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The world will always need words

SLAM POETRY: Thabiso Afurakan Mohare. Picture: EstrellaLOVE
SLAM POETRY: Thabiso Afurakan Mohare. Picture: EstrellaLOVE

Literature offers plenty of opportunities, writes Thabiso Afurakan Mohare

MY family weren' t fond of reading or anything related to literature . My mother was an exception . As a primary school teacher, she was a well of information and I believe that it is from her that I inherited my addiction to knowledge. It is this desire to know more that led me to books, which changed my life .

I buried my head in anything I could access, which meant textbooks and school-prescribed literature. Reading helped to alleviate boredom after school . It would later lead me to writing .

It was in 1993, at the age of 13, that I was started to explore using words in various formats, especially in performance. I was captivated by rap and after high school discovered slam poetry in the Newtown and Melville underground scene. This was where I sharpened my writing and performance skills and was inspired by peer voices such as Lebo Mashile, Mak Manaka, Flo Mokale, Natalia Molebatsi and Napo Masheane.

It was with this movement in mind and the desire to create a credible stage for young writers that my partners and I founded the Word N Sound Live Literature Company in 2010. Using slam poetry as a vehicle for development, we believed that we could draw young people into writing and reading to show them the opportunities available in a literary career.

In a country with such a low literacy rate, spoken word exposes people to literature in English from a range of cultures around the world.

More than 1200 young writers and poets have performed on our various platforms.

As writers we live in the perfect age to expand our writing and make a living from it.

From print to blogs, audio and video productions, the possibilities for a writer are infinite. Reading and writing are essential to every industry and sphere of our lives. Thus as a writer and reader I will never be out of a job. The world will always need words and I have plenty to give.

As I travel and grow as a writer I collect books which I read and save to one day give to my children. I hope to inspire them by surrounding them with literature, a privilege which I never had.

Mohare is an award-winning copywriter, performance poet and arts projects manager. See www. wordnsound.wordpress.com

Stories help your children to develop their language and thinking, especially when they hear or read them in their home languages.

  • For children's stories in a range of South African languages, plus reading and writing tips, visit www.nalibali.org or www.nalibali. mobi