Koos Kombuis analysed by Cambridge University

According to the BBC, South African musician, songwriter and poet Koos Kombuis is having one of his works included as part of a literature exam for students at Cambridge University in the UK.

How do they get past the fact that Kombuis writes in Afrikaans, you may be asking yourself.  Easy, the poem in question has no words. He called the work “Tipp-Ex Sonate”.


According to Mark Ford, a poet and professor of English Language and Literature at University College London, there is little point trying to decipher the text. He advises:

“I don’t think you could write an interesting long answer about the text. The pattern is not particularly complicated and there are only a handful of characters. A better strategy would be to put Tipp-Ex Sonate in a wider aesthetic context. Students could discuss the avant-garde tradition of anti-art,widely associated with the dada movement, which saw defacing or destroying artworks as a form of iconoclasm.”

Perhaps if Cambridge could arrange to have a jug of Tassies to hand, ‘Professor’ Kombuis would host a seminar to explain the work himself.

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