Question (Marks: 100)
Nokugcina (Gcina) Elsie Mhlophe, born on 24 October 1959, established herself as a multi-talented multilingual actor and activist, poet and playwright, composer and director, infusing storytelling with poetry. An ardent campaigner for literacy, Mhlophe’s endeavours in this regard have been recognised with honorary doctorates from the Universities of London, KwaZulu Natal, Pretoria and Fort Hare. One of her most famous works of poetry, ‘Say No’ mentions many of the categories of oppression which Mhlope sought to resist -Adapted from (2022).

Examine the poem Say No, by Mhlope — available in your prescribed Kane, Byrne and Scheepers (2006) textbook, and reprinted below. Answer the essay brief that follows.

Say No – by Gcina Mhlope (1983) Say No, Black Woman
Say No
When they call your jobless son a tsotsi Say No

Say No, Black Woman Say No
When they call your husband at the age of 60 a boy
Say No

Say No, Black Woman Say No
When they rape your daughter in detention and call her a whore
Say No

Say No, Black Woman Say No
When they call your white sister a madam

Write an academic essay (approximately 1 200 and 1 500 words) in which you:

• Discuss the ways in which Mhlope’s poem “Say No”, provided for this assignment, uses descriptive and figurative language and how it shows the complex relationship between a poet and their literary creations.
• Include elements of textual analysis and comment on language, structure and imagery of Mhlope’s poem in relation to no less than three (3) of your other prescribed poems for this module.

You should draw on relevant arguments from at least three (3) credible academic sources to help support your answer. These could be from your prescribed theory textbooks (Horne & Heinemann, 2014; and Kane, Byrne & Scheepers, 2006) and/or any relevant critical readings you have identified in your research for this assignment.

Remember to reference all sources accurately both in-text and within a final reference list according to the IIE Harvard referencing method. Please note that the required method for referencing poems is included in your latest referencing guide. Please pay close attention to this resource.

The following guidelines should assist you in completing this task successfully. Revise your notes on:

• Descriptive language and grammar from LU1 and think about how Mhlope’s specific use of
descriptive language in “Say No” compares/contrasts to Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro”
• Figurative language from LU2 and use these to examine Mhlope’s specific use of figurative language in “Say No”. Think about using “Constantly Risking Absurdity” by Ferlinghetti to discuss the two different approaches to figurative language.
• Textual analysis from LU3 and use these to conduct a close reading of Mhlope’s “Say No”. “Sonnet 130” by Shakespeare would make a great comparison here.
• The relationship between reading, writing and the self from LU3 and discuss Mhlope’s relationship to her writing in “Say No”. Audre Lorde’s “Coal” would make a good comparison here.
• The language, structure and imagery in the prescribed poems from LU4, and apply these to Mhlope’s language and structural choices and use of imagery in “Say No”. Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” is rich with imagery. Think about how this compares or contrasts to Mhlope’s poem.

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