De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook alle tags voor Tatamkhulu Afrika op dit blog.
Uit: Bitter Eden
“I touch the scar on my cheek and it flinches as though the long-dead tissue had a Lazarus-life of its own.
Uneasily, I stare at the two letters and accompanying neat package which are still where I put them earlier in the day. Within easy reach of my hand, they are a constant and unsettling focus for my mind and eye.
The single envelope in which the letters were posted is also still there. Airmail and drably English in its design, its difference from its local kin both fascinates and disturbs. I am not accustomed any more to receiving mail from abroad.
The one letter, typed under the logo of a firm of lawyers, is a covering letter which starts off by describing how they have only managed to trace me after much trouble and expense, which expense is to be defrayed by the ‘deceased’s estate’. Then comes the bald statement that it is he that has ‘passed on’ – how I hate that phrase! – after a long illness whose nature they do not disclose and that I have been named in his will as one of the heirs. My legacy, they add, is very small but will no doubt be of some significance to me and it is being forwarded under separate cover per registered mail.
The other letter is from him and I knew that straight away. After fifty years of silence, there was still no mistaking the rounded, bold and generously sprawling hand. Closer inspection betrayed the slight shakiness that is beginning to taint my own hand, and I noted this with an unwilling tenderness and a resurgence – as unwilling – of a love that time, it seems, has too lightly overlaid.
After reading the letters – but not yet opening the package – I had sat for a long time, staring out of the window and watching gulls and papers whirling up out of the southeaster-ridden street, but not knowing which were papers and which were gulls. Reaching for an expected pain, I had found only a numbness transcending pain and, later, Carina had come in and laid her hands on my shoulders and asked, her voice as pale and anxious as her hands, ‘Anything wrong?’
I do not mean to be disparaging when I refer to Carina in these terms. I am, after all, not much darker than her and although my hair is fair turned white and hers is white-blonde turned white, my body hair is as colourless and (as far as I am concerned) unflatteringly rare. I, too, can be nervy although not as pathologically so as Carina whose twitchiness sometimes reminds me of the dainty tremblings of a mouse – and that despite the fact that she moves her long, rather heavy bones in a manner that is unsettlingly male.”
Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)
Doorgaan met het lezen van “Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Gabriel Marcel, Friedrich Schlögl, Noam Chomsky, Willa Cather, Samuel Gottlieb Bürde”
De Brits – Ierse schrijver Arthur Joyce Lunel Cary werd geboren op 7 december 1888 in Derry, Ierland. Cary ging naar school in Clifton en bezocht het College in Oxford. Hij ging daarna naar de universiteit van Edinburgh om kunstgeschiedenis te studeren. Hij zette de studie gedurende drie jaar voort in Parijs, maar toen realiseerde hij zich dat hij niet meer zou worden dan een 3e rangs schilder. In 1912 , meldde hij zich voor de militaire dienst en hij was van 1913 tot 1920 als ambtenaar van de politieke dienst in Nigeria actief. Om gezondheidsredenen keerde hij in 1920 naar Engeland terug en werkte als freelance schrijver. Onder invloed van de tijd in Afrika schreef Cary verschillende romans over Afrika , zoals “Mister Johnson”, waarin hij de confrontatie van een enkele Afrikaan met de beschaafde samenleving beschrijft. In latere werken vormt de samenleving van Groot-Brittannië de achtergrond. In 1941 werd hij bekroond met de James Tait Black Memorial Prize voor “A House of Children”. Hij leed op het einde van zijn leven aan een motorische stoornis, zodat hij alleen kon schrijven met hulpmiddelen en uiteindelijk alleen kon dicteren. Zijn laatste roman “The Captive and the Free” (gepubliceerd in 1959 ) bleef onvoltooid. Cary was getrouwd en had vier zonen, waaronder de componist Tristram Cary.
Uit: The Horse’s Mouth
“Nothing is a masterpiece – a real masterpiece – till it’s about two hundred years old. A picture is like a tree or a church, you’ve got to let it grow into a masterpiece. Same with a poem or a new religion. They begin as a lot of funny words. Nobody knows whether they’re all nonsense or a gift from heaven. And the only people who think anything of ‘em are a lot of cranks or crackpots, or poor devils who don’t know enough to know anything. Look at Christianity. Just a lot of floating seeds to start with, all sorts of seeds. It was a long time before one of them grew into a tree big enough to kill the rest and keep the rain off. And it’s only when the tree has been cut into planks and built into a house and the house has got pretty old and about fifty generations of ordinary lumpheads who don’t know a work of art from a public convenience, have been knocking nails in the kitchen beams to hang hams on, and screwing hooks in the walls for whips and guns and photographs and calendars and measuring the children on the window frames and chopping out a new cupboard under the stairs to keep the cheese and murdering their wives in the back room and burying them under the cellar flags, that it begins even to feel like a religion. And when the whole place is full of dry rot and ghosts and old bones and the shelves are breaking down with old wormy books that no one could read if they tried, and the attic floors are bulging through the servants’ ceilings with old trunks and top-boots and gasoliers and dressmaker’s dummies and ball frocks and dolls-houses and pony saddles and blunderbusses and parrot cages and uniforms and love letters and jugs without handles and bridal pots decorated with forget-me-nots and a piece out at the bottom, that it grows into a real old faith, a masterpiece which people can really get something out of, each for himself. And then, of course, everybody keeps on saying that it ought to be pulled down at once, because it’s an insanitary nuisance.”
Joyce Cary (7 december 1888 – 29 maart 1957)