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28 February Talk

February 28, 2017 | 0 Comments

28 February – the talk about Ukrainian culture and literature by Dr. Oksana Rozumna and Dr. Hanna Yanovska «How I grew up: from communism to democracy» at the Sea Point Public Library, Cape Town – 54 people attended

Life stories of a big European country – what are they like? How people’s lives changed with the culture and literature of Ukraine, being the crossroads of East and West? The largest Ukrainian cities, as well as smaller towns or villages, have their own particular voice and private stories. Cities Oster, Chernihiv, Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv are important parts of the country that grew up together with it and were changing their appearance inside and outside.

The country’s growing up from Communism to Democracy produced special literature. Vasyl Stus – the master of words, who had to become the voice of resistance. The poet nominated for Nobel Prize. His life has parallels with Nelson Mandela. [Listen to: live voice of Vasyl Stus reading his poems; songs for his poems by Sisters Telnyuk].

Oksana Zabuzhko – the contemporary writer that looks into decolonization of the body, rethinking literature classics and reopening challenging historical questions. [Listen to: recordings of poetry and some prose fragments read by O. Zabuzhko]

Serhiy Zhadan – low-class epos of contemporary life in Eastern Ukraine. Romanticism and revolution. Unity of one’s poetry and life. People as they are. [Listen to: “Zhadan and Sobaky (Zhadan and Dogs)”] project.

Learn about the modern African poetry project in Ukraine which was started to years ago. The texts of four South African authors that were translated by the team of “I’ll Be Waiting for You under the Kaice-drat” project show that topics raised in the poems are equally important for Ukraine and South Africa.

In this presentation you will learn insides that you will never hear in the news or newspapers – it’s an inside story about the young country and its important period of transformations.


Dr. Oksana Rozumna was born in 1975 in a Ukrainian town Oster. She lives and works in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, studying culture and cultural diplomacy. She is the head of Cultural Politics Department of National Institute for Strategic Studies. Oksana is the author of the idea and curator of international Ukrainian-African literature project “I’ll Be Waiting for You under the Kaice-drat”. The project included the publication of the first Ukrainian-African poetry anthology featuring four poets from South Africa in 2016. Under the name of Oksana Kutsenko she published three books of poetry “In the Winters of Desires»(1996), “Ballet School”(2007), and Chrysalides” (2016). She has translated the poetry book by Léopold Sédar Senghor from French “Chants d’Ombre”. Oksana is married and has two kids.


Dr. Hanna Yanovska was born in 1980 in Kharkiv. Linguist by education, she had been working for some time as an English teacher in Kharkiv Polytechnical university. Is the author of book of poems and translations “Furry Book” (2008), electronic “Poem of 1 January” (2011). As a translator, works with English language poetry from various parts of the world, such as African countries, Australia, New Zealand. Now Hanna works as a freelance translator. Among the published translations there is a number of poetry books (by Albert Wendt, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Robert Sullivan and others) and novels (“Schindler’s Ark” by T. Keneally, “The Collector” by J. Fowles, “The Orphan Master’s Son” by A. Johnson and others).

As an artist, creates papercut pictures (vytynanky). She lives in Kharkiv with her linguist husband and a daughter.