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No Free Sleeping

by Donald Parenzee, Alan Finlay, and Vonani Bila

This threefold reflects seemingly quite different sensibilities, but running underground, are common sources, primarily a genuine sense of observation and empathy.

Parenzee’s fine delineation of detail, his ideological openness but strong sense of justice link well with Vonani Bila’s ‘makoya poetry’ (rendered largely in Xitsonga with English translations). This is poetry that rails in its own manner against money madness and the apartheid regime, and which stands apart from Finlay’s quieter voice but both command reflection. After all, it is a phrase in a Finlay poem that titles this anthology. Finlay’s work in general contains images of dissolution in a search for meaning from suffering.


Donald Parenzee is an architect and a poet who was active for many years in cultural initiatives opposed to apartheid. He lives in Cape Town, where he has practised and taught architecture, worked as an exhibition’s curator at the District Six Museum, and collaborated on creative interventions in the city. He has run many creative workshops, some of which explore ways of integrating literature and visual art. Donald hosted talks exploring the role that the poet can play in the daily existence of their community, during his stay in Grahamstown, as Mellon Writer in Residence, working with the Rhodes MA programme in Creative Writing.

Since the early 1990s Alan Finlay’s poems have been published in journals and anthologies in South Africa and abroad. He founded and edited two important literary magazines, Bleksem and donga (co-edited with Paul Wessels), and has been an editor of the poetry journal New Coin. He lives between Johannesburg and Pergamino, Argentina and works as a writer, researcher, editor and university teacher in the field of communications freedoms and rights. That Kind of Door is his fifth collection of poems.

Vonani Bila was born in 1972 in Shirley village, Limpopo, where he still lives. He is the author of five books of poems in English and eight story-books for newly literate adult readers in Sepedi, Xitsonga and English. Bila is a driving force in South African poetry – founding editor of the Timbila poetry journal, publisher of Timbila books and founder of Timbila Writers’ Village, a rural retreat centre for writers.


ISBN 9780620230940
Pages 106
Dimensions 210 x 148mm
Published 1998
Publisher Botsotso Publishing, South Africa
Format Paperback