People often talk about the rhythm of life and the rhythm of the soul. I have heard the expression that we all have a rhythm for what we do, hence, the reason why we do it effortlessly. For example, TD Jakes once asked the question; do you have the rhythm of love? Do you have the rhythm of a wife? Do you have the rhythm of a mother? It made sense to me because not every woman is wired to be a wife or a mother. If you are a wife, you have the rhythm to be a wife to your husband and be a mother to the children that come from your love and still have time to nurture your home, make love to your man, take care of the kids, cook, clean, get them ready for school and on your way out the door, you remember to kiss your man. Now, rhythm in marriage is not one sided. It takes two and the man must have rhythm too.
My focus right now is not marriage; I was setting the scene up for you. You like that? Now stay with me.
I have heard poets and I have heard poets but Lebogang Mashile blew me away at the Southbank recently when she came down to London with the ‘Beyond Words’ team of poets. Wow! What a night it was. At 30, she had the audience fixated as they listened to her every word and move.
Don’t try to imagine this is one big lady, taller than everyone in the room and bigger than everybody to the contrary; she is of average height, built the way a woman like her should be built and she is a pretty lady with a funny American accent. She was born in the US during the Apartheid years but found her voice when she went back to South Africa over 14 years ago.
Lebo left university while she was reading Law because she just realised she didn’t want to be a lawyer anymore and she was already writing.
I have sat down with Lebo to talk and she reached and touched my soul. The words that come out of Lebo Mashile are the words of a woman who has lived and is now the source of wisdom for her children, grand-children and great-grand children. Lebo Mashile is a woman of Wisdom and I dare add great wisdom. One of the most intelligent people I have met lately and she knows what she is talking about, from politics to everyday life, fashion to the film world, she knows her stuff.
Lebo delivered poetry with rhythm. She spoke from her heart and danced to her words. She created music with her words; her voice was all the instruments she needed. If you were not there and you are lost where poetry is concerned, I am of the opinion that when you see and hear Lebo Mashile live, you will change your mind and fall in love with the rhythm of words.
That’s right, she knows how to make words make love to each other and sound so emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically healthy like two lovers making love without the cares of the world.
I was lucky to get one of her live albums and just finished listening again. I just had to write this blog entry because she had me bopping my head and dreaming dreams. When I got to the piece, ‘Every Child My Child,’ she took me back to that evening at the Southbank. My world, that poem had me in pieces. One of the most powerful things I have heard all year and of course, Lebo made it what it was. If you were there am sure you remember, ‘Every child, my child, wrapped in ribbon of rhythm.’ I hope I got that right!
I remember the first poem she did at the Southbank was ‘What Kind Of A Woman.’ If you don’t know the type of woman you are or you are in the discovery room, do get Lebo’s book, ‘Flying Above The Sky,’ and get yourself some piece of that powerful word.
Ms Mashile had the baby in me kicking with her words and I can’t wait until January when she is back at the Southbank. Lebogang Mashile, my South African sister, keep the words coming because I’m going to keep listening.