Created for: A Poetry Minute, curated by Bongile Gorata Lecoge-Zulu, The Center for the Less Good Idea
I think of the history and meaning of text in my personal and geographic histories. Born to Iranian parents in Eswatini, I constantly grapple with my identity, placelessness, and legitimacy to be an African. Arabic text is examined as a transcultural anchor. A language brought to South Africa through slavery which became the first script to record Afrikaans. It was brought to Persia through colonial conquest and replaced the ancient Farsi script. Arabic text has a tremendous and nuanced history. It has been adapted into new traditions of art, calligraphy, poetry, and language. This piece invites us to look beyond a limiting idea of what it is to be an African. It invites us to claim our rich history of cultural diversity, exchange, and spirituality’ - Nava.
While entrancing, there is a devastating futility about the transience of Nava’s writing. Witnessing the meditation on what it is to write herself in water, into the water and into the sand. As a person of mixed identity, the questions are, ‘what is heritage in relation to language, skin, hair, and being? And how to find a sense of belonging in each context? - Bongile