ISBN 9780620893640
Pages 114
Dimensions 203 x 127mm
Published 2017
Publisher uHlanga, South Africa
Format Hardback

Collective Amnesia

by Koleka Putuma

How many abortions have fallen out of your mouth

while counting the men in your life?

Madness sits at the dinner table, too,

saying grace with one eye open.


Now available in hardback, this highly-anticipated debut collection from one of the country's most acclaimed young voices marks a massive shift in South African poetry. Koleka Putuma's exploration of blackness, womxnhood and history in Collective Amnesia is fearless and unwavering. Her incendiary poems demand justice, insist on visibility and offer healing. In them, Putuma explodes the idea of authority in various spaces - academia, religion, politics, relationships - to ask what has been learnt and what must be unlearnt.

Through grief and memory, pain and joy, sex and self-care, Collective Amnesia is a powerful appraisal, reminder and revelation of all that has been forgotten and ignored, both in South African society, and within ourselves.

Collective Amnesia was awarded the 2018 Glenna Luschei Prizet, the collection was also named 2017 book of the year by the City Press and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa.

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"Collective Amnesia by Koleka Putuma, is arguably one of the most intriguing collections of poetry to come out of South Africa. Putuma’s first collection of poetry struck me as a beautiful disruption: A loud, unapologetic voice yelling back at the monsters that feed on us, serenading her heroines and a call to arms against the status quo. uHlanga Press has a reputation for churning out phenomenal collections and Collective Amnesia seems to be abiding by that tradition. The allure and excitement splattered across the internet had me thoroughly enthused."

"Collective Amnesia is a work of immense power, from a voice that is sure only to grow louder as Putuma steps deeper into the light she has already begun to cast."

Maneo Mohale, Mail and Guardian, South Africa

About the Author

Koleka Putuma

Koleka Putuma was born in Port Elizabeth in 1993. An award-winning performance poet, facilitator and theatre-maker, her plays include UHM and Mbuzeni, as well as two two plays for children, Ekhaya and Scoop. Her work has travelled around the world, with her poetry garnering her national prizes, such as the 2014 National Poetry Slam Championship and the 2016 PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize. Koleka currently lives and works in Cape Town. 

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