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Editorial: This way we salute you

Quaz | October 29th, 2018 | current issue, editorial | No Comments

And then, you walked out of your body.
And for a moment we drifted, aimlessly
Tears bashing against the hull of this new day

Whose sky will we fly in now?
Who will pray for us now?

And then the world gathered around your poems for one last dance.
To drink from the words you effortlessly brought to life.
And your grave was the same size as every other man’s grave
And your celebrated body returned to the same humble sand
And it welcomed you with the same embrace it affords the faceless pauper

And with our own love poems, hanging at half mast
We heard Jazz sing you back into the sky
Reprising; you were here.
Whose sky will we fly in now?
Who will pray for us now?

-Who will pray for us now? (For Prof Keorapetse ‘Bra Willie’ Kgositsile) by Quaz Roodt

 

The day Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile passed away, the news echoed around the globe and tugged at a multitude of unexpecting hearts. People from all walks of life brought stories and tributes. Poets brought poems, the painters painted and photographers presented their best images of Prof. And since that night in January, when Yonela Mnana, Lex Futshane, Siphiwe Shiburi and Ntate Jonas Gwangwa played his old friend back into the sky, music has not sounded sweeter. A fitting salute to one who gave so much of himself and inspired so many.

We owe so much of ourselves to others. Through the tireless efforts of our parents. Constantly shielding us with their calloused hands. To the commitment of teachers, often undermined and underpaid, who make a vital contribution to our development, transforming us into functional human beings. Then there is the solace and safety in friends and family, who carry us when God is busy. And of course, the work of artists and professionals that inspires us; breaking new ground, shouldering the burden for those that follow. Yet, as it goes and will, unfortunately, continue going, we only truly appreciate their contribution once they are no longer there for us to suckle on. Only when the grave claims do we afford ourselves a moment to look at who or what that person was to us. Legendary gospel music pioneer James Cleveland sang:

Give me my flowers
While I yet live
So that I, I, I can see the beauty
That they bring

Speak kind words to me
While I can hear them
So that I, I, I, can hear the comfort
That they bring

I think this is a habit worth developing. Appreciating who we have, while we have them. Death is a sneaky old thing. It has no regard for anything but its own agenda. Love and hold those that add value to your being. Let them know they are loved.
This 14th edition of Poetry Potion pays tribute to the late South African Poet Laureate, Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile. The theme borrows itself from the title of Professor Kgositsile’s poetry collection, ‘This way I salute you’. The title of Prof Kgositsile’s collection is also the opening line in Mongane Wally Serote’s poem ‘City Johannesburg’.

“This way I salute you:
My hand pulses to my back trousers pocket
Or into my inner jacket pocket
For my pass, my life,
Jo’burg City.”

In this edition, we also salute and celebrate Myesha Jenkins, who has given so much of herself to poetry. Myesha’s poem ‘Transformation’ inspired the theme for our last print edition. And in celebration of her 70th birthday, this year and good health Poetry Potion salutes her.
Poet and social philosopher Athol Williams reviews ‘Gau-trained’, Flow Wellington’s literary homage to Johannesburg. And our poet muse in this edition is the vibrant and powerful Australian poet Candy Royalle, who sadly passed away this year in June.
I would like to offer a special salute to two friends and Hip-Hop giants who not only shaped me but numerous other poets and emcees in a positive way; salute and rest in peace to Ben Sharpa and Robo Tha Technician. Audiences around the globe made sure to show them love while they were here. These were two legends of South African Hip-Hop who displayed unwavering dedication to lyricism and educating through Hip-Hop. These artists lived rhythm and poetry.
With humility and respect for others, they represented our lived experience and broke barriers. At times to their detriment. But young artists are reaping the rewards. Sitting comfortably in the shade of trees from seeds that these artists and others like them, have planted. So thank you. We salute you.

Featured poems in this edition are dedicated to Prof Kgositsile, Don Mattera, Maya Angelou, Dambudzo Marerchera, Black Womxn, Fidel Castro, artists, mystics, parents, friends and more. In this edition, our poets salute those that have anchored themselves in our hearts and minds. They salute the many souls that walk in and out of our lives, leaving us better than they found us. They mourn those who removed our blinkers and introduced us to better versions of ourselves. Those that held our hands and guided our blind souls through the battlefields we stumbled onto. These pages are held together by gratitude and praise for all the deserving Consider this edition a bouquet of flowers.

A salute in poetry and prose. #

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