The Young Basadzi project has created a platform for young women to come together and share their stories. The project, which takes place every Thursday at the BAT Centre, provides a platform for women to share pieces of their lives through the spoken word.
Young Basadzi project member Busiswa Gqulu (pictured) explains how poetry can lead to self-discovery for women.
“Young women need a platform to express themselves, share their feelings and leave the place feeling stronger. This is how the Young Basadzi project was founded in 2002 by Rose Mokhosi, and it has been growing ever since.
“People come with their own topics, which range from homosexuality to abuse – others are more scary, like homophobia and Satanism. We try to make it less about the poem, but more of a conversation which is educational,” she said.
In 2006 the project launched a collection of poems by 13 young black women titled Basadzi Voices: Walk With Me.
Poets from the project also participate in the Poetry Festival and have converted it into a movement which is mushrooming all over Durban.
“Some of the poets get hired to perform at corporate functions. People are starting their own poetry circles in their townships, schools and universities. Some of the poets even lend their voices for documentaries,” said Gqulu.
“We also have more men joining in the debate and the interesting thing is that they also have a lot to say about the opinions women are expressing.
“People are writing about current affairs, which also cultivates a culture of research. We have seen people’s confidence grow on the stage. Most people who write poems are already artists who come into the session with their instruments. We are looking for anyone who has a story to share or something to add to the debate. Most people think that poetry is about fancy words, but it’s not, it’s just putting feeling onto paper.”