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Poetic Healing--exploring love in the times of HIV and Aids.

In July, Ibis and [Spoken Word] in collaboration with the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre celebrated the ten best poems entered into the Poetic Healing competition. The competition invited poets to explore the complexities of love in the times of HIV and Aids.

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Why did the organisers choose love as the central theme, instead of throwing a more open question, such as how HIV/AIDS affects your life? "We felt it was an issue pressuring from the inside, something we needed to verbalise, and something which is not given much attention in the spectrum of things which HIV/AIDS put its fingerprint on. Something nobody really speaks about ..." Itayi Duve and Annette Forsingdal explain in their foreword to the publication containing the best poems.

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"Already the day after we had advertised the competition, we started receiving the first poems. Soon we realised we had lifted the lid on a steaming issue. We were amazed at the quality of the poems and not least the willingness of the poets to share some of their inner feelings and thoughts. The content of the overwhelming response gave us insight into understanding why HIV/AIDS is such a hard nut to crack.

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"The poems reveal the complexities of living in a high HIV-prevalence country when it comes to love and sex--being young, being naturally curious to explore love, sex and sexuality, whether living with HIV or not. A new dimension has been added to falling in love, being loved, giving love or sharing love. And we are all in it."

The two poems published here, both written by young women, won top honours in the competition.
Unknown By You

 Do you have any idea what effect you have on me?
 I think about you all the time, I struggle in my mind.
 How I disclose to you, the way I feel?
 How I disclose to you, my deepest secret?
I wish I could tell you everything I know, everything I am.

 For friends we are, we have learned to share,
Everything we got everything we know, everything we are.
 We vow to protect each other.

 My secret is buried deep in my appearance.
 I can't bear it anymore I want to get close.
 Is it dishonest to love you this way?
 How will you react, if you only knew?

 Show me what to do, show me you tolerate.
 All I am all we are is a victim of epidemic.
 In my mind I see, how it can be, once you know.
 Is it all a dream, a fantasy? I am afraid to discover.
 How you'll react.

 For friends we are what can separate us.
 The question remains.
Such a wonderful being you are, I am afraid to guess.
 What your thoughts are.
 Give me a clue.

 --M. Amakali--
Tell Love

 Tell love of my search for him
 Crusades of my heart's promise
 Floating on the clouds of this vast land
 Sliding down banisters of forbidden fruit
 Swirling in pools of perplexity
 Hoping I might find love in the waters
 My eyes evading sleep,
Whence my body has been dormant for hours
 Drifting in love's possibilities

 I'm trapped in a generation,
 Where love has lost its romantic connotation
 A lustful society's creation
 A negative moral implication
 Is it truly peer-pressure's persuasion?
 Or is it the reality of HIV/AIDS?
I don't want to be the girl who gives sex for love
 I don't want to be loved for sex
 Tell love I may never be one with him
His acquaintance promiscuity is not in my favour
 I dine with abstinence
 Sip on the possibility of true love
 Tell love I may never be one with him
 Imagination's note book
 Scribbled prince charming
 Now I have a broken heart
 I have never even loved
 A broken heart -
 For will I ever love?
 My life
 Prophesied, written
 Now I must edit it
 HIV/AIDS has affected my life
 I don't want to fall prey to this hunter
 So my life I must now rewrite ...

 --Chiwimbiso (Bibi) Gava--


Artwork by Ismael Tjijenda. The publication Poetic Healing.

An insightful collection from Namibian Poets is available from Ibis, Tel: 24 5556
COPYRIGHT 2006 Sister Namibia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sister Namibia
Geographic Code:6NAMI
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Words:695
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