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Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

BOOKED @ Muse: Sindiwe Magona

Sindiwe Magona

Please, Take PhotographsBeauty's GiftSindiwe Magona is a living legend among South African writers. The educator, community activist, poet, playwright, actor, motivational speaker and novelist enchanted Italian audiences recently at an international women’s day festival, Calendidonna, whose 7th edition is dedicated to Africa/South Africa. Magona read verse and poetry with Italian photographer Silvia Modio during the opening of her photographic exhibition focused on a journey of love during the time of AIDS and HIV. When Muse caught up with Magona the writer had just read Please take photographs, the title poem of her first collection of poems, published by Modjaji Books.

The Cape Town based Magona has written over 30 children’s books and 15 novels and short storie,s including Push-Push and Other Stories, Living, loving and Lying Awake at Night, Forced to Grow, Mother to Mother, To My Children’s Children, and her latest novel, Beauty’s Gift (Kwela), among others.

The former exile spent over 20 years in the USA and parts of Europe where she taught at high schools and Universities, as well as working for the UN. She currently lives in Cape Town and facilitates motivational support groups and a women writers’ forum. In April 2010 she will join other South African writers and poets at the London Book Fair. Among other reads and literary activities, Magona is doing research for her biography project on Anglican Arch Bishop Njongonkulu Ndungane.


Please, take photographs

Go to the nearest or cheapest electronic goods store
And there, buy cameras by the score.
Hurry! Go! Go! Go!
Then go home; gather your family and
Take photographs of them all
Especially, the children; especially, the young,
Hurry! Hurry! Take photos of them all
Before it is too late.

Take photographs of the children
Take photographs of them playing
Take photographs of them crying
Take photographs of them reading their best books
Or doing their chores – But –
Hurry! Hurry! Before it is too late.

Take photos of the children kneeling, busy at cat’s cradle
Take photos of them naked and dancing in the rain
Take photos of them fast asleep in their cozy beds
Take photos of them in their school uniforms; their Sunday best, Or ragged day dress.
But, please, hurry and take photos of the children,
Before it is too late
Before all the children are gone –
Before the promise that is their life
Is snuffed, easy as candle light.

Your sons, so fearless, call sex with condoms
Eating candy with the wrapper on.
Perhaps their coffins they’ll call castles
The ant and worm their company, slaves who do their every bidding.

Please, take photographs, and tell the children why –
Take photos, before the young perish, to the very last.
Take photographs! Take photographs, and put them on the walls.
So the image of the dear face will forever live on.

I know, small comfort is a picture, your son or daughter gone.
Cold is a photo, from it comes not warmth nor smile nor hug.
A photo does not laugh; it will not go to the shop for you
Or be solace in your old age.

But, take photographs! Take photographs
So on birthdays and other days of remembrance
You can point to the picture on the wall and say –
Vusi would’ve been thirty today, perhaps with a
Young one and yet another on the way.

Take photos, take photos, before all the children are gone.
Before our tomorrow is no more –
Halved, at best, by the plague that comes with love;
Helped by the children who will not believe their
Dying – And men who grew up in bone structure
The feet and inches, from the ground, sprouting.
Men who escaped the meaning of the passage of the years.
Who shot up, went to school – some;
But escaped the meaning of Social Responsibility.
To such souls, respect, respectable, respectability,
Are long dead; forget morality!
Doomed, despicable, craven images of humanity.

Please, hurry! Take photographs of all the children, now!
Take photos, for tomorrow they will be gone.
Take photos! Take photos of the children…
Children who will not see thirty.
Children who will never…grow…old.
                Who will never grow old

- Copyright Sindiwe Magona

Book details

Photo courtesy Victor Dlamini

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