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Modjaji Books

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Double birthday poetry party at the Book Lounge


On Wednesday night, the 2nd September, the Book Lounge and Modjaji Books hosted a fabulous party for two Cape Town poets, Sindiwe Magona and Helen Moffett. Veruschka and her team outdid themselves with the decor. The “Please, Take Photographs” installation, the balloons, the festive party atmosphere. Thanks so much for pulling out all the stops.

Helen and Sindiwe both read their poems with great style and verve. The BL was full to capacity, there were people sitting on the stairs, on the floor, standing. Many glasses were broken. Sorry Mervyn….

It was one of those memorable nights, a night of poetry and magic. Helen’s birthday was yesterday, the 2nd September (Happy Birthday, Helen) and Sindiwe’s on the 27th August (Happy Birthday to you too, Sindiwe – she is 66 – she told us, and puts many younger people to shame with her beauty, dynamism, humour, vibrant presence).

Sindiwe started the reading with the first poem she ever wrote, her coming out as a poet poem. She also read “For Maria”, the mother of a friend, an Italian woman, in honour of her 80th birthday. As Sindiwe could speak no Italian and Maria could speak no English, Sindiwe said she didn’t want to be a ‘foei tog’ (sp?) at the party. Somehow I can’t picture Sindiwe ever being a foei tog. She finished her reading with the title poem of her book, ‘Please, Take Photographs’ written about South Africa’s HIV/AIDS crisis while she was still living in New York, working at the UN.

Helen read from Strange Fruit, she told us she was reading ‘the sentimental ones’, some of which were written for members of the audience that evening, two dear friends and her niece. She finished with a poem for Pushkin, a cat that has since passed away but is sorely missed. When the readings were over, we all longed for more. She stuck to the ones which weren’t PG rated as her niece was there.

The birthday celebrants were given big ‘book cover’ cards signed by most of the people at the Book Lounge last night and flowers. The rest of us got soul food, cake and lots of other yummy eats and wine from Leopard’s Leap. Five lucky folk got free tickets to see Sindiwe’s play, “To My Mother’s Mother” which is opening at the Baxter in mid September.

To see more photographs click here

(Co-written by Bontle Senne and Colleen Higgs. Photographs by Bontle Senne.)

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    September 4th, 2009 @09:45 #
     
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    I was one of the lucky five that received tickets for Sindiwe's adaptation - can't wait! It was a great launch, with stunning decor and absolutely sumptuous cupcakes, and of course hearing Helen and Sindiwe read from their anthologies again was just magical.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    September 4th, 2009 @10:10 #
     
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    Looks like it was a fabulous evening!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 4th, 2009 @10:12 #
     
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    It was indeed a splendiferous evening. Mervyn said to me before I started reading, "You are among friends", and immediately my nerves settled down. I am brewing my own post on this lovely, happy, intimate occasion, but for now, thanks to Colleen for my gorgeous birthday card, and to the BL crew for creating such magic. We are SO lucky to have a bookshop that takes this much trouble.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    September 4th, 2009 @11:14 #
     
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    I missed most of the spoken poetry unfortunately, but damn those were some good cupcakes. They were so good I ate the paper cup.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    September 4th, 2009 @11:36 #
     
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    Looks like such a great party, it deserves a repeat. I'm so sorry I missed it.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    September 4th, 2009 @12:12 #
     
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    Helen is reading on Monday night at 'off the wall' at Espresso Dot Kom in Kommetjie - for those of you in the Southern Peninsula who haven't heard her yet. 7pm. Not sure exactly where it is. Helen?

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  • <a href="http://poetsprintery.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Amitabh</a>
    Amitabh
    September 4th, 2009 @15:02 #
     
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    Many happy returns, Helen
    Would love to see a video of your recitation

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 4th, 2009 @17:52 #
     
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    Um Colleen, I have to confess I don't know where Espresso is (other than near the Kom in Kommetjie), but I blithely assume I'll find it on the night. Maybe Hugh can post a Google map? Lauren, I intend lots of repeats. I'd forgotten how much fun parties can be.

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  • <a href="http://gregoryfried.bookslive.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Greg</a>
    Greg
    September 7th, 2009 @15:56 #
     
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    I loved Helen's book, and read it in one gulp.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 7th, 2009 @16:24 #
     
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    Coming from you, Greg, that's a huge compliment -- thanks, and for the email too. Have been meaning to write back. But am trying to check mail as little as possible (too many work thorns among the friendly roses).

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