School of Arts

Author Speaks on ‘Spiritual World’ in Madagascar

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Mr Johary Ravaloson (back row, fourth left) with UKZN staff and students.
Mr Johary Ravaloson (back row, fourth left) with UKZN staff and students.

Renowned Malagasy author, Mr Johary Ravaloson, visited the School of Arts on the Pietermaritzburg campus to address a group of French literature students who had studied his works throughout the semester.

Formerly a lawyer, Ravaloson is the author of the novels Les Larmes d’Ietse and Géotropiques and of the anthology of short stories, Les Nuits d’Antananarivo. He also runs Dodo Vole, a publishing company which, in addition to publishing authors in the Indian Ocean region, seeks to diffuse and translate Malagasy ancestral tales.

Ravaloson had been invited by the School to participate in literary discussions with second and third-year French students on the Howard College campus.

At the Pietermaritzburg campus, Ravaloson spoke about the difficulties of being a writer in Madagascar, a country fraught with social problems. ‘How do I sit inside and write when there is so much to be done?’ he said, adding that many people in his home country spend most of their time and energy ‘simply trying to find something to eat’.

One of the students was interested to know whether a ghostly character in one of the author’s short stories was ‘real or not’. ‘In Madagascar,’ explained Ravaloson, ‘we believe in magic.’ He spoke of belief systems, showing the audience a silver zebu (container) ‘containing spirits’ which he carries with him ‘. In particular, said Ravaloson, the zebu contains the spirit of his grandfather who he (Ravaloson) said was ‘there in the room with them’. He also described the ceremony of Famadihana (the turning of the bones) and its essential role in bringing together families. ‘We believe all living things have a soul,’ he said.

Offering advice to aspiring student writers, Ravaloson said, ‘Read as much as you can.’

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
On Key

Related Posts

Opening night film This is not a Burial, but a Resurrection, and closing night film Dust.

Durban International Film Festival announces opening and closing films

The Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities will host the 41st Durban International Festival (DIFF) from 10 to 20 September 2020. This year the festival will screen selected films, host seminars and workshops virtually and hold drive-in cinema screenings in Durban, Port Shepstone, Newcastle and Zululand.