In this post, I feature an African poet whose writing inspires me. Sipho Sepamla, a South African author and poet (1932-2007), may not be as widely celebrated as his better known contemporaries, such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka. He published several novels and volumes of poetry. Trained as a teacher, he lived most of his life in Soweto.
His book The Soweto I Love (1977), in which the poem below was initially published, was banned by the apartheid regime. He is remembered for his valuable contribution to African literature.
In Search of Roots
We will have to use animal fat
And not bother with cosmetics and so on
we will have to spill blood
just so that we keep contact with our ancestors
we will have to read time from the sun
and stop hurting our wrists
we will have to drink home beer
and give up potent spirits and things
we will have to seek out
black, green and golden flowers
we will have to speak up
because for too long others have spoken for us
we will have to laugh hard
even if it is at our own illusions
we will need to do all these things
just to show the world Africa was never discovered
© 1985 A New Book of African Verse, John Reed & Clive Wake (eds). Revised edition.