Local poet launches debut collection

2016-01-20 06:00
Thabo Jijana at the launch of Failing Maths and My Other Crimes at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.    Photo: SUPPLIED

Thabo Jijana at the launch of Failing Maths and My Other Crimes at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum. Photo: SUPPLIED

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PEDDIE-born poet, Thabo Jijana, recently launched his debut collection of poems, titled Failing Maths and My Other Crimes at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.

The 27-year-old freelance journalist’s anthology was the first book to have been published by the uHlanga New Poets series, a new publishing imprint dedicated to publishing South Africa’s most promising young poets.

Failing Maths is a book of poems that are narrative-driven, inspired by true life and all of them little studies on a life fully lived.

“On the whole, Failing Maths gathers work I have produced in the last five to six years,” Jijana said.

Jijana was the 2011 recipient of the Anthony Sampson Foundation Award. He was also the 2014 winner of the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award for his poem titled Children Watching Old People. In the same year, he published his first book, Nobody’s Business, which is a memoir about the death of his father during a spate of taxi violence.

“My father, a taxi owner-driver in Peddie, was killed in 2003 in King William’s Town during a spate of taxi-related violence that affected both towns.

“On the day he was murdered, violence broke out at the Market Square taxi rank where my father and some of his colleagues were attending to matters related to how the two towns could share routes,” he said.

Jijana has always been passionate about writing but discovered his passion for poetry in high school.

“I became interested in poetry in high school when I came across a narrative poem by the late South African poet, Mafika Gwala, but I began to really pursue poetry as a vocation at university.”

This year he will be studying towards an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes University and as part of his studies, he will be working on a novel which he hopes to publish in the near future.

Failing Maths and My Other Crimes costs R140 and can be ordered at various bookstores around South Africa or directly from uHlanga Press at nick@uhlangapress.co.za

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