Phillippa Yaa De Villiers on If Love Were Bread

“…writing is so much more than words on a page. Writing contains their [the writer’s]concerns, their social context, and their history.”
Phillippa Yaa De Villiers

Phillippa Yaa De VilliersAn actress, a screenwriter, playwright, novelist, and poet Phillippa Yaa De Villiers grew up in South Africa. The daughter of an Australian woman and an Ghanian father  who was adopted by a white Afrikans family , she has said that she has felt “like the colonized and the colonizer were fighting each other inside my brain…As a mixed race African and adoptee I feel, paradoxically, oppressed and completely free. I feel oppressed because I don’t have access to Africa through African languages or cultures.” (Crossing Borders Issue 3)

The following poem is from her 2010 poetry collection The Everyday Wife.

Stolen Rivers
For Chiwoniso Maraire

We Africans came to Berlin to sing
and to recite poetry. We had an agenda:
Remembering our anthems of loss,
galloping, consuming, the pillage, the cries,
like forest fires, like haunted children,
how can we, how can we even
begin to redress?
Enraged, we wanted revenge,
and then, Chiwoniso, you stepped on the stage and
you opened your mouth
and every stolen river of platinum and gold
poured out of your mouth in song;
Your voice etched us out of the night
and doubled the light in each of us.
You restored all the treasure-houses
from Benin to Zimbabwe, Mapungubwe to Cairo;
Africa moved its golden bones,
shook off its heavy chains
and danced again.
That night I thought
if only
love could purchase bread,
Africans would not be hungry.

The following video is from De Villiers one-person play Original Sin.

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