Skryfsels/writings

17. Dec, 2015
DIE STILTE SEEP: Afrikaans, English, Sesotho en isiZulu

Die eerste (enigste?) kortverhaal in vier (4) SA amptelike tale – Afrikaans, Engels, Sesotho en Zulu en wel hier op Facebook.
The first (only) short story in four (4) SA official languages - Afrikaans, English, Sesotho en Zulu, and here as on Facebook.

14. Nov, 2015

Oral is my God deur Johann P. Boshoff

(2013, selfpublikasie – ISBN 978-0-9870092-1-0, R100,00)

Oral is my God is ʼn kragtoer van die multigenreskrywer Johann P. Boshoff binne die spesifieke genre van die dagstukboek.

As jong student was ek skepties oor dié spesifieke genre om dieselfde redes wat Christina Landman later sou noop om dit “pienk boekies” te noem. Boshoff spreek self aan die einde van hierdie boek sy kritiek uit oor die vlaag van goedkoop godsdienstige geskriffies wat binne hierdie genre die boekmark getref het. Goedkoop troosstories, altyd met ʼn teks as springplank, maar sonder dat die Bybelteks self werklik ter sprake kom.

In Oral is my God wys Boshoff dat ook nie-teoloë die Bybel, al is dit by wyse van vertalings, sinvol kan hanteer. Anders as by die geval van die “pienk boekies”, worstel die skrywer eerlik met die teks van Psalm 139. Hy laat ook die teks stoei met homself en, belangrikste van alles, met die leser.

Soos die digter van Psalm 139 lê Boshoff sterk klem op die beheer van God – byna Calvinisties sterk. Dit tree veral sterk na vore in stukke 16 en 22. Die vraag of God alles beheer, was ʼn saak van groot debat tydens die onlangse eeuwenteling. Die psalmis self voel ʼn “maar” aan in die optrede van die “goddelose” (vv. 19-24). Desondanks vind die psalmis en Boshoff troos in die gedagte van God se beheer.

Waar mense in dreigende omstandighede verkeer en ook met hulleself worstel, kan die “maar” inderdaad maar voorlopig opsy geskuif word. Iewers soek die aangevegde gelowige tog geborgenheid. Boshoff vind, in navolging van die psalmdigter, sy geborgenheid in die verwondering oor God. Aangrypend stel hy dat die suiwerste vorm van aanbidding daarin geleë is “om God sprakeloos te bewonder”. En om die interaktiewe samesyn met God te geniet.

Soos die psalmis oorweldig is met God se nabye betrokkenheid, is Boshoff ook. Verwysend na die teenwoordigheid van God in die doderyk – ʼn baie laat ontwikkeling in die Ou Testament – merk die skrywer op dat ons verskeie vorme van dood ervaar. Hy rek daarmee dalk die bedoeling van die teks, maar nie ten koste van diep meditatiewe wysheid nie: “En waar God is, is daar léwe; nie dood nie.”

Oral is my God is egter nie net vertroostend nie, maar plek-plek ook profeties uitdagend. Na aanleiding van die slotverse (139:23-24) merk die skrywer byvoorbeeld op: “Verkondig en bevorder ek en jy ʼn vals, want selektief gekonstrueerde, beeld van God, ʼn beeld wat dikwels deur geslagte heen veral onbevraag in die kerk as sogenaamde waarheid oorgedra is en word? Ondersoek ek en jy wie God vir my en jou is, biddend-noukeurig en eerlik onder leiding van die Heilige Gees, ook met die gesonde verstand wat die Here ons gegee het?”

Veral in ons tyd waarin die vraag na wie/hoe God is, is dit ʼn belangrike aksent dat ons God nie mag vasvang in presiese omskrywings sodat ons uiteindelik buig voor ʼn selfgemaakte “god” nie.

Hierdie boek is waarskynlik Boshoff se mees passievolle werk in die dagstuk-genre. Die teks lees meesleurend en is van hoogstaande literêre waarde. Die geteikende lesersmark behoort Oral is my God op te raap, te lees en wéér te lees!

▪ Dr. Ralph Barnard, teoloog en skrywer, 2013-08-02

26. Aug, 2015

'n Bekende argitek-digter-sanger van Stellenbosch het in 2008 die volgende indruk oor my geskryf:

A well-known architect-poet-singer from Stellenbosch in 2008 wrote the following impression of me:

Maybe I'm too straight. Or too English. Too smart, too stuffed with my own rational ideals, too eager a cynic, too sluggish a saint.

I know no man who in his correspondence is quite as public as Johann P. Boshoff with his (modestly remarkable) life, or who has so unquestioned an assumption that his crises of faith and fate are of urgent and universal appeal and concern. Perhaps this very transparency is what in the end radically distinguishes a "great" life from a mundane one. The first task of the critics and canonists (and would-be biographers) has always been to discriminate between the journalists and journalisers, the bloggers and the Baudelaires.

For sure, no one was ever enchanted by a balanced man. No magic, and no art, ever crackled from the tip of a satisfied pen. Some authors' pathologies drive them into a dark privacy which they must nurture in order always to be redeeming themselves from the loneliness of it, even as others are clambering up into The Light, where they find that their own creative charge is to be drawn from their ever and again falling away from it. The root work of each is to try to know himself before he can begin to participate in (the fallacy of) knowing others.

 

a man is a world uncharted

his eyes are the sun gone down to shine

on an unknown, private hemisphere

 

a man is a sudden gust of being,

the glint of a watchglass from a distant hill

and his diffident hello

bobs momentarily

on the wake

of his passing

 

Maybe what I am lacking is simply a kind of intelligence-of-self. Maybe with such underpinning I would be equipped and emboldened to resolve the riddle of Johann, of his strange and vigorous brand of private publicity, of the apparent contrast between his capacity for rich, tight, complex, ambiguous verse and his (to my mind) facile inspirational writings.

I have no taste for Johann's faith, or the literature it generates. But he is (in the fullest and most active sense) a writer, a robust conversationalist and in my experience a generous and supportive reader. And more than once, when the Holy Spirit has been looking the other way, I've seen him assemble a damned fine poem.