Books

Namib. Desert. Namibia, the “desert country,” beloved home of the poet Mvula ya Nangolo, the author of this volume. The desert is also a powerful leitmotif for a region that lacks a life-sustaining ingredient, namely rain, the rain of freedom from the shackles of colonialism and general occupation by foreign powers, first colonized by Germany, and then occupied by apartheid South Africa. The poet, ya Nangolo, takes full advantage of this seeming contradiction to create the expectation of rain to “water the beloved desert.”—Daniel P. Kunene, author of A Seed Must Seem to Die, Emeritus Professor & Former Chair, Department of African Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Mvula ya Nangolo’s collection is the fruit of several decades’ poetic refl ection. It is combative, public verse, which wears its Namibian nationalism and Pan-African antiimperialism on its sleeve. Despite the insistent patriotism, Watering the Beloved Desert intermittently shows a more intimate side to Mvula’s personae, especially in the last section where the years of exile dissolve into the more complex struggles of the postindependence period.—David Kerr, author of Tangled Tongues and Head, Department of Media Studies, University of Botswana.

After reading Watering the Beloved Desert one wants to learn the frog dance and praise the ancestors. In the heart of every exile dreams a poem. Often it is the poetry of land, people and remembrance. Mvula ya Nangolo has given us a gift. Words for the thirsty. We must drink and strengthen our bones, blood and flesh.—E. Ethelbert Miller, editor of Beyond the Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century and Director of The African American Resource Center, Howard University.

At times, Mvula ya Nangolo’s poetry is as staccato as raindrops on a hot tin roof. At other times, it is as lightly seductive as the touch of a butterfly.—Jean Fischer, Namibian journalist, in Flamingo, Windhoek, Namibia.