Scott Thomas Outlar: Thank you for joining me here at 17Numa for this interview, Dime. Can you start off by talking about the area where you reside in South Africa? What is the poetry and art scene like there?
Dime Maziba: Thank you for having me.Well.., it’s split down the middle as most things are. You get black poetry and white poetry. The poets you are taught about in school all wrote about depression, history, the wildlife and flowers. Black poetry deals with themes such as slavery, communism, socio-economic questions and colonialism as well. The scene itself – from what I know – is very self-inclusive. It’s a scene that revolves around itself. Publishers shy away from it so it makes it hard to make a living from it. Be that as it may; South African’s scenery is an amazing one to own. There’s never a limit to the number of themes or concepts available for your imagination to tinker with. I also feel We should therefore be founders of literature that is very communicative as it is the only way reliable we can engage our audience without having to write what’s foreign and too metaphoric and fabled as not to make sense with them. It is time we understand writing is a way to engage our leaders and address them effectively and thoroughly without having to go to politburo or parliament.
STO: What initially attracted you to poetry, and when did you take up the craft in a serious manner?
DM: As far as I’m concerned, Poetry has been very therapeutic to me. It has helped me to deal with anger, frustration, heartbreak, headache, hopelessness, isolation, depression, and more. Actually, it has helped me be human. It’s hard to talk about my beginning without sounding pretentious but my work is inspired by injustice. If I see or hear something that affects me or anyone else, I have to put pen to paper. I’m from Democratic Republic of Congo; a country which is experiencing one of the biggest genocides in the history of mankind with more than 10 million people killed and women raped over the 20 past years. And this war is supported financially by western powers in order to loot mineral resources and facture all the gadgets people are using. So I think it’s a heavy untold story which I can’t carry alone. I had to express it through poetry.
STO: Your new book, Flames of Revolution, was published earlier in 2019. What are the major themes that the collection addresses?
DM: Flames of Revolution is a compilation that covers poems from a wide range of themes as it is addressing such topics as politics, colonialism, nature, war and xenophobia, religion and racism, the war in the Democratic Republic Congo, the imperialism of white supremacy. Each piece stands alone coming alive with deep emotions portrayed in a poetical manner that it’s easy to relate to. This book is also for anyone who loves deeply, has bad days, and searches for happiness in the world around him. It’s also for those who have been hurt and have scars to prove they are still alive. Poems range from romance to issues such as stigma, women abuse and marginalization in the African society.
STO: Have you noticed any changes or evolutions in your style of writing that have developed through the years as you have progressed in your personal life?
DM: My influences have changed over the years. I used to love reading the great philosophers of the Lumières movement such as Voltaire, Kant, Montesquieu, Gobineau… until I discovered they were actually white supremacists, especially when I read their racist statements about the Black people and Jews. Now my writing style is influenced by names like Aimé Cesaire, Leon Gautran Damas, Cheick Anta Diop, Tchikaya Utam’si, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka and all the Harlem renaissance writers. I think I’m more attracted by revolutionary writers and artists. Those who refused to sell their dignity for some recognition. In that perspective, I can spend all day reading contemporary writers like Mutabaruka, Eugene Skeef, Blaise Ndala, Matamba Lukasu, Alain Tito Mabiala, Musa Masombuka, and Luvuyo Plum.
STO: What is your general process when writing? Is there a certain time or setting you prefer? Any specific routines you adhere to?
DM: I don’t always know, particularly at the time. I just feel an intense and passionate interest in something or someone, and a desire to build a poem or write something down. But usually in order to push my work I prefer writing during the night as I have a lovely little study-snug, more like, where most of my books are in shelves lining the walls and I have a desk and an ergonomic chair, a filing cabinet. I also love to write in coffee shops. I find the soft music and the aroma of good coffee particularly conducive. Having said that, though, I can write anywhere and often do – at the tram-stop, on the bus, in a queue. If I get an idea, I have to write it down. I don’t have a particular time as I believe that inspiration is Godly. It’s like a prophecy. It comes unexpectedly.
STO: Please give some details about the Pan-African Party for Progress which you co-founded. What were your motivations for launching the party, and what is your main hope that it can achieve?
DM: The Pan-African Party for Progress (PPP) is a revolutionary political party that draws inspiration from the broad Sankaro-Nkrumaist tradition and Fanonian schools of thought in their analyses of the state, imperialism, culture and class contradictions in every society. The PPP takes significant inspiration from Thomas Sankara in terms of both style and ideology. We believe that the best contribution we can make in the national and international struggle against global imperialism is to rid our African continent of imperialist domination. It is based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social, and political progress and aims to unify and uplift African people as well as African descents.
STO: What other projects are you working on at the moment, and what plans do you foresee reaching fruition in 2019 and beyond?
DM: The Pan-African Party for Progress (PPP) believes that solidarity and education will enable the continent to fulfill its potential to independently provide for all its people. In that perspective, we are honored to welcome Mr. Alain Daniel Shekomba, former presidential candidate in a conference which will take in Durban on 29 June 2019.
STO: Once again, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Dime. If there is anything else you would like to leave the readers with please feel free to do so now…
DM: Writing is a skill which can be developed over the years. Do not be discouraged by criticism. Remember that many successful writers were once rejected by publishing houses. As Langston Hughes once said: “I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.” And anyone who would like to purchase the book can do so by e-mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me via social Medias for any literary projects.