Revered anti-apartheid activist releases book of poetry

PROUD AND PRESIDENTIAL: The panel of speakers at the launch for Chants of Freedom is made up of Prof. Gessler Moses Nkondo, former President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe, Dr Mathews Phosa, Prof. Phil Bonner and the host of the book launch Shahid Vawda.

It was an evening not only to enjoy the way that Phosa uses words to evoke feelings in South Africans, but also a time to remember – through his views and poetry – what transpired in South Africa in the past.

The event was hosted by Head of School of Social Sciences at Wits University, Shahid Vawda.

In true congress style, the guests at the book launch were addressed by a panel introduced by Marlene Fryer of Penguin Publishers. Speaking on the panel was Prof. Phil Bonner, the man who found the poetry works of Phosa after ‘ransacking’ his house, as the author so eloquently phrased it.

Prof. Gessler Moses Nkondo of Wits University, former President Kgalema Motlanthe and Phosa made up the rest of the panel.

Phosa told guests that he was honoured to have Motlanthe present at the launch of his book, as the late President Nelson Mandela had done years before.

Chants of Freedom is Phosa’s first book written in English and is a compilation of the poems he wrote while in exile during apartheid.

After giving thanks to all the people who contributed towards publishing the book, Phosa read a poem, Comrade Your Are Not a Traitor. “It’s very difficult for me to read this – I get very emotional,” he said.

Highly respected by the country’s citizens, Phosa is a struggle icon, and his work speaks volumes about what he has done for the country and, furthermore, provides insight into the oppression of the past.

Racine Edwardes

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