Teacher aims to inspire through poetry

Former 800m athlete and educator at South Peninsula High, Mark Frank with his new book.

Woodlands resident Mark Frank describes himself as a writer, music producer, athlete, educator and chess player.

In one of his latest endeavours, he has brought out a book of poetry which he hopes will be a motivation to teenagers.

His book Silence Only Makes it Louder, which was published last year in December, has about 100 poems.

Mr Frank, 46, is also a teacher at South Peninsula High School in Diep River.

“The way the book is set up is to deal with relationships and motivational poetry. I’ve seen all types of learners in terms of their struggle in family life, relationships and personal life. And this book is about trying to provide the solution for those areas in the teenagers’ lives, whether it’s in drugs, divorce or family issues,” he said.

“It’s a collection of poems, the fragments of love for life motivation and love poetry. Those two areas are most valuable in a teenage’s life and that is the concept behind that.”

Mr Frank said in most cases he writes about himself.

“I write about the pain and hardship I went through. I’m using that because it fits a profile of a number of learners who go through the same thing. And I believe there are thousands of people who are going through the same thing in that regard. A hard time is a motivation sometimes, to get stuff out of me.”

Mr Frank also uses hip hop in his work and is a big fan of Tupac.

“I blend hip hop lyrics using that rhyme with modern English and write a poem,” said Mr Frank.

He is in talks with the provincial Department of Education to get his poems put in the curriculum.

However, the former athlete emphasised that his wish is to produce another Wayde van Niekerk at his school.

“I will do what I can to make a difference. At our school the vision was to create 10 Van Niekerks. So we are intending to build an athletics stadium at South Peninsula High. This is what I’m busy with and chess.”

Mr Frank said he would never leave Mitchell’s Plain and emphasised that perseverance and dedication are the keys to success. “My parents were removed from District Six to Woodlands in 1976 when I was five years old and since then I never moved. Growing up in Mitchell’s Plain was very good at my early ages, but now everything has changed because of drugs and gangsterism. But I love Mitchell’s Plain and it is a place that I’ll never leave. But I cry for my people, especially teenagers.”

Mr Frank said he gives motivational talks at schools.

He said the highlight of his athletics career was when he was given the chance to attempt qualification for the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.

He said he has SA colours, provincial colours, and participated in South African chess championships nine times.

Mr Frank said his 800m running career died after 1996 and he started to run 21km road races, such as the Two Oceans and other races on the peninsula.

To get a copy of the book, call Mr Frank at 082 697 4298.