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Franschhoek Literary Festival

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Lebo Mashile in Conversation with Hugh Hodge

Lebo Mashile and Hugh Hodge Festival-goers gathered this morning to hear Lebo Mashile perform her poetry and talk to editor of New Contrast, Hugh Hodge, about her writing. Mashile began the session with a performance of “What Kind of Woman” to the nodding approval of the audience and a full house of applause.

Mashile, who has just turned 30, has spent roughly half of her life in America and the other half in South Africa. A primarily American education goes someway to explain why she writes in English. Yet Hodge’s questions centered around why so many black poets write in English rather than in their mother tongue. Mashile agreed with Hodge’s view of the hegemonic nature of the English language and shared worries about the survival of indigenous languages within its structure.


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