Poet Thabiso “Afurakan” Mohare will be performing on Thursday at the Live VIP Youth Festival. He is also the CEO of Word N Sound, a platform for poets and musicians in Jozi. We caught up with him to find out his thoughts about the state of South African youth:
I believe the youth of South Africa are in an important position as they truly have the power to decide where this country goes. We are well informed and hungry enough to take charge of our lives and futures. But we have to get involved. No one changes the world by standing on the sidelines. It’s the small efforts that each one of us contributes that leads to changing the bigger picture. We can no longer think that we are too small or unimportant to change South Africa.
Politically, do you think the youth are informed and well represented?
I think the youth are politically informed as they are well aware of what is going on with South Africa. It is only now that the youth are beginning to take charge in the political world with the entrance of Julius Malema and Mmusi Maimane. However we still need a lot more young people involved at community level as this is where real leadership training begins.
What role does poetry play in the empowerment of the youth?
Poetry firstly gives young people a voice and platform to speak their minds which is very important in a developing democracy. It also helps them to develop confidence to stand up for their beliefs and opinions and engage in a broader conversation with their peers and community. Poetry also empowers young people financially through performances, publishing, workshops and commissioned writing. It also connects them to their peers around the world through travel and cultural exchange opportunities.
The VIP Campaign aims to be the voice of the youth in political spaces especially parliament. What are you thoughts on this?
The VIP Campaign is one of the most important youth voices to come out of South Africa since 1994. It is one thing to be told that you are free but without actual participation in the politics of the country then that freedom means absolutely nothing.
If you could describe the future of South African youth in 4 words, what would those words be?
Free, Empowered, Informed, Ours.
Ever written a piece on youth or the state of youthhood?
Anthem for doomed poets
For the writer who died on stage thinking his ego is word-proof
Your technique is not unique
Your blackberry tweet is not a haiku
Your facebook book status not a poem
Your blog is not a novel
You need to read more
Let knowledge unveil your ignorance
Maybe you can see more
And be more
Before you throw careless speech
At a time when men and women die for words they speak.
Picture courtesy of Word N Sound
Words by @TsheggyZA