Book: The Heart's Interpreter
Author: Mphutlane wa Bofelo
Publisher: Mphutlane wa Bofelo
Reviewer: Zenoyise Madikwa
I will never again judge a book by its cover. I dismissed Mphutlane wa Bofelo's book, The Heart's Interpreter, as not deserving my attention. I dumped it in my desk drawer for months.
It was my sister who dug it out. But after reading the first poem, I was hooked. Having since read the book from cover to cover, I now think Bofelo is possibly one of the most talented poets I know.
His thoughts are elegantly crafted. He records his feelings on love, human relationships, politics and spirituality.
In his political poems, he boldly touches areas that are shunned by many commentators. He does this with humour and authority. In his love poems, his voice is warm, confiding and intimate. While the poems are not showy or technically exciting, they have their own integrity.
He is an excellent writer who sets a glittering barb into every phrase. His political poems are a wonderful affirmation of life even in its darkest depths. The poems will either make you feel happy, sad, upbeat or distraught.
There is a grand sadness that creeps through some of these pages, many of which deal with the disappointment with the post-apartheid leaders and unfulfilled hopes. He speaks of the frustrations of the ordinary South Africans. Dear Citizens is one such poem in which he bemoans the aloofness of political leaders.
Twenty-One Gun Salutes When I Die is a touching poem of sadness, pain and deception.
The Heart's Interpreter is a 74-page book that is both introspective and reflective in that the writer looks out at the world around him and brings it inside, where he twists it around within the realm of the personal and the emotional.
The poems are concise and punchy. His language is simple and does not clutter the reader's mind with exaggerated vocabulary, a common feature in many political poems.
If you want to recharge your political batteries, Bofelo's poems are a must-read.