Thursday, August 4, 2011

Living Children and Dead Children

Living Children and Dead Children
by Lien Botha

Compiled by Njabulo Ngobese

The endearment for children and their potential to blossom into progressive humanitarian activists of tomorrow, can be an attribute to the mother figures that have played their part in ensuring that today's new borns are tomorrow's leaders.

The sentiments of Lien Botha towards the welfare of children are highly noted in the AFH (Arts For Humanity) publication Look at Me - Women Artists and Poets Advocate Children's Rights as she boldly states in one of her statements "Until we can create a world in which children are able to grow in health, freedom and safety, and have unrestricted access to the natural and cultural resources we value, we cannot call ourselves fully human".

Today in celebration of women's month we continue to pay tribute to the female forms that have played a role in fighting for the basic human rights for children through their contribution in the arts. The highly accomplished and celebrated Lien Botha is our focus for today as we acknowledge her list of achievements that include credentials from both local & international exhibitions. A successful career of 14 years producing timeless works of art for humanity, Lien Botha is a proud reflection of the women we salute for their wonderful contribution to the em-betterment of our society, more especially the children.


Living children and Dead children
Karen Press
When I think of living children I think of them walking
small and alone over wide hard ground
strewn with curling thorns the colour of scorpions
and leaves as strong as shoes, as strong as skin.
I think of them walking with straight backs
in the direction of hills far away,
and the low trees watching them in case they need help,
and the grasshoppers following them
to find out where they’re going,
and an eagle circling that doesn’t dare to swoop.
There is no magic garden there, and no giant to learn to trust.
I think of them as ones who never turn back or cry
because everyone is so far away
and the land is wide open even in darkness,
the stones stay warm as loaves of bread,
the night moths hover,
fly forward a little way,
hover and watch.
Dead children are no-one’s ancestors.
They sit alone, unsummoned,
and all their memories surround them.
No-one comes to fold the memories away,
wash their faces, sing them to sleep.
Their knowledge takes the form of hunger.
Around them their successor dead,
parents and grown siblings, nieces, nephews,
bustle about, preparing for ceremonies of power over the living.
The dead children, ancestors of death,
sit on the floor between the swirling hems of shadows,

Bana ba ba tshelang le bana ba ba tlhokafetseng

Setswana translation: Lorato Trok
Fa ke akanya ka bana ba ba tshelang ke akanya ka bona ba tsamaya
ba le bannye ba le nosi mo lefatsheng le le thata le le bulegileng
ba gasagantswe ka mebitlwa e e kgolaganeng mmala wa diphepheng
le matlhare a a kwenneng jaaka ditlhako, a kwenne jaaka letlalo.
ke akanya ka bona ba tsamaya ka mekwatla e e tlhamaletseng
ba lebile kgakala kwa dithabeng,
ditlhare tse dikhutshwane di ba lebile gore fa ba ka tlhoka thuso,
le bomantlopane ba ba setse morago
go bona gore ba ya kae
le ntsu e ntse e ba dikologa e sa tshabe go ka tlhasela.
Ga gona tshingwana ya malea foo,le seng dimo go ka ithuta go tshepa.
Ke akanya ka bona jaaka ba ba senkeng ba nanoga le e seng go lela
gonne mongwe le mongwe o kgakala
le lefatshe le bulegile thata tota le mo lefifing,
matlapa a nna a le bothitho jaaka ditene tsa senkgwe,
motuotwane wa bosigo o sa sute,
o fokela kwa pele go se go nene,
o nna o sa sute o be o lebelela.
Bana ba ba tlhokafetseng ga se badimo ba ga ope.
ba nna ka nosi, ba sa bidiwe ke ope
ba dikaganyeditswe ke dikgopolo tsa bona.
Ga go ope yo o tlang go phuthaphutha dikgopolo tsa bona,
a ba tlhapisa difatlhego, a ba opaopela.
kitso ya bona e lebega jaaka tlala.
Motlhatlhami wa bona o tlhokafetse,
batsadi le bana ba motho ba ba godileng, ditlogo,
ba phetesela, ba baakanyetsa mokete wa maatla a a ba ba tshelang
Bana ba ba tlhokafetseng, badimo ba loso,
ba nna fa fatshe magareng ga pitlagano ya meriti e e pheulegang
ba timetse

A Brief biography of Karen Press

Karen Press was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She has worked as a teacher of mathematics and English, with a range of progressive education projects, and as a member of the Buchu Books Publishing Collective. She has published seven collections of poetry and her poems have been included in anthologies in South Africa, France, Austria, the UK and the USA. She currently works as a freelance editor and writer.

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