’Plain poets seek to set the record straight

Pictured at the back, from left, are poetry competition winner Erin Britto, 14, from New Woodlands, and Mitchell’s Plain Economic and Cultural Empowerment Organisation (MPCECEO) chairperson Oleander Oakes, from Portland. In front are COGH co-owner and events manager Celeste Daniels, from Lentegeur, winners Mia Fortune, 11, from Kensington; Nabeel Sonday, 11, from Tafelsig; Jade Swartz, 16, from Lentegeur; and Junaid Kakese, 21, from Lentegeur.

Young Mitchell’s Plain poets aimed to set the record straight by writing about the hope and opportunities their local community has to offer.

Erin Britto, 14, from New Woodlands, Nabeel Sonday, 11, from Tafelsig, Jade Swartz, 16, from Lentegeur, Junaid Kakese, 21, from Lentegeur, and Mia Fortune, 11, from Kensington, were honoured at an inaugural poetry prizegiving hosted by COGH (Cape of Good Hope) at Portland indoor sports centre on Saturday February 5.

COGH, a non-profit organisation, which aims to make a difference in Cape Town communities, tasked participants with writing to the theme “I come from” – geographically, socially, historically and how they see themselves in the future.

Jade read her poem to the audience in which she speaks about breaking free and making a difference “in spite” of coming from Mitchell’s Plain, which is known mainly for drugs, gangsterism and crime.

Erin said she comes from a place of love. “Where I come from is not just a place, a building but where I come from is light, people love me, people I am comfortable being around.

“And a mother who loves me very much,” she said.

COGH co-owner and events manager Celeste Daniels, from Lentegeur, said they would like to have all of the poems published in a book, which would be sold and generate an income.

Generated funds would be put into a trust, which to be used to help pupils and students further their writing or education.

Ms Daniels said the competition was launched on Facebook in October and that about 20 youth entered.

“The children surprise me a lot. There are not many children in our community who can read with understanding,” she said.

“These participants used their imagination and we could hear how they feel about things.

“Our children are very talented and we have to give them a platform to react on how they feel through art, dance, poetry or writing a book,” she said.

Jade’s mom Melanie Swartz thanked the competition host.

“Thank you for giving our community children an opportunity to shine, for giving them the opportunity to be that person that can shine through the darkness,” she said.

Ms Swartz encouraged participants to reach for the stars.

Mia’s mom Venessa Fortune had encouraged her to participate in the competition.

“I know she can write. Sometimes she don’t see her potential,” she said.