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Friday 19th December 2014

 


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João Maimona

Poet, essayist and literary critic, João Maimona was born on October 8th 1955, in Kibokolona, Maquela do Zombo, in the province of Uíge, Angola.

After some academic contact with the area of Scientific Humanities, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - Kinshasa, he returned to Angola and, in Huambo, he graduated in Veterinary Medicine. Later, he got a diploma in the area of Medical Virology and Animal Epidemiology at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the École Nationale Véterinaire d'Alfort, in França.

As part of the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, he was National Director of the Institute for Veterinary Research (I.I.V.), from 1991 to 1993. He is a prestigious academic and was invited as assistant professor at the Agostinho Neto University. When he settled in Huambo, he helped founding the Youth Literature Brigade, in 1981, which edited three issues of the journal Aspiração.

Seen by many as the phase of Renewal, this Brigade movement tried to gather youngsters around literary activities, since the University was not able to provide a suitable answer to their needs in this area.

Having created this literary movement, which had a strong quantitative dimension, six years after Angola’s independence, the young "brigadistas" followed, in a first stage, a clearly standardized literary discourse, of exaltation of the new independence values, absorbing the ideals of socialist realism. Marked by a strong emotionalism, this discourse was not always consistent in liteary terms. Avoiding this discursive triviality, Maimona soon found his own path, being presented in the anthology of Kandjimbo and Lopito Feijoó Geração da revolução, novos poetas angolanos em volta, alongside E. Bonavena, Lopito Feijoó, Rui Augusto, Paula Tavares and José Luís Mendonça, as a promising poet.

He made his literary debut with about 30 years, and his work is, like many other contemporary poets, the result of a civilian and military society deeply marked by war, plunged into the values of emulation arising from the period following the independence.

As part of this new group of writers, João Maimona reflects a clear performance as regards the use and “management” of signs and words, with a language whose permanent repetitions and returns shape like a web that leads us, like a boomerang, always to the starting point. Resuming the symbolism to which he gives a great poetic sense, the author involves us in an environment of melancholy, predominantly contemplative and meditative.

In fact, characterized by a discourse intertwined with a posture of meditation on decadence, degradation and disenchantment, his poetry, based on repetitive processes, has death as its semantic nucleus.

Belonging to a generation that many scholars defined as the "generation of uncertainties", their themes reflect an anguishing disappointment regarding the future of the country, marked by hunger, misery, repression and war that spread, day after day, denying the revolutionary dreams of the 1960s and 1970s. However, alongside this disenchantment and pain, some elements of the cosmos - air, wind, birds, insects, etc, appear in their poetry, creating a unity between spiritual and telluric factors that shape a “vital harmony” that emphasize the African vision of the world’s existence.

To Maimona, the absence of freedom is caused by the corruption that is spreading and that asphyxiates the country. Thus, his texts place us before a poetic subject that, feeling entrapped, looks at the Sea as a space of healing catharsis, whose contemplation and meditation allows to understand human dissatisfactions, both individual and social: "I discovered the silences of your look/among the nights and trees of dream,/as in former times on the water’s skin/I discovered the slim asphyxia of your path.".

Prestigious writer, João Maimona published the following titles: Trajectória Obliterada, (poetry, 1985); Les Roses Perdues de Cunene, (poetry, 1985); Traço de União (poetry, 1987, 1990); Diálogo com a Peripécia, (drama, 1987); As Abelhas do Dia, (poetry, 1988, 1990); Quando se ouvir os sinos das sementes (poetry, 1993); Idade das Palavras (poetry, 1997).

     
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