The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) has successfully hosted its first virtual poetry slam. The South African government regulations prohibit in person gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the NLSA initiated a virtual poetry slam competition in commemoration of Youth Month. The month of June is dedicated to young people in memoriam of the youth who lost their lives on 16 June 1976. Please click here to view the virtual Youth Month exhibition.
The NLSA issued a call for submissions and received a massive response from the public with over 300 poetry submissions received. This is testament to the talented youth in South Africa with a genuine love for literature and the spoken word. Considering South Africa’s past history and the margnilisation of indigenous languages, worth mentioning is that the NLSA received submissions in all official languages. Two independent judges provided technical expertise for the competition. The public were engaged throughout the competition as they were encouraged to vote for their favourite contestant on the NLSA’s social media platforms.
University student, Rotenda Gavhi, who submitted her poems in Tshivenda was crowned the winner of the Poetry Slam. Rotenda won a Special Community Publishing Grant which will assist her to self-publish a collection of her poetry and a mentorship programme with poet and Poetry Slam judge, Busisiwe Mahlangau.
It is our pleasure to introduce winner Rotenda Gavhi.