Meet Your Writers: Lesego Rampolokeng and Ekow Duker

Posted on January 01, 2018

The two final events of the 2017 Meet Your Writers series, organised by the English Department in collaboration with the Department of Library Services, were again very successful. We hosted performance poet and writer Lesego Rampolokeng on September 12, 2017. He read from his latest novel Bird-Monk Seding to a full, appreciative and ululating audience. Rampolokeng’s narrative style of fragmentation and improvisation, as Danyela Demir writes, “enters new terrain in its playful use of intertextual and intermedial references”, blurring traditional genre boundaries.

Interweaving two narrative strands, one set in Seding, a township in the Groot Marico area, the other in Soweto of the 1970s and 1980s, the novel captures realities of everyday township life in streets and taverns. Employing a jazzy, upbeat style, Rampolokeng does not shy away from challenging how little things have changed in the country.  

On the 20 of October 2017, Ekow Duker visited the University of Pretoria. He offered a thoughtful recount of how he transitioned from an engineer stationed in the isolated desert plains to a successful novelist. Like many other writers, Duker has always been an avid reader and felt that it was important to test the waters with a few short stories. Eventually he was spurred on by publishers to write more and so he found the necessary courage and inspiration to begin his first prose manuscript.

Inspiration, for Duker, comes in many forms; he told audiences that upon the passing of his first wife, he could very clearly hear her voice encouraging him to write. He also mentioned being very inspired by aural stimuli like music, so much so that his latest manuscript includes a violin maker. Like this protagonist, Duker also wants to create music with his craft. He mentioned, often, how language and sound are more intuitive faculties for him: if sentences do not sound correct, if they lack the correct rhythm, then he knows he must fix it until it is more pleasing to his inner ear. 

His latest novel, The God Who Made Mistakes, addresses difficulties still faced by LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex) people in the new South Africa.

Lesego Rampolokeng (middle) socializing with staff and students after the event.

- Author Rebecca Fasselt

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