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ISLAMIC VERSES FOR LIVE POETS (article first published : 2004-04-2)

The Live Poets' Society usually meets at Adams Books Coffee Shop in Durban's Musgrave at 17h30 on the second Wednesday of each month. In April, however, the group will convene on April 7 because of the General Election the following week.

The guest poet will be Ebrahim Mphutlane wa Bofelo who will present selections from his collection The Journey Within which comprises reflections, prose poems and prayers he composed during Ramadaan 2002. It captures the poet's inner struggle against the self and efforts to relate them to the spiritual, psycho-social and physical struggles of all humans for a sense of being and belonging. The mystical Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi is one of his influences.

Bofelo embraced Islam in 1986 when in Leeukop Prison where he was jailed for his work in the Black Consciousness Movement. He now contributes to the column Debate Continua! in Al-Qalam Newspaper, is the national vice-president of the Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa, secretary general of Africa Muslim Youth Congress, and convenor of the Anti-Racism Education Forum.

He has been widely published in highly respected poetry journals and his work is included in the anthology Poetry 5 published by Botsotso. Ironically, he is also well-known for his colourful contemporary poetry for which he is the current Slam Champion of the annual Poetry Africa Festival. Copies of The Journey Within will be available at R25.

Following the devotional nature of his programme and the fact that Pesach (Passover), Easter, Sri Hanuman Jayanti and the Tamil New Year occur in April, the evening's theme is “Faith”. Those with poems which could be linked to this all-embracing subject are invited to present them. Then in the Poet Pourri session they may air their work on any subject they wish.

There is no charge though donations towards expenses are accepted. All are welcome regardless of whether or not you write poetry. As there is limited seating, latecomers are advised to bring cushions or folding chairs. Contact Brett Beiles on 082 516 0517, 031 266 4762 (a/h) or e-mail: thirdeye@3i.co.sa




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