Friday, August 29, 2014


By Matshidiso Patricia Taleng

Poetry is the blood running through my veins, it’s the inhaling part of breathing, the rhythmic part of my heartbeat, I love poetry so much that I never go to sleep without writing just a stanza; it feels like a crime when I don't!

In the beginning I never thought of publishing my work, I just wrote to perform and heal the wounded hearts, until my late boyfriend got the idea into my head and made me realize how wonderful it would be like if I were to share my work with the world, I started liking the idea, though sometimes I doubted myself, I thought I wasn't good enough and I sometimes thought people were not going to like my writing, but I got to know that it’s not really about how good you are, but it’s about getting your message across, healing the broken hearted and touching souls. So I then believed in myself even more.

Since I wasn't working at the time, I was depending on my mother to help me with all the costs. she didn't believe in what I was doing at first because she didn't understand it, she always questioned where I got the talent because no one in my family was/is a poet, so me being a poet baffled her, she'd sometimes refuse for me to go to poetry sessions, but on a later stage she got to realize how passionate I was with the word and supported me throughout, sometimes she'd even ask me to perform some of my poems to her and liked them. My father passed on when I was young, so my mother raised
both my brother and I alone, but she made sure that she helped me with everything I needed for the launch, she now believed in my dream.

I took my manuscript to the printers and the day they called me to come look at the first copy of the book if it was right, that there were no mistakes, the first thing I did was to smell it, I can still remember the good smell of that fresh ink, it was amazing I even wanted to cry. I couldn't wait to get home and show it to my mother, she was also happy. It was the greatest achievement of my life; it felt like God was smiling upon me, everything was just perfect - I couldn't ask for more.

After all the initial print-run of my book was finished, I started with the invitations and booking the venue for the launch. It got a little challenging as this author about to launch her first book, turned to become a victim of rape again, yes I got raped two weeks before the launch! I felt like the whole world was crumbling in front of me. I wanted to give up everything because the book itself is titled SECRETS, which is the name of a poem that talks about me being raped when I was very young, so I felt like I wasn't going to be strong to talk about the book where else I just experienced the second encounter, but through the support of my loving mother and brother I managed to conquer, one of my friends gave me a scripture to help me heal.

Habakkuk:2:v2-4 "and the LORD answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it, for the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come. it will not tarry, behold his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith" 

After that heart-warming advice and scripture, I knew I could do it, and it went very well, the book launch went according to plan, people came in numbers and I sold scores of copies of my book in on that night. SECRETS touched a lot of people, and still does ... as a bonus they also loved my performance and the way I delivered my speech. I was overwhelmed by the review about my book and my interviews on the internet, local radio stations and newspapers; the impact cultivated by the book was truly amazing as it liberated the voiceless and that in itself is a humbling feeling forever.

So, to all the young writers and performing artists; never let anyone tell you what you can and cannot achieve in life, anything is possible if only you believe and always let God take charge; art is a calling, we can all be performers but few are chosen to be artists, so keep writing and respecting your craft!

* Ms Taleng is a South African poet

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