Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Publisher: MBALI PRESS, Ladybrand
Sponsored by the National Arts Council of South Africa

"Aryan Kaganof is arguably South Africa’s most versatile and resilient cultural activist. He is an eclectic film-maker, novelist, poet, fine artist and an indefatigable blogger.

Kaganof worked in Holland (where he also studied feature film direction, et al) at the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement as a researcher activist. In 1996 he pioneered the use of digital video as a feature film medium with the transfer to 35mm NAAR DE KLOTE! (Wasted!). 

In 2000 a retrospective of his films was held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco where he was also Artist in Residence. In 2005 he shot the world’s first feature film made on a mobile phone camera, SMS SUGAR MAN. 

In 2008 he was a Visiting Professor at K3 Malmo University (Sweden). He continues to orchestrate award-winning documentaries and films. He has published about 30 books comprising general fiction, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and philosophy.

Aryan Kaganof has published many intriguing novels like Hectic, Cortado, Laduma and Uselessly. In this his very latest work, he creatively unleashes his apocalyptic vision in splendid, if disturbing undulations..." (blurb)

Monday, September 23, 2013

KOFI AWOONOR (1935 - 2013

Writers and poets from around the world have joined in mourning following the news that Professor Kofi Awoonor, a Ghanaian poet and diplomat, died after sustaining injuries during the terrorist attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

Professor Awoonor, who was 78, was in the city to participate in the Storymoja Hay Festival, a celebration of writing and storytelling. He was due to perform on Saturday evening as part of a pan-African poetry showcase.

Professor Awoonor’s death was confirmed by the Ghanaian High Commission in Nairobi in the early hours of Sunday morning. One of the main aims of the Festival is to encourage reading and literacy among Kenya’s young people.

A statement issued by the Festival said: “We were honoured to be graced by his appearance at Storymoja Hay Festival, and deeply humbled by his desire to impart knowledge to the young festival audience. Professor Awoonor was one of Africa's greatest voices and poets and will forever remain a beacon of knowledge and strength and hope.” The Festival was brought to an end on Saturday evening "in sympathy with those who have lost their lives or were injured" and for the safety of attendees.

Professor Awoonor was joined by his countrymen at the four day event, in what he called “the best representation of Ghanaian authors that we have ever had”. Among them were poet Nii Parkes and writer and film-maker Kwame Dawes. Both paid tribute to Professor Awoonor on Twitter, with Parkes writing: “I muse on gifts given and swiftly taken away. I waited my whole life to meet my uncle, Kofi Awoonor, and 2 days later he is gone.” Dawes posted: “Kofi Awoonor's death is a sad sad moment here in Nairobi. We have lost one of the greatest African poets and diplomats. I've lost my uncle.”

Warsan Shire, a Somalian poet who was due to speak at the Festival, tweeted that Professor Awoonor was “one of our greatest poets”.

Book blogger Kinna Reads congratulated Professor Awoonor for his command of language, saying “He spoke Fanti as fluently as Ewe”. Professor Awoonor’s early poetry was heavily influenced by the dirge-singing traditions of his native Ewe tribe.

Professor Awoonor’s first collection, Rediscovery and Other Poems, was published in 1964, and he wrote three subsequent collections and a prose poem between then and 1971. Following his incarceration for helping a ‘political criminal’ in the Seventies, Professor Anoowor wrote mainly non-fiction. He became an important diplomat for Ghana, and was the country’s Ambassador to the United Nations between 1990 and 1994.

Earlier this year it was announced that The Promise of Hope, a collection of Professor Awoonor’s new and selected poems from 1964 to 2013 will be published in March 2014.

* Courtesy of THE TELEGRAPH

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Publisher: MBALI PRESS, Ladybrand
Sponsored by the National Arts Council of South Africa