AVBOB launches po­etry project to grow ubuntu

The Star Early Edition - - MANDELA DAY - NOKUTHULA ZWANE nokuthula.zwane@inl.co.za @Zwane_2li2ls

IN cel­e­brat­ing Man­dela Day, AVBOB has found an un­ortho­dox way to en­cour­age South Africans to give back to the com­mu­nity through po­etry writ­ing.

As the coun­try cel­e­brated the birth­day of Madiba, AVBOB launched an “I Wish I’d Said” po­etry project to be used as a tool to carry on his legacy of ubuntu.

AVBOB chief ex­ec­u­tive Frik Rade­man, said: “Po­etry brings us closer to those we love and binds us to the uni­verse in which we abide.

“Per­haps most im­por­tantly of all, po­etry brings us closer to our truest selves and reaches chords within us that can­not oth­er­wise be touched. This unique com­pe­ti­tion is AVBOB’s way of catch­ing hold of a mo­ment and lift­ing it out of its the or­di­nary.

“Our spon­sor­ship is aimed at pro­vid­ing a plat­form for po­ets, both un­known and lauded, to of­fer words for com­fort through their craft.

“We want to pub­lish as many qual­ity new po­ems as pos­si­ble in all 11 of the of­fi­cial South African lan­guages and the web­site will form the plat­form which we will launch a na­tion­wide po­etry com­pe­ti­tion.”

One of the con­trib­u­tors to the AVBOB po­etry project, Coe­nie De Villers, said that it was the first he had heard of a spon­sor that put ma­jor funds into po­etry as such funds usu­ally go into sports.

“The most beau­ti­ful and au­then­tic voices you have ever heard in any lan­guage across the world are po­etry,” De Villers said.

“Peo­ple think that us­ing po­etry is a little bit un­ortho­dox, but it re­ally isn’t un­ortho­dox. We lis­ten to po­etry all day.

“If you put on the ra­dio there is Khuli Chana, AKA and rap­pers who do some of the most ex­cit­ing po­etry that we have in the world to­day.

“The tar­get mar­ket is for all South Africans with a thought, hope and as­pi­ra­tion and the words to ar­tic­u­late. En­ter and let’s see what hap­pens.

“Even if it’s just for the joy of writ­ing.

“I love po­etry. I grew up in the pre­vi­ous era in South Africa and one of the only ways where I could re­ally un­der­stand what was hap­pen­ing to us was by read­ing the strug­gle po­etry of the time.

“Hear­ing the voices that we weren’t al­lowed to hear then and in that sense, I am also proud of this project be­cause we live in a coun­try where we have free­dom of speech and who­ever you are, wher­ever you might be, if you have a voice, write it.”

Yes­ter­day marked 99 years of AVBOB in ex­is­tence and was on the same day as Madiba’s birth­day. It was also on this day that the AVBOB po­etry project came to life on their web­site.

“Now is the time for us, as a na­tion, to take up the pen and not the sword. This is when we should fo­cus on what unites, rather than di­vides us. And the AVBOB po­etry project strives to do ex­actly that,” Rade­man said.

The com­pe­ti­tion is ex­pected to run from Au­gust 1 to Novem­ber.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the com­pe­ti­tion prizes, en­try dates and terms and con­di­tions, visit www.avbobpo­etry. co.za

PIC­TURE: MASI LOSI

FO­CUSED: AVBOB chief ex­ec­u­tive Frik Rade­man sees po­etry as a way of unit­ing South Africans.

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