Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

The Symbolic Significance of P.T. Mtuze's Poem "Isinagogo" in Uyavuth' Umlilo/die Simboliese Beduidenheid Van P.T. Mtuze Se Gedig "Isinagogo" in Uyavuth' Umlilo

Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

The Symbolic Significance of P.T. Mtuze's Poem "Isinagogo" in Uyavuth' Umlilo/die Simboliese Beduidenheid Van P.T. Mtuze Se Gedig "Isinagogo" in Uyavuth' Umlilo

Article excerpt

Abstract

The symbolic significance of P.T. Mtuze's Poem "Isinagogo" in Uyavuth' umlilo

This article examines the symbols used by P.T. Mtuze in the poem, "Isinagogo", which is contained in "Uyavuth' umlilo" (1990). The symbols used in the poem include "isinagogo" (the black barbet), "amavukuthu" (the doves), "izadunge" (the dirty water ponds) and "umphathi wamavukuthu" (the master of the doves). In the discussion it will be illustrated how these symbols represent Nelson Mandela when he was a prisoner, the South African Police, the then State President of South Africa, P.W. Botha, and Robben Island. However, before the actual discussion of the symbols, an attempt will be made to define the concept of symbolism.

Key concepts:

"Isinagogo" Mtuze, P.T. symbolism symbols of Nelson Mandela, P.W. Botha Uyavuth' umlilo

Opsomming

Die simboliese beduidenheid van P.T. Mtuze se gedig "Isinagogo" in Uyavuth' umlilo

Hierdie artikel ondersoek die simboliek wat P.T. Mtuze gebruik in die gedig "Isinagogo", wat opgeneem is in "Uyavuth' umlilo" (1990). Die simboliek wat gebruik word in die gedig sluit in die "isinagogo" (die kuifkophoutkapper), "amavukuthu" (die duiwe), "izadunge" (die vuil waterpoele) en "umphathi wamavukuthu" (die meester van die duiwe). In die bespreking sal geillustreer word hoe hierdie simbole Nelson Mandela as gevangene, die Suid Afrikaanse Polisie, die voormalige Staatspresident van Suid Afrika, P.W. Botha, en Robbeneiland uitbeeld. Daar sal egter eers gepoog word om die konsep "simboliek" te definieer.

Kernbegrippe:

"Isinagogo" Mtuze, P.T. simboliek simbole vir Nelson Mandela, P.W. Botha Uyavuth' umlilo

1. Introduction

While Mtuze's poetry is rich in symbolism, so far, no attention has been given to this poet's use of symbolism in his poetry. The aim of this article is to reveal the rich usage of symbolism in the poetry of Mtuze, with special reference to the poem, "Isinagogo", in the volume, Uyavuth' umlilo, which Mtuze co-authored with Satyo.

During the apartheid period in South Africa, South African writers in general, and Xhosa poets in particular, expressed their observations and feelings about what was happening in the country. Unfortunately, they could not do it so freely and openly for fear of detention and/or the banning of their works. This was because of the lack of freedom of speech and expression during those times. These writers had to use symbols to reveal their perceptions and express their observations and feelings about what was happening in the political situation of South Africa (Tshomela, 2006:56). It is for this reason that Mtuze, in this poem, uses symbols to reveal conditions of political prisoners, particularly Nelson Mandela, at Robben Island during the apartheid period.

Examples of other Xhosa writers who use symbols in revealing the negative effects of the political situation in South Africa during the apartheid era include Siyongwana (1962) in the novel, Ubulumko bezinja, Qangule (1970)in the poem, "Inkabi kabawo" and Jolobe (1992) in the poem, "Ukwenziwa komkhonzi". The symbols used by these writers are not readily clear to everyone. One has to apply one's analytical skills to get to what these writers are actually presenting in their works.

2. P.T. Mtuze

The poem, "Isinagogo", is written by Peter Tshobiso Mtuze in the anthology Uyavuth' umlilo, which is co-authored with S.C. Satyo. Mtuze is a prominent writer of Xhosa literary works including prose, drama and poetry. He has written over thirty books of Xhosa literature. He has served as court interpreter, radio personality and a lecturer at the University of South Africa, Fort Hare and Rhodes universities. He is presently a Professor of African Languages at Rhodes University.

Mtuze composed the poem "Isinagogo" particularly to reveal some facts about Mandela's life in jail, when he was a political prisoner at Robben Island. …

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