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By W. Gobel
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Illustrated through Elizabeth Wolf.
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This corresponds to his perception that the new obstacle to social emancipation is not apartheid but ANC neo-liberalism. Talking Rain contains none of the earlier volume’s residual belief in the nation’s emancipation as a progress through empty homogeneous time. Such belief is clear, for instance, in ‘rap 7’ of Horns for Hondo (‘Hondo’ is Shona for war), where the poet presents southern African history as a sequence of completed liberation movements that he witnesses and assists. He begins with Zimbabwe whose liberation transcends Lancaster House’s attempts to produce a negotiated settlement: as you behold the drowning ﬂeet sent by downing street i blew the horn for hondo freedom danced in through the door And then proceeds through the region: from circumcision school zambia to sandbedded namibia i came home in the wind [.
These surface details indicate a transnational dynamic that is far more complicated, and interesting, than the uncritical emulation of modern black America proposed by Masilela and Diawara. Such a dynamic – which I want to call critical black transnationalism – dates back at least to the ﬁrst African National Congress general secretary Sol Plaatje. B. du Bois, subjecting it to a subalternist scrutiny that questions the adequacy of black petty bourgeoisie to represent the black majority. 17 But the example of Plaatje – whom Rampolokeng refers to as ‘the prophet’18 – suggests that black South Africans have always interrogated as much as they have appropriated Black South African poetry 33 elements of the black diaspora.
Rampolokeng’s second volume, Talking Rain, was published three years later, when the apartheid regime was oﬃcially nearing its end and the ANC was the visible heir of state oﬃce. C. F. and World Bank funding. 48 There is a discernible escalation of scatological and eschatological language in this 1993 volume of Rampolokeng’s poetry. This corresponds to his perception that the new obstacle to social emancipation is not apartheid but ANC neo-liberalism. Talking Rain contains none of the earlier volume’s residual belief in the nation’s emancipation as a progress through empty homogeneous time.
Beyond The Black Atlantic: Relocating Modernization and Technology by W. Gobel