Chants of Freedom: Poems Written in Exile

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Penguin Random House South Africa, Jun 3, 2015 - Poetry - 48 pages
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Mathews Phosa developed his love for poetry as a young boy growing up in rural Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Mostly written while in exile as the commander of an MK unit, Chants of Freedom vividly recreates the feelings of anger, defiance, frustration, shame, pain and ultimately hope that characterised the exiles’ experience of the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa. Writing in a lyrical style, Phosa addresses such themes as oppression, violence, death and hatred, and recalls the atrocities and tragedies of the migrant-labour system, the murders of innocent children, the detentions without trial, the bannings and the state-sanctioned executions that characterised the apartheid era. He recalls the influences on his life, from his grandparents to struggle leaders, and pays tribute to the role played by women and the youth in the liberation struggle. He celebrates the victory over apartheid and eulogises all those who contributed to the fight for democracy, black and white. Chants of Freedom provides raw, powerful and unprecedented insight into the consciousness of a freedom fighter, and ultimately reveals his humanity.
 

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About the author (2015)

Dr Nakedi Mathews Phosa was born in Mbombela township, Nelspruit, but grew up in a rural area near Potgietersrus (Mokopane). In 1981 he opened a legal practice in Nelspruit. He left South Africa in 1985 and in 1986 became the regional commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in Mozambique. Following the unbanning of the organisation in 1990, he was one of the first four members of the ANC to return to South Africa in order to start the process of negotiation with the National Party government. He played an important role in transition initiatives, including CODESA, and headed the ANC's legal department. After the first democratic elections in 1994, Phosa was appointed premier of Mpumalanga, a position he held until 1999. He has been a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee since 1999 and was the party's treasurer general from 2007 to 2012. Phosa speaks nine languages and has published a volume of Afrikaans poetry called Deur die oog van 'n naald (Through the eye of a needle).

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