Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ronelda Kamfer - a necessary voice from South Africa

I discovered Ronelda Kamfer's work on the always excellent Poetry International Web. From the age of 10 she lived in Camp Flats, a place in which getting to school involved getting past three gangs. Camp Flats at one time had 150 gangs and perhaps still has. She saw a schoolmate shot dead in crossfire outside her school.

It's unusual to find a poetic voice coming from a background like this and I really like her poetry and recommend it to you. She writes in Afrikaans and there is just a handful of her poems available in English.

She developed her poetic style by compressing sentences into a few words to stop her little sister from reading her private stuff, according to this interview with Fred De Vries (link no longer available). I've never heard of that method before - but it worked.

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