Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín

DAVID RUBADIRI (Malawi, 1930)

Begging Aid

Whilst our children
Become smaller than guns,
Elders become big
Circus Lions
Away from home.

Whilst the manes age
In the Zoos
That now our homelands
Have become,
Markets of leftovers,
Guns are taller
Than our children.

In the beggarhood
Of a Circus
That now is home,
The whip of the Ringmaster
Cracks with a snap
That eats through
The backs of our being.

Hands stretching
In a prayer
Of submission
In a beggarhood
Of Elders delicately
Performing the tightrope
To amuse the Gate
For Tips
That will bring home
Toys of death.

David Rubadiri was born in Liuli, Malawi, on July 19, 1930. Poet, novelist, playwright, university professor and diplomat, permanent ambassador of his country to the United Nations. He made studies in Makerere University College, Kampala, Uganda, between 1952 and 1956 and later he studied Literature at King’s Collage, Cambridge. He received a Diploma in Education from Bristol University, England. He has been teacher at the University of Botswana and dean of the Language and Social Sciences Education Department at the same university.Member of the Executive Committee of the National Theater of Kenia, between 1975 and 1980. Publications: Growing Up With Poetry: An Anthology for Secondary Schools, 1989; Poems from East Africa, 1971; No Bride Price (novel, 1967) in which he shows his disillusion with the post-independent style of Kamuzu Banda, that guided Malawi toward its independence from the British Empire, but whose actions as president were very controversial because of his relations with the pro-white movement of South Africa. He also wrote the play, Come to Tea, in 1965.His work has appeared in international publications such as Transition, Black Orpheus, Présence Africaine, as well as in the first anthology Modern Poetry of Africa, in 1963. Currently he is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malawi. His poems show a fruitful conscient combination of African influences and European poetical forms. Although there is a certain melancholy in his poems, which is a common characteristic of black poets from Africa and other regions of the world, it is maybe the black humor that better describes the poetry of Rubadiri. In his creations, that melancholy is accompanied with irony and sarcasm that painfully touch the vital experience of his race. However, this classic of African poetry, from whom we will not forget his quality as a very recognized poet in the world, he gathers some elements that make his poetry one of the richest of contemporary Africa. Always particular, when he approaches the issue of love he makes it differently, without romanticism but with the sufficient evocative force for drawing us near to the riverside of his love.
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