In search of questions. A collection of new Namibian poems

Namibia's new generation of poets asks its own questions
Molapong, K. J.; Warner, C.; Winterfeldt, V.(eds.)
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In search of questions. A collection of new Namibian poems

Subtitle: A collection of new Namibian poems
Editor: K. J. Molapong, C. Warner, V. Winterfeldt
Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien
Basel, 2005
Soft-cover, 13x12 cm, 114 pages, some bw-photos and illustrations

Publisher's note:

In search of questions-Namibia's new generation of poets asks its own questions. Acknowledging the achievements of independence and liberation, poetry today claims the right to question the direction in which post-apartheid society moves. Unfulfilled promises of social justice provoke reactions from many of the well-known Namibian community poets. Of relevance to today's generations are not yesterday's answers but today's questions.

Chapter "Christi Warner":

"Words mean, words say and words make arrows" - these are poetic expressions from Christi Warner, a poet born in Windhoek. She believes that words have a certain power to influence - for better or worse. Christi first explored the power of words back in 1987, at age 14 in school, when she battled to understand the importance of her existence and the need to trust her dreams. Over the years she made her choice to become a poet and write the truth about herself and her environment. As she sees it to-day, poetry can play a big role both in socio-economic development and self-discovery. Thus, her poetry has a social focus and most of the time women, children and youth are the subject matter. Through the years she explored different methods of bringing her poetry to the public, first reading it to friends and class mates. Later, in 1992 she began employing the element of performance poetry (recitals) through a poetry group named 'Ama Poets'.

The group existed under the wing of the Bricks Community Project, an NGO based in Katutura. She believes that her strength in writing about socio-economic issues grew because of her link with Bricks. Christi is a founding member of the 'Kitso poets', a group cultivating performance poetry, an element she considers important because it removes the barriers of illiteracy, an element crucial in a society where illiteracy still remains high. Already since 1993 she learned to share her skills in creative writing with children. In workshops she encourages them to put their feelings on paper rather than storing everything inside.

In 2000, Christi was instrumental in facilitating a workshop in creative writing organized by the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre in Windhoek, in conjunction with Poets against war. Violence and Nuclear Weapons (PAWN). The event lead to Poetically speaking, a many-faceted anthology, which was published by Gamsberg Macmillan. Together with Christi, more than a dozen Namibian poets contributed their works. New on her list is exploring the combination of music with poetry. "I am working on my CD where I mix R&R, Jazz, African and HipHop sounds with hungry, silent, powerful and emotional words."

Chritsi's Poem "LESS ORDINARY"(19th August 2004)

An ordinary sunny day, working day for me
I passed this house. Just an ordinary square
with an ordinary fence - made of ordinary wire
With a keen desire to help me see this...
Old woman, sitting staring at the distance
further down the street... Where she left her mind
6 months now: less ordinary if you think
I turned, and said hello! First time in 6 months
First time in 6 months she found my eyes
I rescued her from the distance just for a second though
The longest second I've ever been bestowed with
And in this little time I saw something more.
I felt something more...
I am convinced 'cause my jaw almost touched the dusty road
Less ordinary - if you think
An ordinary sunny day, working day for me
But I couldn't pass this house. I had a keen desire
to step behind the fence made of ordinary wire
to say more than hello to this...
Old woman, sitting staring at the distance
Hoping that maybe she'd help me see
what was further down the street...
I found the gate, my behind found an empty drum
My hand shamelessly found her shoulder
- an ordinary gesture
Again she found my eyes and this time I had a smile
but not as old as hers not as warm as hers
"He's coming home," she said.
"They say the heroes have all come home.
Not all true, because he's still coming.
The 21st of March has not yet reached him."
She seemed convinced 'cause her eyes danced with hope
She spoke of how the war was raw
and how he had to leave with the heroes
in search of peace
I knew the salt had left my eyes
when her hand tried to soak it up
Then and there I knew too that my 14 years of peace
in this land of the brave
had not yet begun for this old woman
sitting staring at the distance further down the street.
Her hero had not yet returned.
But "he's coming home," she said.
An ordinary sunny day, no working day for me
I passed this house. Just an ordinary square
with an ordinary fence - made of ordinary wire
which helped me see the reality of this...
Old woman, sitting staring at the distance
further down the street... 14 years now:
Still waiting for her war to end in this land with no war


Henning Melber: In honour of Carl Schlettwein
Volker Winterfeldt: In search of questions - an introduction

The Poems:

Christi Warner
Less ordinary
When a woman cries
Her wish
This is a letter from Mother Earth
Keep the fire burning

Rusten Amor Basson
The forgotten child
I wish I could go to Zimbabwe

Kavevangua Kahengua
Woman breastfeeding
Finger biting
Son of the soil
Birthday for a refugee
When developments
Initiatives initiatives

Andre du Pisani
Beyond memory

Ronald Kustaa
The hand
Shallow poem

David /Nanub
Drink or The drinker
Black poverty
The fear
Western water
Lost generations

Cathy Karuuombe
They are leaving

Luna Ramphaga
The land

Richard Masule Sibanga
My name is
Life in the city

Keamogetsij Molapong
In search of questions
What it is
Even though we know
Cry of a falling man
Empty shells

Christiane Schulte:
From Workers'Compound to KCAC
The art students and their drawings


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