30 September 2022

The aim of the competition was to communicate that heritage plays a role in the promotion of the Arts thorough storytelling, protest and raising awareness of a particular subject that is a topical issue in the country such as gender-based violence and femicide.

UMP Senior lecturer in Culture and Heritage Studies, Dr Sibongile Masuku, said that the competition demonstrates that the discipline is not only about dancing and singing or commemorating Heritage Day once a month. “It was also to encourage creative writing in indigenous languages and centre them as language of counsel and protest.”

The competition lived up to UMP’s vision of being An African University leading in creating opportunities for sustainable development through innovation. “We received 53 poems which were submitted by 37 students from all disciplines of the University. The highest number of submissions were in English, followed by Siswati and IsiNdebele,” adds Dr Masuku.

“The quality of writing was excellent, and it was particularly encouraging that a number of male students penned their condemnations, concerns, counsel and pain on this scourge as a response to the call.”

UMP The winning students. 

Dr Masuku adjudicated the English submissions; other UMP lecturers who were involved in the competition were Ms Cynthia Ndlovu, who played a key role in the development of the call to action and Siswati adjudication, while Culture and Heritage lecturer Ms Monicca Thulisile Bhuda did the same for IsiNdebele.

“Creative Writing lecturer at Sol Plaatje University and master’s graduate in Creative Writing on Poetry from Rhodes University, Ms Siza Nkosi Mokhele also adjudicated and will continue to assist UMP to run an online workshop for emerging and seasoned poets to give them guidance on poetry writing and publishing.”

Another critical player in this competition was the Nelson Mandela Museum. The Deputy Director of the museum, Mr Zibekile Mrebelele from Mtata in the Eastern Cape, awarded the winners with prizes.

“We hope this partnership will be sustained and thank the museum for this gesture,” added Dr Masuku.

“This was a pilot competition; we hope that those who did not submit their works will do so next year and the students who did not get the prizes will sharpen their skills and re-enter next year.

The competition will continue next year, and the subject themes will change. We are hopeful to include Portuguese and other languages that have been introduced in the university.”

Below are the winners of the poetry competition:

  • Overall winner: Simphiwe Nkuna for Emaculo Emngcwabo (Bachelor of Commerce)
  • Second runner ups: Gabriel Mavie for a Child’s Cry and Amanda Ngcane for Eighteen (Bachelor of Commerce)
  • Third runner up: Mahlangu Sinothando for Inarha ilila ezimathonsi (Bachelor of Law).

@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures supplied.