Mr Mvula Ya Nangolo
Enter stage right.
So I am in the African Art Shop talking gems with Oliver, the proprietor. He is telling me that my chances of finding quality gems are slim. The supplies are scarce and anyway the Chinese buyers are snapping up all the available gems.
And in walks Mr Nangolo and sits down in a chair. A youthful older African gentleman with a rounded face beaming with energy. Looking at me he says,”what makes you so friendly and full of love my friend”. Ok! … ‘I am a kiwi‘, I respond, ‘it is in our nature’. ‘But I am born here and am making a trip home to my birthplace, Omaruru’. What proceeds can at best be described as a torrent of spontaneous linguistic expression. A Jackson Pollock in words as Mr Nangolo unleashed a torrent of stories of recovered memories, about the simultaneous nature of time and the interconnectedness of kindred spirits. Coming from Golden Bay this is a language I can understand. I have met enough free thinking individuals to know a liberated spirit when I hear one. He told me how he was a freedom fighter for his people, spoke six languages, how in his years of exile from his Namibian homeland he had been educated in Germany, started an independent journalism career in Nigeria, and was now the official poet of Namibia.
It was music I needed to hear after earlier in the day hitting a low point where I felt I was not up to this African challenge and was telling Frith maybe I should come home.
As quickly as he arrived he left with his purchase, a DRC Mask, giving me his card and asking me to call him so we could meet the next day as he wanted to show me his book of poetry. His card read, Special advisor to the Minister, Government of Namibia.
Exit stage Left.
The next day I finally found a book shop to buy a selection of African writers for my trip north and was standing by the outdoor coffee shop thinking how I should ring Mr Nangolo to arrange to meet when a women from the cafe came over and said to me a gentleman was requesting I join him. And so sitting there was Mr Nangolo.
Enter again stage right.
He had a copy of his poetry book for me and asked would I join him for lunch. With the meal underway he had me reading out some of his poems as he told me the associated stories, of love, of revolution, of the importance of sensitivity. I was a spellbound, like I was sitting with my mentor J.K.Baxter, being treated to one of those events that reinforce what it means to be alive in this world. I showed him the selection of African stories I had just purchased and he set about explaining the interconnectedness of these stories with his work, “Watering the Beloved Desert”.
And as quickly as it began it was over. He inscribed my copy with a piece of original prose about the linking of oceans between Aotearoa and Namibia and with a parting nod said that all I need to do is think of him and he will understand my message……..?
Exit. Again stage Left…
So this voyage continues, I feel somehow amongst the ordinary that so much that is extraordinary is being exposed. I don't quite know how it works but it is fuel to the fire that keeps me on my journey.
Thank you Mvula :)