Former journalist, author and legendary poet Don Mattera was the guest of honour at the 12th Mama Said poetry session, held at the Pro Musica Basement Theatre in Florida, Roodeport. The Mama Said Sessions are a monthly discussion and talent showcasing event hosted by poet Ntsiki Mazwai.
These sessions aim to celebrate established artist as well as provide a platform for the up and coming performers. In a warm and dimly lit theatre, it felt like we were sitting around a fire listening to our grandfather tell us stories about an era we never witnessed. Don Mattera shared stories about where he began, what shaped him, his experience of apartheid and gave a crash course on poetry.
There were no questions from the crowd when Ntsiki opened the floor for questions. It could be that the crowd was still mesmerized and absorbing the wisdom and feelings of being around greatness. Ntsiki then took to the stage with a live band followed by a rapper named Joshua. It was amazing to watch three generations of wordsmiths on the same stage, each with a meaningful and relevant message to deliver.
I walked away from the event shameful because I don’t know much about the history of South Africa. Our 1976 counterparts knew so much that they changed history and contributed to making our democracy possible. I wish young people could invest the same amount of time they spend chatting on their Blackberries on researching relevant information like when Martin Luther King day is or why the 21st of March is a public holiday.
Don Mattera planted a burning desire in me to start learning about Africa and my South Africa- not only what was in my high school textbooks. “On your marks, get set, look back to see who you can take with you,” was but one of the quotes that stuck with me. There’s so much we can learn from the youth that made this democracy possible.
The Mama Said sessions are held at the Pro Musica Basement Theatre on the last Sunday of every month. However, Mazwai said she’d be putting them on hold while she records her second album.
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