Soweto Poetry: Literary Perspective
This anthology seeks to understand and appreciate a major phenomenon in South African literary and political life – the rise to prominence of a Black Consciousness poetry, called the New Black Poetry of the 1970s, or Soweto Poetry. The contributions, republished here 25 years later, gain resonance in retrospect. They draw on the insights of many leading literary commentators including Peter Abrahams, H.I.E Dhlomo, Nat Nakasa, Es’kia Mphahlele, James Matthews, Lionel Abrahams, Douglas Livingstone, Njabulo S. Ndebele, and Mbulelo Mzamane. They remind us of what editor Michael Chapman identifies as the inheritance of the Soweto voices, part of a global movement towards a non-elitist poetry of ethical power. The challenge of such an aesthetic, a poetry that is both simple and profound, lends continuing relevance to these perspectives. This collection was initially published in the revolutionary aftermath of Soweto ’76 and is reprinted in this current edition.