Civil Society’s Care and Creativity in South Africa’s Covid storm
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Covid-19 amplified the seismic rumblings of South Africa’s divided society. Out of the limelight and away from corruption scandals, a vast network of civil society organisations mobilised as the pandemic approached. They harnessed the thunder, directing attention to people who are usually not seen or heard – compelling the nation to take a long, hard look at itself.
Heap of Stones is a selection of forty poems from two decades of AE Ballakisten’s poetry, many written while in his twenties. The book opens with a pledge by the poet; that his poetry will always reflect his “true word”. Indeed, the poems have a bold honesty; they are a powerful reflection of the human experience and range in emotions from anger and heartbreak to hope and contentment.
AE Ballakisten returns with his new anthology of Poems, Talking to a Tree. His debut anthology Heap of Stones garnered plenty of critical praise and public appreciation and Talking to a Tree is already showing signs of following in that tradition.
Talking to a Tree asks the crucial question of mankind through the poems that make up its contents: “Is this really how we want to live?” In a range of voices and poems, the book surveys the state of humanity revealing the themes of conflict and decay. In his words we can clearly see the fear of the poet that we are rapidly eroding our humanity and threatening our already fragile world.
Growing up in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa in the 1950’s and 1960’s the emphasis on the way of life was completely different to the present day some nearly 70 years later.
He writes of his reminiscences of his school days and especially his involvement in sport which was compulsory. Many of life’s lessons were learnt young on the rugby or cricket fields.