In My Heart
Click here to read an extract from Simon Gikandi’s introduction to In My Heart on Herri.
‘Spiritual meditations and wisdom populate In My Heart. Its words capacitate the human imagination’s ability to dream of change—that it is material and intangible, and to understand that joy comes with enlightenment. The harmonic compromise of Sesotho and English, as well as the rich layers of radical imagining on both Mofokeng’s and Maake’s parts, has culminated in a vital work of human thought and passion.’—Fairuza Hanun, Asymptote
Elsewhere Texts, edited by Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak and Hosam Aboul-Ela, presents radical new engagements with non-European literary cultures. This volume, the latest in this ambitious series, is a brilliant collection of essays originally written in Sesotho by Sophonia Machabe Mofokeng. Often confined to the role of ‘native informants’ in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, writers working in African languages laid the foundation for the politics and poetics of decolonization and are legendary among their own communities of readers, though their work remains little known elsewhere. In My Heart belongs to this tradition of colonial renegades. Writing in the 1950s during the cataclysmic events of apartheid that were transforming life in South Africa, Mofokeng offers a series of meditations that provide his readers with a Sesotho worldview outside the categories authorized by colonial knowledge. In My Heart, expertly translated by Nhlanhla Maake, introduces a significant African thinker’s influential work to a global readership.
‘The book you hold in your hand . . . is the kind of text . . . where a writer trained in Eurocentric institutions up to the doctoral level attempts to access the theoretical through laying claim to a different “normality” that always proceeds asymptotically with our European bi-culturalism. We must learn to recognize this as “theory”. If we forget Charlemagne’s injunction to “Christianize Aristotle”, we can re-think Aristotle’s insistence in the Nicomachean Ethics that theory is not research, as this kind of wisdom rather than the origin of Eurocentric hierarchy.’—Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, from the General Introduction to In My Heart.
‘There are no unnecessary superfluities and meanderings. Mofokeng has no time for belabouring. What we have in this collection is not necessarily a systematic theory on things, but observations, reflections, exhortations, impressions, and maxims. And the essayist is making sure that the reader is seeing all of these things correctly. The essays open up a space in which readers are invited to think with Mofokeng’s perceptions, meditations and moments that are filtered through his own cultural background.’—Unathi Slasha, Herri. Click here to read the full review.
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