Young poet Khayelitsha publishes his first book

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Watch Momelezi Kanyiwe read a poem. Video: Ashraf Hendricks

  • Twenty-year-old Momelezi Kanyiwe managed to get her first poetry book isiXhosa published earlier this year.
  • Usiba Luyaphilisa (A Pen Heals) has been in the making for two years.
  • Momelezi is a student at Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School.

Khayelitsha’s 12th grade student, Momelezi Kanyiwe, is all smiles, holding her recently released isiXhosa poetry book, Usiba Luyaphilisa (A Pen Heals), which took two years to complete.

Momelezi, 20, from Site B, attends Matthew Goniwe Memorial Secondary School.

He describes himself as a “quiet and secretive” person, and he says that when he was younger he tried several sports and soon realized he didn’t like any of them as much. them than writing.

“I had a 72-page hardcover book where I started writing a few bits. It was mostly about writing down my thoughts, what I was going through personally, and getting motivated.

“But it was when I started writing some of these posts on my Facebook page that I realized I was really good at it. I got great feedback from people on Facebook. even thanked them for giving them the strength to face their difficulties,” says Momelezi.

He says he read about isiXhosa writers and poets and thought “I can do that too”.

“I talked to a close friend about getting my poetry out there. We tossed around a few ideas and that’s when the idea of ​​compiling my poems into a book was born.

“We came across Uhlanga Books, a publishing house here in Khayelitsha, where I met Zimkitha Zilo who showed me that this idea could indeed come to life. But I needed to raise funds for printing.

The book was launched in February.

Explaining why he decided to title his book Usiba Luyaphilisa, Momelezi says, “Writing makes it easier to express your feelings. So when I say Usiba luyaphilisa, I mean that I have been able to express myself by writing about my pain, writing about love, about strength and healing, and about educating. A piece of paper won’t judge you. I wrote my poems so that whatever a person is going through, there is a poem they can relate to.

Momelezi’s mother, Sisanda Kanyiwe looks on smiling. She describes her son as a calm child who loved being indoors.

“He spent a lot of time in his room. When I looked for him to ask him to do something, he was busy writing in his book. Little did I know that all this writing would end up getting him his own book.

“I’m extremely proud of him, especially since I’m uneducated, so to see what education and passion has done for him is overwhelming. I hope it takes him far and I wish him well. the best.

Of the 46 poems in the book, Momelezi says his favorite is “Liphupha Alicanywa” (Don’t give up on your dreams).

He says he has started writing again and hopes to publish his second book – a short story this time – in three years. He is working on a documentary about his life and journey as a young writer and also dreams of one day writing and publishing a novel.

Usiba Luyaphilisa is available from Clarke’s bookshop in Long Street, from the author in Khayelitsha and from friends in Mfuleni and Dutywa in the Eastern Cape.

The book retails for R150 and Momelezi Kanyiwe can be contacted on 076 374 4979.

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