Blaqpearl Foundation launches first book

The Blaqpearl Foundation’s book was launched on Saturday.

The Blaqpearl Foundation has launched its very first book alongside writers and creatives.

This book is a project by the Blaqpearl Foundation titled Creating Books and Stories from people in Cape Town. It entails creative writing workshops and training as well as knowledge and information to promote self-publishing.

This book shares original stories about gender-based violence, hardships, challenges and also hope towards the future in growth and healing.

Founder of Blaqpearl Foundation, Janine Overmeyer said this project is a response to the strong need in our communities for people to create and tell their own stories.

The event was held at Pieties Place in Strandfontein on Saturday July 9.

Founder of Blaqpearl Foundation, Janine Overmeyer

“Everyone’s journey is very important and acknowledging this has a great impact on its own. This project aims to inspire and develop agency in the community with the use of arts and culture. Once our people can read and access more of our own stories and shared experiences and feel pride this promotes tolerance and understanding for a healthier society,” she said.

The book shares original stories.

Ms Overmeyer said the organisation was founded in 2016, and named after her stage name. It’s about creating programmes and initiatives that come from the needs of the community.

“My dream was always to compile stories and help writers share it, it’s important to me.

In 2015 I put out a book called Karadaaa!!. Before then professionals would hear my poetry and hear what I do so I was offered the opportunity to be published but nothing came of it. After this experience I researched the process of putting out a book then I understood more and self published my book.”

Her book is a collection of poetry, stories and lyrics that can be purchased directly from her.

“Us being here, is proof that help is out there if only we are patient; today is proof that dreams can come true,” she said.

Nerine ‘NiNz’ Rampono, from Plumstead, 44, said she thanks the foundation for the opportunity.

The writers are proud to be a part of the project where they were able to share their stories.

“I find this to be inclusive. All our journeys are different and we’ve all experienced different things in life. We’ve been given the opportunity by the Blaqpearl Foundation to share our stories. If my story can help just one person then I’m happy because it means they found significance in what I’ve shared,” she said.

“It is never too late to live your dream. If you have a dream, you lead by example. It doesn’t matter the trauma you may have endured, your dreams are there for the taking. We are living our lives courageously through our stories,” she said.

Kyle van Wyk, 21, from Elsies River, said when he saw this opportunity he grabbed it.

“Thank you to the Blaqpearl Foundation for this opportunity. There’s a great calling on us to share our stories. We have a story. Where we come from, we can uplift our community,” he said.

“Don’t let people look down on you and despise your youth, set an example to the elders. Words are such a powerful tool and medium which we can use in our community,” he said.

“Keep on keeping the faith, keep pushing through words, have a current that pushes through the tide that helps us. When you climb the ladder make sure you’re pulling somebody up with you,” he said.

Tiffany Avontuur, 31, from Rocklands, said the team at the Blaqpearl Foundation believed in them.

“In my mind, a writer to me was someone who doesn’t come from Mitchell’s Plain, they are educated people from a university. Sometimes people from here don’t want to stand out. I submitted my story, not really thinking that I would get a response. I’ve been on this journey to discover who I am. I want to create something that is new that breaks generational curses,” she said.

“When we stand out we move forward. The piece I wrote I could never have written it without what I went through. I’ve been broken. I wrote this in 30 minutes. I’m only 31 but my soul was 60 because of what I’ve experienced. My piece is named – Grace Found Me. I’m gonna take that seed of hope and plant it in someone else,” she said.

Ms Overmeyer said it took a lot out of her to edit the book since April but the process was beautiful.

“The artwork created for this book was very symbolic. The red area is the blood and the life, the path is our journey and the nature which leads us and reminds us where we come from. The clouds had to be there, Charlene from Marinus Media did this artwork and we are grateful to her and their company.

Getting to this point was challenging but they’re excited about the book and what it will bring the writers. “Invest the money you’ll get from this current book into your next book. Keep writing, keep going. Always know that we are still here,” she said.

For more information follow their social media pages online and contact the Blaqpearl Foundation on 062 206 1310.