Thanks to the
English Department’s invitation to take up an international exchange
opportunity at the Université Paris-Est Créteil, I am suddenly living about
13km outside Paris. Surreal. Never more so than when I find myself exiting a
train station and coming face to face with Notre Dame when I’m actually just on
my way to the bank. How everyday life for the locals continues uninterrupted is
beyond me – I constantly find myself stopping to snap a photograph of one marvel
arrival, I have also been noticing people, especially those who at some point
are likely to have felt, like me, a sense of their foreignness in this space. My
landlords in Villeneuve-le-Roi are from Iran. At the épicerie de la
Gare down the street from my house, the owner and I exchange broken
pleasantries in a mixture of English, French and Arabic. At UPEC I have begun
to make friends from all over the world: Lithuania and Bulgaria, Italy and Germany,
Algeria, the Ukraine and beyond. Already, I am the richer for the opportunity
to be a foreigner in France, to experience the diversity of the country’s
inhabitants, their origins, and the languages they speak. I am especially privileged,
in my position as exchange student, not to be alone in these experiences. Like
many of my classmates, this is my first time living a life abroad. My learning began the moment I set foot on
the plane departing Cape Town and while the curve has sometimes been steep (and
my French remains atrocious), this semester abroad will bring horizons I’d
never dared imagine.
A postdoctoral fellowship is an excellent opportunity in the career pathing of a young scholar. It’s the chance to re-shape work from the doctoral dissertation into those all-important early publications, and then to take the next step in participating in research projects, collaborative publishing, and building networks.
Here is an update on the recent activities of two postdocs being hosted in the English Department of Stellenbosch University by Professor Murray. Dr Ifeyinwa Okolo (SubCommittee A Postdoc) and Dr Asante Mtenje (African Humanities Postdoc) are both keeping very busy.
Loud and Yellow Laughter (Botsotso, 2016) by Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese has won the 2018 Ingrid Jonker Prize, which is given in alternate years to the best debut poetry collection in English, or Afrikaans. (The poet is completing her PhD in the English Department at Stellenbosch University, on a Graduate School doctoral scholarship.)
We are delighted by the news of Sindi’s latest success!
The 2018 Ingrid Jonker Prize judges (Sindiwe Magona, Helen Moffett and John Cartwright, all of whom, as is customary with this award, were unaware of one another’s identities until judging had been concluded), described Busuku-Mathese’s winning entry as “completely original”, the poet opting to present “family history as a play, in which the narrator is an unreliable character”. The poet is celebrated for “the mix of World War 2 history, the narrator’s dilemmas about being adopted, and the way she manages to weave these together without ever losing her balance or falling into incongruity”. Also singled out is the poet’s decision to offer “fragments in several voices, some of them ‘reconstructed’ ”. The result is a collection that “movingly reflects the quest of the ‘The Girl Child’, as intimate ‘curator’ of family memory and experience, to integrate the surprising puzzle that is her current self”. (Read more at http://slipnet.co.za/)