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Struggle veteran and poet Matthews turns 90

SABC News James Mathews - Struggle veteran and poet Matthews turns 90

Struggle veteran and well-known writer and poet James Matthews turns 90 this week. He’s been honoured at an event at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.

A lot of Matthews’ work had been banned by the apartheid government.

Matthews was born in the historic Bo-Kaap in 1929. Throughout his adult life he was prominent in the fight for freedom. He used his writing and poetry to oppose apartheid. For this, his books were banned and he was refused permission to travel abroad for 13 years.

The Matthews family is happy to be celebrating their father’s 90th birthday with friends.

“There have been many upheavals. We as the family know the sacrifice that he made. We know the values he strived for. We know what he taught us so for us as family we just want to say thank you and we are happy to celebrate his life with friends and family and the recognition of what he’s done in his life,” says  his daughter Terry Grove.

As for the birthday boy, he says it’s unfortunate that he can’t write anymore due to ill health but he’s still committed to serving his community.

“I don’t walk around being an icon or either all these things should go into your head. With me three things are important and that is humility, intergrity and compassion. If you can live up to those things then I would serve a purpose not only for me but those around me,” says Matthews.

A 2017 recipient of the Arts and Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature,  Matthews has produced several books of poetry and a collection of short stories. He also holds honorary doctorates from the University of the Western Cape and Rhodes University.

Watch video below:

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