PORT Elizabeth poet Lelethu “PoeticSoul” Mahambehlala is using her talent to create conversations around abuse during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.
Mahambehlala has embarked on a “A Poem a Day keeps Violence at Bay” campaign, during which she is writing and reciting poems as her contribution in the fight against all forms of abuse.
“By the end of this campaign, I would have written 16 poems to coincide with the 16 Days of Activism. The main idea [with] these poems was to create a conversation and highlight issues that people would not normally talk about,” she said.
The issues Mahambehlala tackles in her poems include the emotional and physical forms of abuse, non-disclosure of abuse and abuse in same-sex relationships.
Mahambehlala recites a poem on local radio stations daily. She was recently featured on Bay FM. “I also celebrate those women who have the courage to come out and tell themselves that they will start from the bottom of the bottom and work their way up after an abusive relationship,” Mahambehlala said.
She is hoping that, through her poems, she will get more women to open up about abuse and to talk about their experiences.
“I’d like to see people showing empathy towards the abused, and those in abusive relationships toshout out for help. I’d also like to bring back the whistle-blower effect in our communities, where people do not fold their arms when they witness abuse.”
For Mahambehlala, the thrill in writing the poems is the fact that she writes each of them on the day and does not plan ahead about what she writes next.
“It’s the creative challenge that motivates me to do this. I wake up each day and only think then about what issue to write about.”
Mahambehlala hopes her series of poems will be published in a book.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign runs until December 10.