Poetry from an Indigenous Perspective

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Francine Simon Public Presence and Online Links Author of THUNGACHI (uHlanga 2017) & SHARK (uHlanga 2019)

Ja. Edition 2020 Ja. Edition 20

Reviews and Interviews

uHlanga Press Thungachi: uHlanga Press Thungachi

uHlanga Press Shark: uHlanga Press Shark

Thungachi Book Review:

Previous interview published online:uHlanga Press Thungachi

08 Mar ‘There’s no single meaning’: Poet Francine Simon speaks about her debut collection, ‘Thungachi’: Interview with Gabriella Pinto

Digitally Published Poems 2020

Ja. Magazine: Poetry-two-poems


The Poetry Foundation: Francine Simon

Ja. Magazine: Poetry

Ja. Magazine: Poetry

The Poetry Foundation: Francine Simon

Kalahari Review: Francine Simon


Ja. Magazine: Poetry


Ja. Magazine: Poetry

Kalahari Review: Francine Simon

The Johannesburg Review of Books: Francine Simon


Type/Cast: Francine Simon

Social Media Handles

Instagram: @francinesimon13

Twitter: @WriterGirlRose


Data Sharing: Terms of Use and Restrictions The following is a list of conditions given to the researcher as per agreement with the participant (stated on the participant consent form), and as per agreement between the researcher and the Wits Ethics Committee. The ethics application form and clearance certificate thereof, is attached. • Confidential sections of the interview to be edited out and deleted. Submitted data files are final and do not contain confidential material. • Photographs taken at the discretion of the participant on the days of the interviews. Use of the photographs in the dissertation is permitted, although they were not used. • The interviewee/participant, Francine Simon, reserves the right to request the transcripts, audio files and photographs at any point during or after the research. The final transcripts and photographs were emailed to Simon prior to the final ETD submission, and no objections were raised. • Excerpts of the interview transcripts are used in the dissertation, however, due to length and relevance, the majority of the transcripts were not used. The Wits Ethics Committee permits the researcher to use any part of the original transcribed material for future academic publications, and need not be limited to the excerpts used in the dissertation only. • The following individuals are allowed access to the aforementioned data files, as per the Wits Ethics Committee: Arushani Govender (the researcher), Francine Simon (the participant), Prof. Denise Newfield and Associate Prof. Barbara Boswell (supervisors), and the relevant examination committee. Presently the ethical clearance certificate granted does not cover data access permissions for any other member. • In order for access to be granted to the NRF or any other individual, a new consent form must be drawn up stipulating new terms of use, and is to be signed by the participant and submitted to the Ethics Committee. O


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
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    Exploring a South African Indian Woman Poet and her Poetry from an Indigenous Perspective: Interviews with Francine Simon and Readings of Selected Poems from Thungachi.
    (University of the Witwatersrand, 2019-07-30) Govender, Arushani
    This dissertation executes a critical reading of Francine Simon’s poetry in relation to contemporary perspectives of indigenous knowledge (IK), and against the political background and socio-cultural context of the poet’s lived experiences. Simon is an emerging South African Indian (SAI) woman poet in the contemporary poetry scene, and has recently published a debut poetry collection titled Thungachi. I unpack instances of IK from selected poems in Thungachi, through use of an indigenous language of critique. Linda Tuhiwai Smith conceptualises indigenous language of critique as a form of theory that indigenous research scholars should engage with, by combining questions of indigeneity with attributes of decolonisation (24). Framed by decolonial theory, this study serves the interests of decolonising research praxis, and thereby the nature of the knowledge produced. I have executed in-depth interviews with the poet to determine how she came to acquire IK and how such knowledge is conveyed and dealt with in her poetry. The interviews are presented as an experiential montage, countering the “objective” nature of academic research that distances the knower from the known. The dissertation is thus composed of theoretical analysis and creative reflections, which together offer a textured exploration of the selected poems and an experience of the poetry. Using the interview data as a supplementary device, I conduct the poetry analysis with the following questions, which pertain to examining the data from an indigenous perspective: What indigenous worldviews are prevalent in Simon’s poetry? To what culture/s may those worldviews be attributed? How is IK affected by diaspora, gender and cultural hybridity? This study finds that it is necessary to critique Simon’s poetry from an indigenous perspective in order to uncover its cultural complexities, ontological insights and social commentary. Additionally, Simon’s poetry demonstrates artistry, experimentation with language and form, and innovates a genre of decolonised feminist poetics that creates room for the heterogeneity of South African Indian women.
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    Changes in how English FAL learners appreciate poetry when indigenous poetry is brought into the classroom: a practitioner case study of grade 11 learners in Gauteng
    (2019) Mavhiza, Grace
    A vigorous poetry tradition has existed throughout South African history. It represents in many ways a truly original contribution to the literature in the English first additional language (FAL) classroom. The benefits of poetry in enhancing intellectual, emotional social and linguistic development in learners are well documented. Surprisingly, there is a negative attitude towards poetry by learners and teachers as they prefer other literary genres particularly in a secondary school where this research was carried out. I have realised that the oral traditional poetry which is an African form of poetry practice is largely absent in the classroom today. Through a practitioner case study, this research sought to elicit the Grade 11 learners’ changes in appreciation of classroom poetry when indigenous poetry is brought into the English FAL classroom. This study presents previous research regarding perceptions accorded to classroom poetry. This is a qualitative study in which data gathered through questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, poetry texts analysis and reflective writing was presented to answer the primary question; what could be the changes in the appreciation of classroom poetry if indigenous poetry is brought into the classroom? The findings show that learners of English FAL do not appreciate classroom poetry due to the reasons that; classroom poetry is distant from the learners‘ life experiences making them struggle to interpret the poetry prescribed for them. Learners also said that classroom poetry is boring and this is due to the teaching methods employed in the classroom which are book centred and assessment driven. However, this study concluded through the intervention that encouraging learners to respond to poetry by presenting poems in a range of modes is more likely to boost their interest than focusing on the “traditional” line by line analysis of poems. The other important finding is that if indigenous poetry is brought into the classroom, learners’ attitudes towards classroom poetry will positively change
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    The problem of audience: a study of Durban worker poetry.
    (1993) Kromberg, Steve
    This dissertation shows how both poets and their audiences have played a central role in the emergence of Durban Worker poetry. A review of critical responses to worker poetry concludes that insufficient attention has been paid to questions of audience. Performances of worker poetry are analysed, highlighting the conventions used by the audience when participating in and evaluating the poetry, Social, political and literary factors which have influenced the audience of worker poetry are explored, as are the factors which led to the emergence of worker poetry. In discussing the influence of the Zulu izibongo (praise poetry) on worker poetry, particular attention is paid to formal and performative qualities. The waye in Which worker poetry has been utilised by both poets and audience as a powerful intellectual resource are debated. Finally, the implications of publishing worker poetry via the media of print, audio-cassettes and video-Cassettes are discussed.
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    Aesthetics and resistance: aspects of Mongane Wally Serote's poetry.
    (1990) Frielick, Frielick Stanley
    The literature produced by writers who align themselves with national liberation and resistance movements presents a serious challenge to dominant standards of literary . aesthetics. Resistance writing aims to break down the assumed division between art and politics. and in this view literature becomes an arena of conflict and struggle. This dissertation examines certain aspects of the poetry of Mongane Wally Serote in order to explore the relationship between aesthetics and resistance in his writing. Over the last two decades, Serote has made a significant contribution to the development of South African literature, and his work has important implications for literary criticism in South Africa. Chapter 1 looks at some of these implications by discussing the concept of resistance literature and the main issues arising from the debates and polemics surrounding the work of Serote and other black political writers. Perhaps the most important here is the need to construct a critical approach to South African resistance literature that can come to terms with both its aesthetic qualities and political effects. This kind of approach would in some way attempt to integrate the seemingly incompatible critical practices of idealism and materialism. Accordingly, Chapter 2 is a materialist approach to aspects of Serote's early poetry. The critical model used is a simplified version of the interpretive schema set out by Fredric Jameson in The Political Unconscious. This model enables a discussion of the poetry in relation to ideology, and also suggests ways of examining the discursive strategies and symbolic processes in this particular phase of Serote's development. Serote's later work is 'characterised by the attempt to create a unifying mythology of resistance. Chapter 3 thus looks at Serote's long poems from an idealist perspective that is based on the principles of myth-criticism, As this is a complex area, this chapter merely sketches the main features of Serote' s use of myth as a form of resistance, and then suggests further avenues of exploration along these lines. The dissertation concludes by pointing towards some of the implications of recent political developments in South Africa for Serote and other resistance writers.
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    Investigating a multimodal, groupwork approach to poetry teaching in a secondary school English classroom
    (2016) Pillay, Kubashini
    This report explores the ways in which meaning is constructed, adapted or altered as Grade 9 English Home Language learners redesign the meaning of a poem multimodally in the English classroom in a state secondary school in Johannesburg. A unit of poetry work was designed to explore how learners, working together in groups and independently of the teacher, ‘shift’ across and within modes in the process of redesigning meaning. An array of prescribed poems chosen from official sources – one selected per group – which served as a foundation for designing and creating multimodal artefacts and ensembles, was set as primary texts. The main purpose of this report, then, is to determine how meaning is constructed in learners’ responses through their products and presentations in a pedagogic approach that is informed by both multimodality and multiliteracies. The two core concepts in this report – design and modes – are recognised as significant concepts in analysing learners’ multimodal artefacts in this chain of semiosis and compared with the characteristics of the original ‘poem on paper’. A multiliteracies pedagogy and multimodal artefact design are used to provide the Grade 9 learners the support to ‘unlock’ their potential and encourage resources to emerge from which they can construct meaning in innovative ways. Since the learners work collaboratively in groups to redesign the meaning of a poem multimodally, findings suggest that this strategy fostered the interaction of ideas, learner activity and engagement and learner verbalisation of ideas. Learners’ ideas were developed, articulated, clarified and transformed within the groupwork discussion and were made visible in their multimodal artefacts. Learners’ final products in the chain of semiosis were of good quality. In the process of redesign, as agents of meaning making, learners used semiotic resources and the integration of modes to represent their poem multimodally. The words themselves had to be extracted from the poem, redesigned and represented in another form or mode. Finally, this pedagogy demonstrates that it is possible for learners to be active designers of meaning while remaining within the prescriptive parameters of the relatively recent Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) curriculum. Learners were able to successfully reshape and resemiotise the primary text into other modal artefacts, which one could taste, smell, touch, see or hear.
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    Haim Guri: from identification to alienation
    (2015-08-03) Joffe, Sharon
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    The prosody of Tsonga children's oral poetry
    (2015-01-09) Bill, Mary Cameron
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    'Visions of land in the poetry of Chenjerai Hove and Musaemura Zimunya"
    (2014-01-20) Mapanzure, Rangarirayi
    Land occupies a special position in the history of Zimbabwe and the African continent in general. The research aims to critically examine the seemingly contradictory visions of land in Zimbabwean poetry. In their poetry, Musaemura Zimunya and Chenjerai Hove concoct startling images of the land or landscape in Zimbabwe. This forces one to not only gaze at the land or landscape but also engage with other broad issues related to literature and history. The research attempts to answer a number of questions. It discusses how history has shaped the Zimbabwean terrain and how this has been captured by the imaginative processes. The focus is on how land is depicted in Zimbabwean poetry and literature in general showing the overall significance of colonialism in this respect. It then examines in detail the poetry of the selected poets showing how each particular poet envisions the land. The poets seem to betray conflicting “structures of feeling”. The research explores the contentious issue of “demarcations” or “boundaries” of “country” and “city” focusing on the perceived conflicted relationship between the “two”. An attempt is then made to make alternative reading of the selected poets’ reading of the land. It is argued that the poets’ visions of landscape are in fact a rejection of the present and future, which may be seen as amounting to, in broad terms, an indictment of the postcolonial condition. The poetry evokes feelings and fantasies of escape from the land but ironically to the land which seems to fail to live up to the expectations.
Grant Information: The National Research Foundation (NRF), through grant-holder linked student support, funded this research. The grant falls within the NRF Indigenous Knowledge Systems funding instruments. • Grant Number: 105159 • Grant-holder Project Title: “Reconceptualising Poetry Education for South African Classrooms through infusing Indigenous Poetry Texts and Practices.” • Project Commencement Date: January 2017 • Principle Investigator: Prof. Denise Newfield. Email: newfield@iafrica.com Coordinator of the South African Poetry Project (ZAPP). • Application Institution: University of the Witwatersrand • ZAPP Website is currently under construction. A URL will be provided once it is launched.