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SHABBIR BANOOBHAI (article first published : 2007-07-12)

Durban-born poet Shabbir Banoobhai has published a rare gift book: water would suffice reflections of love.

Shabbir Banoobhai was born in Durban in 1949 and moved to Cape Town in 1995. His personal poems often have a political dimension and the political, a spiritual. Of necessity, he shared the fate of the larger black community of South Africans, his poetry reflecting that struggle. He has also identified with the victims of oppressive regimes elsewhere. In 1992 he accompanied a journalist friend on a journalistic mission to Sarajevo, but was turned back by UNPROFOR at Sarajevo airport. His poem Sarajevo - for which he received the 2001 Thomas Pringle Award for poetry - records this experience. But it is his mystical poetry which is most extraordinary.

Douglas Livingstone said of his poetry: I was struck by the clean, simplistic line he generally favoured. But the simplicity was deceptive: he made each word (a sign of the true poet) carry great emotional and intellectual weight. An obsessive and talented poet, a precocious master of the Word and a fine lyricist to boot, almost every line of the work was subliminally ignited by the ancient great Islamic poets.

Ravan Press published his first book of poems, echoes of my other self in 1980 and his second shadows of a sun-darkened land in 1984. In 1999, he brought out a book of spiritual poems and reflections, wisdom in a jug - reflections of love.

In 2001, a set of philosophical meditations was published under the title lightmail by Africa Impressions in 2002. inward moon outward sun was also published in 2002, by University of Natal Press, and Wits University Press published a new volume of poems, book of songs with photographs by John Cleare in 2004.

His mystical writing, which can be found on his website: www.veilsoflight.com, has become more and more clearly directed against narrow-minded and exclusive thinking. He has recently published a book of letters to his daughters, writing not only to them but through them to others.

An electronic copy of water would suffice reflections of love is available at www.veilsoflight.com/e-book.pdf




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