitution, which celebrates its 15th birthday this February. This document is the bedrock of our democracy and I have worked closely with Media Monitoring Africa on the strategy for a campaign we are launching soon. We will be asking ordinary South Africans to publicly declare their support for our constitution, as a nation-building exercise.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: South African media are reporting constantly about the brain drain phenomena, which means, that well-trained South African citizens – especially whites – are emigrating to UK, Australia oder New Zealand. How should government counteracting to this challenge?

Answer: The brain drain dominated public discourse in the earlier part of the 2000s, but in the wake of the recession, some South Africans returned. In general, government needs to improve working conditions, especially for medical staff. The underlying factors that drive emigration – mainly crime – have been there for a long time. To address crime is no simple matter, because it means tackling the root causes,  poverty and a culture of lawlessness, as well as improving policing and the criminal justice system. Affirmative action policies have also been cited as reasons driving skills from the country.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are blogging on Thought Leader, an editorial group blog of quality commentary and analysis from Mail & Guardian. Thought Leader is known as a thought-provoking forum. Do you think, that the freedom of speech & press freedom could be scrapped by the South African government (e.g. by Secrecy Bill)?

Answer: Freedom of speech and press freedom won’t be scrapped, but they will be constrained. The Secrecy Bill will have implications far beyond the media. Because it will make it more difficult for civil society to have oversight of state activities, especially corruption, it will impact all aspects of life. The poor who rely on service delivery by the government will suffer most.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How would you characterize your profession as journalist and blogger? Which aims are you following with your editorial writings?

Answer: Blogging is quite different from journalism. Because it isn’t paid, I write about whatever I feel like – anything from politics to lifestyle – and I don’t spend as much time crafting it because I can’t justify it. Journalism, because I get paid for it, requires getting quotes from sources, checking facts, and crafting.

Both blogging and journalism are sidelines for me, as my main source of income is communication strategy and social media.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What kind of perception do you have from Germany and German literature?

Answer: I visited Germany in October last year – Bonn and Berlin – and enjoyed my time there. There is so much culture and history, and Berlin is the best city for tourists I have ever visited. I would recommend it to anyone. Interestingly enough, my first book was translated into German! I don’t think we see enough German literature here in South Africa. I know German literature through my university comparative literature studies, and German philosophy has had an immense impact on Western thinking.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which further dreams would you like to realize, especially in editorial and literary context?

Answer: I have many projects in the pipeline – too many in fact. I would like to publish more serious fiction, as well as non-fiction and commercial crime fiction. I will be kept busy for a long time to come!

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Sarah Britten – blogger, journalist and book author – thank you very much for this interview.

Interview with Lesego Rampolokeng

A poet, irresistibly fighting for „a world in which all can breath“

(Editor: Annalisa Wellhäuser)

An exceptional and critical thinking poet who doesn`t mince words when talking about politics and society –especially the degradation of human dignity. Lesego Rampolokeng was born on 27th July 1965 in Orlando West, Soweto, Johannesburg in South Africa. Growing up under the Apartheid system and raised by a catholic family, he formed his very own view on political and social problems in South Africa. He studied Law at the University of the North in the Limpopo Province, but has not followed this path any further. He focused on his poetry which included poems, novels as well as writings for the theatre. He is travelling the world to perform and while doing so he has already worked together with different artists such as Günther Sommer, Julian Bahula, Louis Mhlanga and Souleman Toure. [A list of his work can be found at the end of the interview.]

© Poet and writer Lesego Rampolokeng

Deutsch: If you are interested to read this interview in German, please click on following link: https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/schriftsteller-lesego-rampolokeng-im-interview/.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German gateway to South Africa,  the writer and poet Lesego Rampolokeng. Mr. Rampolokeng, as an artist you have performed and written texts in different ways-you have been doing political rap, poetry and you have also contributed writings to the theatre as for Faustus in Africa in 1995 or the Fanons children in 2001. How would you describe the kind of art you are performing these days?

Answer: Ok, first of all it`s a semantic issue. I don’t perform, I hardly ever see myself performing anything, because for me that presupposes either an extension of yourself or alienation from yourself, an occupation of another space outside of something. There`s never been a line of demarcation between myself and my art. I am my art. I hope that makes sense.

And I wouldn`t actually say that I´ve ever done „political rap„ or even rap itself as a genre. For me what rap is is what we are doing right now. The flowing and floating of lines, thoughts, ideas, communication of multi-ear, mind to mind, you know, these things that swim from the one individual and rattle the brain cells of the other. That for me is being rap. If you put dub or hip-hop break beat to this, it is rap.

So essentially I`ve always seen myself as being a creature of the world and as a social being that I am, I`m also of my society, of my community. Like everybody else I was not hatched ,I was born. I guess some people just spin out of the air, they get dropped from the moon or whatever. So what it means is-if I want to define my reality- that necessarily means I have to engage with the reality of my society.

And there are certain things that stand between me and the celebration of my being, of my humanity. I have to deal with dehumanization, the oppression of one being by another and all of those things: social economic factors, why I could only be born where I was born and not in another place, why I need a visa in order to come to Berlin, why I get pulled out of a queue at Tegel airport, because I got more melanin than anyone else. And I get asked how much money I`m carrying, if I`m carrying drugs……and all of those factors conspire to make me a specific kind of creature-I will suppose distinct to other creatures, but not necessarily more important or less important.

I just hold my own space within the sphere of human light and try to define that .And you cannot truly define your space except in terms that make sense to you, which are political and other things.

When birth is itself a political issue, when death is a matter of politics. If I die here what happens to me is terribly political. If I drop dead here, I hope I don`t, I might very well do that…..every single breath I take is itself defined for me in political terms.

I don’t wave banners, I don’t say vote for XYZ ,because first of all I don’t even believe in the voting box, I don’t believe in voting. I don’t think voting has ever changed anything. I don’t mean politics in terms of party political waves, just the way which we communicate this-human traffic, human flux, the coming and going of human beings

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Let`s come to my second question: You were born in 1965 in Soweto, Johannesburg….

Answer: Unfortuately…

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: …. during that time it was the Apartheid system that was ruling in South Africa. The oppression by that racist system appears to be one of the major topics you are dealing with in your poetry. Can you tell me something about this?

Answer: Well, I mentioned before I was born into a specific set of circumstances, so my being was dictated by all those factors you just mentioned now.

One thing that I`d like to clarify would be….I was not born in that time of Apartheid, because I think this is the time of Apartheid too. I can define it differently- but Apartheid as legislated racism, as defined by law-as founding the „statue books„ –that`s actually the only thing that made racism in South Africa different from anywhere else. Because it was legislated, it was legal.

People had met, very intelligent supposedly, together and decided that by the eventual effect that they lacked x-amount of melanin that made them superior to other people. Therefore „blabla„ and they set and raised a systematic devaluation and dehumanization of another sector of society for economic and other reasons.

And so from the moment that-I think even before I was born, from the moment I was conceived-Apartheid had already been at work on my being, on my senses. I guess that is why I`m going through life having one nervous breakdown after another-it`s because of, I would suppose, the measure of racism and religion-because I was brought up catholic and all those other things.

So my writing can only be in terms of the politics and religion that worked on me, the economic factors etc. … And I`m still trying to define myself. You see the thing is I don’t go into writing as a way of explaining myself. For me it`s a quest, ,it`s an attempt to get my world to speak to me and thereby allowing me I guess to understand myself better ,to understand my own shortcomings, perhaps my own prejudices.

Because I am definitely prejudiced against certain kind of human creatures, absolutely.

But I think I wasn’t caught in a time war so I cannot write today like I did 10,15,20 years ago .I`m a social communicator and I will be until I die.

So today I deal with issues that of course came down with Apartheid where we created some kind of buffer zone between the people of real power in the country and the rest of oppressed society in South Africa. I would suppose„ non-white„ all of them.

I won`t necessarily say ,,black„, because ,,black„ comes with a political definition for me. The old man I drew my inspiration from, Mafika Pascal Gwala, my father- well in a matter of speaking he is-said „Black is an energetic release from the shackles of Kaffir, Bantu, non-white.„ That`s what it is.

My friend Lemn Sissay said :´„Black is not what white is not-black is black. That`s it. I`m not defined in my „blackness „in the fact that you are not „black„. Your „being white„ does not make me„ black„. I defined myself as „black„ before.

Anyways. I use all these quotations as part of my piece, at the beginning of my piece „Bantu ghost„ , which I read last year. Steve Biko said:„ The fact that we are all not white does not necessarily mean we`re all black.„ Non-whites exist and are continuing to exist for a long time-but within that world of humanity that was oppressed some of them are black and some are not-even though they might look similar, even though they might have x-amount of melanin all of them-not all of them are ,,black„. The ones who are black are the ones who define themselves…Its an attempt of coming to consciousness of where one is being placed and where one should he going.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You just said that Apartheid is basically not over, it`s just a different form of Apartheid. What do you mean by that?

Answer:  I`m saying there was a specific system of government, it was an ideology that was in place that was referred to as Apartheid. It`s an Afrikaans concept meaning- what they later tried to define as separate development, but a literal translation of it, the one on one translation of it would be „Apart-ness„ ,meaning there is this line of demarcation between these people and those people, this sector of society and that sector of society and it was a „ legal system„.

What I`m saying is while the books might have been scrapped- we might say technically because the constitution has been overturned- then Apartheid does not exist, but Apartheid was not paper. Tearing up paper doesn’t change anything.

The fact that then you have some kind of creation set up in place that is celebrated all over the world and you call that, you make a symbol of it, an icon of it and you get all hypocrites to celebrate it. The same hypocrites that used to insult it ,that fought for it to be kept in place, in jail.

Now out of a sudden these celebrate it and they built monuments to it in England and they knight it and they call it Nelson Mandela. And it goes around waving at all old ladies and the babies etc.

What does that change beyond it being a measure scam perpetrated on the world.

You go to South Africa today and you will see the following: Now they call them informal settlements ,it`s just „shacklands„, supposed what people called derogatorily „squatters„ have proliferated in South Africa. There are more of them now than prior to 1994.There is more human misery and debasement today than there was in South Africa before.

Now when you see such things-some very„ perverted sick minded„ people start accusing you , of wishing to return to Apartheid and I would have to be truly sick to my soul to want something like that. It’s a system of dehumanization-why would I want, why would I wish for my own dehumanization , no. But again that is yet another scan that is meant like the bible to keep people weak.

But ok we are supposed to keep quiet , because now here is this government that was supposedly voted into place by the majority of the people. Well, the majority is not always right. Actually more often than not the majority is wrong. That`s why there are people like us in the world, I guess we are happy, well we celebrate our right to be wrong also. I might be wrong, but I`m happy to be wrong. It is my opinion, however wrong it might be to anybody else.

So essentially the economics of the „thing of state in place„, the power is remained in the hands of the people who held it before. They created this vile concept called Black Economic Empowerment ( „BEE„ )and on the surface this thing is set up as being a system out of which the previously, as they put it, „disadvantaged„ can have access to the sources of the land,. They call them that-and it makes me feel like you are crippled or something like that .

But anyways it’s a major lie, because this first of all this BEE- thing was created by multinationals, by multi corporations, by big capital, which was „white„, big capital. And they created this thing in as a kind of escape route for themselves. They set up this thing and the people who got to believe it were the ones who supposedly had these struggle potentials. They are the ones who`ve become the millionaires today, who are part of this ruling system .And they set all those people up and then the jackals and the hyenas came out to bite and eat and whatever. And I will present these crawlers` face to the world of these supposed darker than grey creatures.

So the system of Apartheid, it is actually more obscene today than it was before. Because before there was no need to lie, the lines were well drawn.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You`ve also studied law….

Answer: …Unfortunately haha…

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What was the reason for you to decide its poetry you want to focus on instead of maybe becoming a successful lawyer?

Answer: Have you ever seen a lawyer who looks like me in the world? I`d be a very unlikely lawyer.

First of all, at no point in my life did I decide to become a poet. This comes without any romanticization –I`m not romantic about it.

At times I wish that I hadn’t walked this path, it was a lone part and i`ve made myself more enemies walking down this path than I would have if I had just become a jackal , a vulture feeding on human misfortune-called a lawyer. I would have made less enemies that way „bloating „myself up

I don’t think that anybody at any point decides to become a poet, you either are one or you are not. Nobody can teach you to write. I don’t believe that writing or poetry can be taught. You got all these professors with 15 degrees, but they themselves cannot write a poem to save their lives.

This is an old image i`ve been using for years and it makes me want to fall asleep whenever I`m saying it.But the truth of it is that I do believe that if my mother falls dead today and they cut her up, they are likely to find my poetry. I`ve created a „mural„,a „uteral mural „which I think is the best kind of poetry anybody could possibly write.

So where I was attempting to study this law thing and even before that I was poet. What you are asking is , I think, is taking a definite break from then when I attempted this ,for me „fake existence„.

You see the thing is when I wrote my very last paper, my final year of university, it was during the times of state of emergency in South Africa. In the mid 80ies, I was becoming a rather frequent visitor to the houses of bondage that I call prisons, detention centers and I wrote my paper and I stood up and walked and never looked back. What I was supposed to have done subsequent to that was to serving another lawyer, learning the trickery roads and then sitting for that final examination. I would have been your Mr. lawyer with maybe a Porsche.

I thought to myself „ok look, you don’t go to look for justice in a court of law, there is no justice in the court of law. If you want the law ok you go to court, if you want justice they take you to the streets. „The court, this is not a place for the acquisition of justice, this is where we interpret the law, it`s not even about truth at all .Or it is not about justice and not about truth , which are the things that define me. I`m in this world to search for it—if neither justice nor truth are to be found in a court of law, what would have I been doing there?!It didn’t make sense for me. I could have lied to myself and said „No, I do this thing„ and I can begin represent my people and sound glorious or whatever.

You know what happened, a few years ago I was proved right anyways in my decision not do law. I was invited to Holland and there was this festival, a beautiful festival in Den Haag. And I think it was 51 poets from 51 different countries…every poet had to read at his embassy. But then I found out that the ambassador of South Africa did not want me to be there…the reason why she had to have me there was because her predecessor had invited me. She listened to half of my reading and then ran away .The worst thing about this is that this woman was during Apartheid times South Africa` s leading human rights lawyer, Priscilla Jana. You get what I`m saying……

You know now I`m hungry, I`m poor ,but I`m cool, I think my conscience is at rest.

However I could only be happy the day the things I`ve set myself against are eliminated. The things that make me wake up in the morning in a perverse, in an ugly ,in an obscene way actually .Because the sun ,the love should be getting you out of bed. I`m woken up by demons and ugly things, the day they seize up to be then I will say i`m happy.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: While doing research about you in preparation for the interview, I read on the internet page ,,www.culturebase.net„ that you ,correct me if i`m wrong, said the following statement about young South Africans in an interview with the Swiss weekly paper 2002 : „Political hip-hop is no longer important to young people in South Africa„. Are young South Africans really not interested anymore in political rap?

Answer: You know that thing makes me so angry, because at no point in my life , unless I`m ready to be locked up in some psychiatric institution, would I say that the young people of South Africa are not interested in political rap. Because it goes further than that thing I think. To give the suggestion that I`m saying supposed political rap is redundant. I would „never ever ever„ say that. First of all, people when it started out did not set itself up as being political, it was party music, young people hijack lighting„ fictures „, you know these street lamps or whatever, and run the electricity from their turntables. As soon as the police comes, they take their stuff and go. In that sense it was subversive-yes. But it did not come out with a political program. It was just young people having fun.

Later you had supposed conscious people coming out like Poor righteous teachers, Public enemy, Boogie down production,KRS1,they came on following the lead of course of the lives of Jill Scott Hanna before them …grabbing the microphone dealing with issues of oppression, of economic, political themes.

Hip Hop is not homogeneous, there are various and different strands of Hip Hop, lots and lots of them. I like the Ghetto-Boys, I love the stories they created there: trying to pull their little ghosts out of the wall..something that one would find in heavy metal, maybe, but they were running it on this „5th ward texas lies„, you know black boys dealing with that stuff.

It is not homogeneous. You got girly Hip Hop, you got Salt and Pepper celebrating their sexuality as females, you know, all of those put together you could say that’s a political broom. That is a political broom. People celebrating their humanity in the midst of „Squalla „.

So at what point could I say the contrary? I, father of generation of MCs, underground MCs, basemental platform in South Africa, I could introduce you to a lot of them, they are very political creatures.

How could I say something else? I never said something like that. This quotation is very misleading.

Unless this person wanted to say that I meant that in this world today you get more people celebrating 50cent,Eminem,LilWayne,Jay-Z as supposed to celebrating Poor righteous teachers, if that’s what they mean, yes, that is very true.

This world celebrates a Lady Gaga. I mean I`m not in the position to judge. I`m not in this world to judge or be judged. If that’s what they want, maybe Lady Gaga fulfills some of their fantasies, I don’t know.

But the fact of it is that more people will celebrate Lady Gaga than they would celebrate Jaco Pastorius, my all time greatest bass player. Very few people know him.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How do you see the current political situation of South Africa? What do you think about Zuma?

Answer: I`m sorry to depersonalize people like that, but essentially this is what is happening. The point is, you just give Zuma a lot of women and music to make him dance. That is what he does. He just wants to dance .He is very very problematic, if you trace down his history to the ANC-camps, in exile…there is a whole lot of intrigues involved, people dying…and these people being mashed on forward.

And the indignity of having Thabo Mbeki, who I don’t have any respect for, but in my opinion he was still cleverer than Zuma. But the indecency of the way which those guys flipped the switched one inn was really embarrassing, it was disgraceful.

And now there is Zuma and Julius Malema, who is president of the ANC Youth League. The sad part of this is that we laugh at this person, but it`s the same story as with Idi Amin. Idi Amin started somewhere, people laughed „Haha„ at him saying he is an idiot….But 500.000 deaths later, nobody is laughing. Nobody is laughing. That is the state of South Africa right now.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You have already been several times to Germany. In 1998 you even stayed for a few months at the Solitude Castle in Stuttgart. How do you like Germany and what is the reason for you of coming back so often? Did or do the experiences you make here influence you or your poetry in some way?

Answer: Obviously every single moment of my life influences me, every moment leads onto the other, whatever kind of engagement, whatever kind of contact I have with human beings. Not just even people only, every single creature on this planet, in this universe influences how I view.

First of all, having been to South Africa, you will know that however established South Africa might be ,that before Joseph Cotton, Bounty killer, whoever, …before they dream of coming to South Africa, they come to Germany first. They will definitely perform in Berlin, they will perform 20 times in Berlin, before they even imagining going down to South Africa.

So my engagement with the things that I celebrate ,that I love…books …South Africa got a few literature outlets, but in the whole of Johannesburg you can actually count the book shops in the entire city. How many millions of people live in the west of Johannesburg, well it`s east towards the airport, but the only book shop would have to be „exclusive books„ which is a capitalist set up, they will have Dan Brown books, they won`t have any of the people I celebrate, they won`t even have Pasolini. It`s not even a euro-centric kind of set up, no, they won`t have any seriously engaging literature for me there. So if I want something like that I have to come to Germany. In South Africa what do I do?

When I go around the world I pick up whatever it is, I engage with it, I battle with the world`s realities, I go back and I share it with the people I love, I celebrate, the people I want to help push forward along with me. I`m no leader, no, I`m part of a pack, but I`m hoping that whatever experience it is I can share with my people, they can share with me their experiences and together we can move forward.

That’s why I came back. I got invited. I came to Humboldt-University, it is a fine place to come to. I get to read at my embassy. I want to see if they will also behave like the dutch counterpart.

In 1998 I came to Solitude Castle in Stuttgart, because I needed time and space to write. It was a residency, it was a writer`s set up. You got composers there, video artists, graphic artists. It`s an annual thing.

But it made me realize one thing. Namely that I maybe need to hear somebody screaming at some point, I need to hear a car screeching around…before I can create.

I had a nervous breakdown there. It was so quiet there. Even the birds seemed to be uneasy about chatting in the morning: „ Oh, let`s not disturb the artists„. They call it solitude for a reason, really. I felt like Alice in Wonderland there. It`s a castle, every Saturday people come to get married there. You never see anybody.

If I wanted to be in a bar and check out the local talent or get myself checked out, if anybody bothers… I had to take the bus for about 25 minutes to get to the city of Stuttgart, just to have a beer. And then take the bus back. But at eleven the bus is run out.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You have travelled the world and performed in many countries. Plus you have worked together with various artists like Julian Bahula, Soulman Toure, Loius Mhlanga and Günther Sommer. Have you ever expected to become that successful and what are your aims and dreams for the future?

Answer: You know Bob Dylan explains the issue of success very well, he says a successful person is one who wakes up in the morning, is able to wake up in the morning and is able to go to bed at night, and in between that the person does what it wants to do, it chooses to do. That`s success. It has nothing to do with money or whatever. It has nothing to do with striking silly poses in front of a thousand cameras. For me that`s not the measure of success.

I will say I`m successful the day whatever it is that stands for the dehumanization and oppression of one sector of humanity by another, one person getting oppressed by the rest of humanity, the day no child, no child dies of malnutrition or preventable diseases ,the day no American can say:„ Oh ,oh this apple fell on my head, how can it fall on my head, I`m American! No this can`t happen to me, I`m American„ ,the day there is an end to that stupid stuff, the day it makes the same, the same kind of sense or non sense to get a child`s head exploded in Gaza ,a child getting its brain „packed out„ in Somalia, the day things fall in line like that, the day it is as wrong ,as wrong to brutalize somebody, because their sexuality is not yours, the day nobody is downtroddened, because they choose to bow in front of a different god to those who have got power, that’s where I will say: I`m successful, I helped create a world in which all can breathe. That`s it.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to thank to writer Lesego Rampolokeng, one of the most socio-critical voices of South Africa, for this interesting interview on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“. We wish you much success for the future and only the best!

List of writings/Liste der Werke of/von Lesego Rampolokeng

– Horns for Hondo (COSAW, 1990)

  • Talking Rain (COSAW, 1993)
  • End Beginnings (Shifty CD with the Kalahari Surfers, 1993)
  • Writing for the play:„ Faustus in Africa„(1995)
  • Rap Master Supreme – Word Bomber in the Extreme (1997)
  • End Beginnings (German Translations) (Marino, 1998)
  • Blue V’s (German Translations with CD) (Edition Solitude, 1998)
  • The Bavino Sermons (Gecko Poetry, 1999)
  • Fanons children in 2001
  • The h.a.l.f. ranthology (CD with various musicians, 2002)
  • Blackheart (Pine Slopes Publications, 2004)
  • Whiteheart (deep south publishing, 2005)
  • Participation in the documentary „Giant Steps„ about revoloutionary poets ,
  • directed by Geoff Mphakati and Aryan Kaganof (2005)

Quellen/Sources:

Interview mit/with Lesego Rampolokeng 09.11.2010

http://www.culturebase.net/artist.php?279

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesego_Rampolokeng

Andrew Brown – Südafrikas literarisches Sozialgewissen

Kapstädter Schriftsteller zu den Chancen und Risiken des Projektes „Regenbogennation“

(Autoren/ Editors: Anne Schroeter, Annalisa Wellhäuser, Ghassan Abid)

© Schriftsteller Andrew Brown

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Das südlichste Land des afrikanischen Kontinents konnte sich nach dem Ende der Apartheid in vielerlei Hinsicht kräftig entwickeln, unter anderem auf der literarischen Ebene. Mit Andrew Brown –  einem Juristen, Polizisten und Schriftsteller aus Kapstadt – verfügt Südafrika eine weitere Persönlichkeit, die sich mit sozialen Themen im Lande beschäftigt. Während der Apartheid wurde er von Polizisten aufgrund einer Freundschaft zu einem Schwarzen festgenommen. Nun thematisiert er als Buchautor die gegenwärtige und zugleich schwierige Lage von Flüchtlingen in Südafrika. Nigerianer sind oft der Willkür südafrikanischer Behörden ausgeliefert und müssen ferner die fremdenfeindliche Stimmung in den Townhships dulden. In seinem Buch „Würde“ geht er auf genau diese soziale Schieflage in Südafrika ein und verbindet die unterschiedlichsten Protagonisten miteinander: Richard Calloway ist ein weißer und erfolgreicher Anwalt der Kapständer Mittelschicht, der trotz Ruhm und sozialem Aufstieg ein tristes Leben führt. Doch eines Tages trifft er auf Abayomi, eine Immigrantin aus Nigeria. Schnell erkennt Calloway, dass er ihrem Wesen sehr aufgeschlossen ist und sich zunehmend in ihrer Welt verfestigt – mit ungewissem Ausgang. Das Buch ist deshalb so bemerkenswert, weil Andrew Brown hierfür umgangreiche und hintergründige Gespräche mit nigerianischen Einwanderern in Südafrika unternommen hat.

Zum Sinn und Zweck der WM 2010 für die Volkswirtschaft des Gastgebers äußerte sich Brown dahingehend, dass er grundsätzlich von langfristig positiven Effekten ausgeht, die vor allem dem Tourismus zugute kommen werden.  Der Kriminalität im Lande können man jedoch nur mit einer Ausweitung des gesellschaftlichen Bildungsstandes begegnen, so der Kapstädter Schriftsteller gegenüber dem Südafrika-Portal. Der aktuellen Debatte um die Regulierung der Medien durch die südafrikanische Regierungspartei ANC schaut Brown, auch ein ANC-Mitglied, jedoch mit großer Sorge entgegen, wofür man notfalls erneut auf die Straße ziehen müsste. Zum Abschluss äußerte er seinen Wunsch, noch ein weiteres Buch veröffentlichen zu wollen und öfters, vor allem nach Europa und Deutschland, zu reisen. Nachstehend ist das Originalinterview in Englisch als Text und als Video abgebildet.


2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Mr. Brown, you was born and raised in Cape Town / South Africa . You mobilized against the Apartheid and had been captured too. Which moment or occurrence has activate your mind for justice?

Answer: Probably when I was 17 years old and I was arrested simply because I was friendly with a black boy of my age.  I was taking him home after playing soccer and we were both arrested and held few a few days.  We were both interrogated because the police could not understand that we were simply friends.  That showed me how unjust the system was and that it needed to be changed.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are a really big performer in terms of profession. I noted you are actually and at the same time a police man (in reserve), an advocate and a writer. Which personal objectives are you following in each job and which one is your most challenging one?

Answer: They are all quite challenging, but in different ways.  I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of working as a policeman, because it feels like I am making a contribution to the society that I am living in.  Writing is something I do for my own enjoyment and I don’t feel pressure to write ‘for’ anyone.  If people like my writing, then that is great, but I don’t feel that I have to produce something for publishers or readers to read.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: During the World Cup 2010, you have untertaken as police seargent patrols in townships. Which benefits has the South African nation and the population, especially the township citizens, taken from this event? What is your mind in this matter?

Answer: I hope that there will be long-term benefits.  The focus of the world on us as a country, and the fact that it was a success, was really a big thing for us.  But that focus does not bring any benefit on its own.  Hopefully, it will result in more tourism, perhaps better trade and confidence in South Africa .  The World Cup did a lot to unite the nation and to build our sense of pride in our country, which is very important. The transport system was improved a lot before the World Cup, and I think that is one thing that we will definitely benefit from in the future.

© Cover von "Würde"

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In your new novel „WÜRDE“ (in English it means „dignity“) – the original title called „REFUGE“- you are writing about the two faces of South Africa; the rich and the poor one. On the one hand, we have the protagonist „Richard Calloway“ – a white, successful and in security living advocate. On the other hand, you have installed the character „Abayomi“, a native of Nigeria – an immigrant. Could you please give us a short summary of this novel and which social targets would you like to achieve?

Answer: The book is partly about the white middle-class in South Africa , which often shuts itself off from the real issues going on around it.  People protect themselves against the guilt and anguish that comes from seeing the poverty around you, by pretending that it doesn’t exist.  The book is partly about a successful middle-class man who starts to reach out to touch the ordinary people around him; he comes to realise just how small and isolated his life has been.  The other part of the book is about the immigrants, the other ‘outsiders’ of our society, who are there not by choice but because they are fleeing injustice or violence. It is about how we treat them and about how we stop seeing them as equal human beings.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: I have taken notice, that you have met with immigrants from Nigeria , in accordance with the preparation of your new book. Which impressions have you collected about the life conditions of these people in South Africa ?

Answer: I interviewed a lot of immigrants to hear their stories.  Once they realised that I was not a threat, they were very happy to talk to me and to share their stories with me.  I met incredible people who told me stories of great suffering, of courage and of humiliation at the hands of South African officials.  I have incorporated some of their stories into the book, to try and make it as realistic as possible.   I chose Nigerians in the book because they are the most stereotyped immigrants in South Africa: they are seen as all being drug dealers or prostitutes, and for this reason I wanted to show them as being human beings with their own special culture, language and lifestyle.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In these weeks, the African National Congress (ANC) follows up a regulation of commentatorship. South African and international media are still protesting against these plans to establish a „secrecy bill“ and „media tribunal“, which allows the government to increase their control over media. How would you like to evaluate these developments?

Answer: Because of our history, it is very concerning when government starts talking about controlling media reports and press coverage.  We are very sensitive to this kind of censorship, given what we experienced under apartheid.  People are opposing the bill and there is a petition signed by many writers and other people who are protesting against the bill.  Government has tried to explain the need for the bill, but so far we are not accepting that it is necessary.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: As „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German gateway to South Africa, we have interviewed the writer Roger Smith, who is denouncing in his novels the crime situation in South Africa, like you. What do you think should the government do to face this big challenge? Or rewording, how could South Africa solve this problem?

Answer: Crime is a problem in South Africa , but it should not be over-emphasised.  Our crime is a result of poverty, our history and poor education.  Of all of these, it is most important to address education, because literacy and numeracy continue to be problems, and we cannot advance our society unless we take care of these problems first.  Crime is not getting better, but it is not getting worse either.  It will not improve simply by policing, or introducing new laws.  You need to change the way that people think, about themselves and about others.  To do this, we need to concentrate on education.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Last but not least, which personal dreams would you like to realize?

Answer: There are many dreams I have – one would be to publish another book.  Another would be to travel more – I have travelled a lot in Africa, but not much in Europe and there are many countries and places that I would like to see.  I have so enjoyed being in Germany, and I would very much like to return to spend more time here as well.