Life is a paradox, the world is a crime ,otherwise the world is a haven of great things and worst experiences . I had a chance to interact with women ,young women, young men and men during my tenure as an INK Community Writing Skills Development Facilitator in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa courtesy of the Valhalla Arts( headed by Mr Musa E. Zulu) and the EThekwini Municipality Area Based Management Unit( headed by Mr Linda Mbonambi). I discovered that a lot of people die carrying their anger ,sadness ,pain , excitement and zeal inside their soul caves for they are not usually afforded the chance to pour out their stories and pass the precious heritage of their stories , their lives and their tribulations to the remaining generations and others to come. Many people die with their rich and fertile experiences that can make volumes and volumes of books for humanity to feast from. These books can be used to change negative perceptions and stereotypes that have greedily gripped our communities . We are born from different cultures with different abilities and disabilities. Some are born handicapped mentally, physically or visually. Some suffer accidents at their prime puberty stages , some are born with albinism and some grow up without challenges and only suffer traumatic experiences when they grow up . Some are left by their spouses during challenging times. Some are disadvantaged by peer pressure , some are visited by the devil , beaten to near death or raped as they try to climb the ladder of life .Many have faced impossible experiences but they pulled through to become living testimonies in this paradoxical world . During those creative interventions with the Ink Community, I got motivated to be part of everything . Their life stories were written based on their challenges and it seems these challenges shaped them into more stronger beings . The stories were told from an African point of view ,South Africa is a country rich with exciting / sad historical moments .It has a stunning cultural and traditional heritage . Its political stories are fat with racial and apartheid era connotations.It has its own complexities and realities. In reality ,South Africa is a paradox.
Black South Africans have a lot of stories to tell and to write.Their stories are heart rending,nerve wrecking, thought provoking,memorable and timeless.People in black townships have suffered a great deal and has experienced several traumas that include discrimination , rape , violence , educational poverty , material poverty , hunger and displacements .These people have been also at the receiving hand of political propaganda , oppressive apartheid era regime, zealotry, expediency and puzzling corruption . They have become pawns pimped by preceding regimes of black and white leadership. Black township communities have many stories for their people and by their people. These stories can achieve to be both knowledge libraries and literary heritage for generations . A book is the best place where stories,experiences, challenges and solutions should be placed in.
It is quite interesting when stories are told by those who experienced them .It is great and refreshing that the Ink Community Trust and the EThekwini Municipality Areas Based Management Unit have seen it fit to develop vulnerable communities through initiating writing skills and literary prowess development programs . During my tenure, I was confronted by the burden of fresh and raw stories that require the right motivation for those stories to burst into thick collections of mesmerizing IsiZulu and English text . I would like to title this book project The Story of the People . Creative interventions like this one gives people hope and grow their creative and thinking abilities , thus growing the creative knowledge economy for the nation .It makes and shapes them into great leaders , voices and messengers of development in their preferable communities. It is quite important for a community to read what it writes, to listen and learn from its own story: True Education.
It is high time that communities learn from their experiences , build their libraries without borrowing and begging for learning material .The children of black Africa should learn and read from their own stories , stories of their fathers and their mothers , for these are their immediate heroes and heroines of their times. The today’s generation should learn to respect their own, love and praise their own, hence the writing of own story. I continue to emphasize that our children should read our own stories, our African stories, stories that belong tour pastures, stories of our struggles and stories of valleys, rivers and mountains. We are the story ,his story and her story , the story of forefathers and grandmothers inherited to the children and their descendants . Foreign stories cannot simply change or grow us the way our story is relevant to us and to our children. This story of the people concept is vital and necessary for the development of communities and betterment of their lives .People in KwaMashu , Inanda and Ntuzuma are in dire stress because of the kind of lives they are living . These communities are decorated with scars, hate,wounds, pain and hunger. The gutters are pregnant with illicit drugs , the bridges smell rot stench of overused condoms , streets bathe in hate and blood .Those wounds can be and are shaped into readable and exciting stories during our community skills training interventions .It is quite interesting that the writing skills project had no age limits , we didn’t discriminate on the basis of physical ability , profession , age or gender .This gave us a great mix of interesting stories from a variety of experiences , diversity at its best . We had to use various tact methods to provoke the giant writing spirits inside our participants. We gave them the chance to go and create ,develop and also grow their stories, to review their life experiences , we helped them with teasers , motivation insights ,stories of other legendries to provoke the writer tigers in them and after all those catalytic processes ,they found it easy to write their own life experiences and turn their experiences into readable and educative stories that can save others who lived or are living through the same experiences and do not know how to come out or how to solve their challenges .
Writing is a therapy,telling your own story heals. Many life scars were healed , many wounds dried and many souls were uplifted as we pushed through with this creative writing skills training intervention . Telling your story is the beginning of self-development,the birth of self-assertiveness and self-esteem. In this modern day era everything starts from the book. It is good to invest in books for the promotion literacy culture development , fostering academic excellence and strengthen the creativity of our present and future generations . Such interventions are always good because they help to curb community troubles like drug abuse , violence , delinquency ,sexual rape ,killings and many other vices. The writing skills project was highly received by participants/budding writers because the writers wrote what they know , their greatest moments ,their triumphs, their trials and tribulations ,their poverty and their wealth , their highs and lows. It was a refreshing and humbling experience.
MBIZO CHIRASHA is an internationally anthologized poet , literary arts project curator , creative humanist , arts activism catalyst , blogs publisher and a Writer in Residence . He is the Solidarity member of GAPA( Global Arts and Political Alliance),the African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival, the Resident Coordinator of 100 Thousand Poets for Change- Global, the Founder of Girl Child Creativity Project( 2010 to present) , founder/Creative Director of the Young Writers Caravan( 2003-2007), Facilitator/Curator of the Creative Leadership and Artistic Training Project for Africa( 2018- 2023) .He is the Word Press Publisher of thePersonalitiesofinspiration(www.personalitiesofinspiration.wordpress.com) and MiomboPublishing (www.miombopublishing.wordpress.com ).Chirasha is the Editor of the Brave Voices Poetry journal (Journal for political poetry and creative resistance), he is the Originator of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign. He writes for the Tuck Magazine- (the International magazine on Arts Human Rights and Politics.).Mbizo Chirasha is the editor of the E-Poetry Anthology on Zimbabwean political instability “INSIDE DISGRACELAND”.He Co-edited , edited , compiled, contributed and written several books , collections and anthologies across theglobewww.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbizo_Chirashame.facebook.com/mbizochirasha, me.google.com/mbizochirasha,