About Namibia

In this podcast episode, join hosts Gyles and Aphra Brandreth as they engage in a compelling conversation with Namibian poet Keamogetsi joseph Molapong. Broadcasting from Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, Keamogetsi, an activist-poet, sheds light on his passion for using poetry as a tool to amplify the voices of rural communities. Explore the challenges Namibia faced in its fight for independence and experience the emotive power of Keamogetsi’s poetry. Poems his episode include: The Language I Am from the book the Scars on My Skin; Poverty; and My Love I was in the wrong, all by Keamogetsi joseph Molapong.

Region

Africa

Language

English Oshiwambo

English is the official language although many other languages are spoken with Oshiwambo the most common language spoken.

Population

2.54 million (2022)

Area

824,000 square kilometres

High Commissioner

H.E. Linda Scott

Capital

Windhoek

Joined Commonwealth

Joined the Commonwealth in 1990, after independence from South Africa

Episode guests

Keamogetsi Joseph Molapong

Keamogetsi Joseph Molapong

Keamogetsi joseph Molapong is a Namibian poet and has been instrumental in establishing poetry groups and platforms. Molapong has contributed to ‘We Opened the Door and Saw Ourselves’ (New Namibia Books, 1998, ‘Poetically Speaking’ (Gamsberg MacMillan Publishers, 2000), ‘Come Talk Your Heart’ (New Namibia Books, 2005), ‘In Search of Questions’ (BAB, 2005), ‘The Scars On My Skin’ (Township Productions, 2014).

Three of his latest offerings are titled ‘A Poem to the President’ (Township Productions, 2020), ‘When Words are Few’ (Township Productions, 2020) and ‘The Heartbeat of Pain’ (Township Productions, 2022). Molapong has compiled and edited two other Anthologies of Poetry titled ‘Walking from the Self’’ (Township Productions, 2020) and ‘Naming the Tomb’ (Township Productions, 2021).  ‘Dressing the Crosses’ (Township Productions, 2024) is the latest collection of poetry due for publication in March 2024. He has contributed to numerous international poetry anthologies and participated at international poetry festivals. Some of his recent work has been translated into other world languages.

Poverty

by Keamogetsi Joseph Molapong

Being poor is not a privilege
Neither is poverty a calling
It is a state of being, a psychological block
Placed in your path by politicians
So that you can blindly walk into it

Being poor is not inherited
Neither is poverty a trade mark
It is a label for the currently disadvantaged
And the auctioning of the labels in parliament
By the previously disadvantaged
Debating how much poverty you should take

Being poor is not a license
Neither is poverty the benchmark
It is the construction of a lazy nation
That justifies the habits of begging
Surviving from the sweat of others

Being poor is not an agenda
Neither is it an act worth gazetting
Rather, it is the human weakness
Not understanding democratic responsibilities
Accepting the deliberate segmentation of society

Being poor is not the end to our demise
Neither is poverty the noose to eternity
Instead, it is the playing field for politicians
And their foreign economic advisors
Dancing to the tunes of our currency

Being poor is not exclusively for you
Neither is poverty designed just for us
It is the short leash used by the comrades
To tie us down to our shame and ignorance
A platinum policy for their happy retirement

My Love, I Was In The Wrong

by Keamogetsi Joseph Molapong

Having left you on the banks of anger, rage
I must have dislocated my hunger for love
For the love you keep away mattered to me
So much that I searched elsewhere, another

From your right I must have changed, left
Driven blindly into the wrong, the other lane
From the beach I walked to the other bitch
And indulged myself, senseless and heartless

That day, I should have known much better
Not to leave you in anger, danger, despair
If only I could get off the powered fling
‘I must have forgotten to buy you the ring’

Oh that day was cursed, I was not myself
My heart was thrusting against my mind
Was I under the influence, the sensuality?
I could have walked, bypassed the desires

My love, I was in the wrong, so wrong
What was I thinking, could I not detect
The signals you lashed my nakedness
With, so clear, very decoded and bared?

Certainly I cannot blame the empty skies
They were also oblivious of your anger
The prevalent fool was I, I who walked
Into the opposite, cast a blind eye, mind

Was it not recently that…? I can recall
Your wrath was not to be managed
Regularly you warned me, steadied me
I must’ve ignored you, I was never ready

At first your anger intrigued me, I laughed
Your temperament was like a wild storm
I poked, each time you swelled, quietened.
That was what attracted me to your love

Sometimes your laughter just disappeared
And once, I had to search deep in your hurt
To bring a little part of your smile to shore
I remember, you wrapped me in your tears

Your mother told me about your tolerance
It was elastic, strong and it easily stretched
Today it lost its agility, diluted by my lust
What was I thinking, couldn’t I comprehend

I regret disclosing to you my destination
The place where I comfort my throbbing
After a grave wrangle with your temper
My love, I shouldn’t have left you in tears

Like always you watched me leave, flee
All along I thought you went back home
But when I felt your presence, your rage
I knew, I was in the wrong. I messed up

The Language I Am

by Keamogetsi Joseph Molapong

I want to write in the language
I was born and cultured in
Use the images I carry around
Every single day of my life

I want to speak in the language
That is cemented on my tongue
Scented all in my whole being
And coloured, curved in my skin

I want to sing in the language
Produce sounds and melodies
Which I can easily dance to
Enjoy and indulge my spirit

I want to think in the language
That offers me the eternity
Space and endless possibilities
To really, deeply reflect myself

I want to cry in the language
I can really feel my every hurt
Explore and find my deepest self
Amongst my many personalities

I want to laugh in the language
That will fill my emptiness
With sounds from deep inside
Yet so light and meaningful

I want to be in the language
I was, I am and will always be
A language that has become me
And which I want you to be part of