Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín

Impact of Poetry in the Era of Globalization

By Alfred Tembo
Written to Prometeo


In African traditions and culture poetry has stood the test of time, for the reason that custodians of respective tribes the resulting impacts of globalization. Traditions stored in folktales, traditional songs, traditional games, and plays among other methods.

While most songs and poems have their seasons, places, and reasons. Regardless of cultural crossovers these songs still survive in their original forms today although in different forms as they l retold over and over.

Through my intimacy with literature, “Poetry is simply a reflection of time behind and time ahead using language to inflict directions and decision making.”

Leaders in contemporary Africa, feel threatened by poets who take it to information dissemination via poetry as a vehicle of communication, in what is said to be attempts to over throw government, where poetry is employed as weapon to inspire democracy.

Poetry has taken the centre stage on reflecting on African leadership especially in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi, and Mozambique. One common trend in these countries is there are conflicts caused by dictatorial ruler ship. Artists (Poets) were on several counts arrested for freedom of expression, through dramatic act, poetry recitals.

In linking different communities, translation has eroded cultural, tribal, racial misinterpretations, barriers.

In Southern Africa Sam Mpasu (Malawian) poet Dambudzo Marechera 1952-1987 (Zimbabwe) Jack Mapanje (Malawi) had their literary works in their respective countries banned for undermining government authorizes. Mpanje and Mpasu were sentenced imprisoned for their creativity.
This simply reflect the impact of literary works in the case of the above mentioned poets whose works had comprised of both poetry and prose with their messages deciphered in metaphoric weaving.

Personally l feel a writer, has to be distinguished as an individual entity that completely represent its self before identified with a nation. This delivers us to our quest of reaching out to the global community, where either our root or Diaspora experiences cater for our inspiration or our capability to engrave the messages in between lines.

“I am astonished at the audience ignorance. I did not expect such a low cultural level among you. Those who do not understand my work are simply illiterate. One must learn…” wrote Dambudzo Marechera in Black Sunlight, in his call for poets to read and learn ahead of time.

Up dated on March 8th, 2012.

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