1887

n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Three protagonists in B.W. Vilakazi's "Ezinkomponi" ("On the mine compounds")

Volume 32, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
USD

 

Abstract

In this poem the great Zulu poet B.W. Vilakazi is preoccupied with the surreal scene of a gold mine compound in the 1940s Johannesburg, and reflects on the three protagonists of the drama that plays out in front of him: the miners, mine magnates and the heavy machinery, all things that drive the entire enterprise of enslaving the workers. Feelings flood his imagination: about the terrible status of the miners (with whom he identifies); what they have left behind, their dreams and the reality they battle with; the unfeeling and overwhelming spectre of industrialisation, and distant capitalist interests; and the instruments of oppression: the deafening mine machines. These three protagonists (especially the first and the third,) assume human characteristics and fight to justify their respective roles in the conflict. Vilakazi's famous protest poem becomes a cry for help in the face of destructive industrial advancement as ever-present human drama, which pits values of gold/and money against what is more fully human and worth living for; possibly unachievable present prosperity against a vision of future happiness and fulfilment.


In hierdie gedig is die groot Zoeloedigter B.W. Vilakazi intens betrokke by die surrealistiese beeld van mynkampong in Johannesburg gedurende die veertigerjare van die vorige eeu. Hy besin oor die protagoniste van die drama wat voor hom afspeel: die mynwerkers, die mynmagnate en die swaar masjinerie wat al drie die hele onderneming aandryf om die werkers tot slawe te maak. Gevoelens oorweldig sy verbeelding: die mynwerkers (met wie hy identifiseer) se slegte omstandighede; dit wat hulle moes agterlaat, hulle drome en die werklikheid waarmee hulle te kampe het; die gevoellose en verpletterende spookmag van industrialisasie en ver verwyderde kapitalistiese belange; die instrumente van onderdrukking: die oorverdowende mynmasjinerie. Hierdie drie protagoniste (veral die eerste en laaste), neem menslike eienskappe aan en stry om hulle onderskeie rolle in die konflik te regverdig. Vilakazi se beroemde protesgedig word 'n kreet om hulp in die aangesig van die vernietigende industriële vooruitgang as 'n immer teenwoordige menslike drama. Industrialisasie stel die waardes van goud en geld teenoor dit wat mensliker is en die lewe die moeite werd maak; dit stel die moontlik onbereikbare welvaart in die hede teenoor 'n visoen van toekomstige geluk en vervulling.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/literat/32/2/EJC119277
2011-08-01
2016-12-10

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error