Kasi poet wins prize

Phelokazi Tenge

Khayelitsha’s Phelokazi Tenge’s pen won her a second prize in the Avbob Poetry mini-competition which featured works drawn from the working class.

Avbob Poetry co-ordinator, Dirk de Vynck, said workers form the backbone of society. 

“They power up the plants and factories, serve us in stores, take our cash at the tills, and go down into the darkness of the earth to bring back raw materials and minerals.

“Their hands soothe the sick and dying, till and toil and turn the soil, pick and plant and pack and produce. Often unseen and largely unsung, they keep us all moving forwards. And words, too, do their own work – making meaning and sense, connecting and communicating. So, it seemed fitting to offer our words to our workers, as a tribute, a salute,” he said.

Mr De Vynck said the second of their mini-competitions on Avbob Poetry’s social media pages saw a surge of praise for those who, silent and strong, have been helping to keep some sense of coherence in our pandemic-impacted lives.

“So that we can eat, so that we can stay safe in our homes, so that we can get the care we need, although so many of us do not have these securities. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude, and our winning poets gave thanks through various metres and genres – from structured quartets to praise poetry to free verse – demonstrating once more the open-endedness of poetic craft”.

Second-prize winner Phelokazi Tenge is a powerhouse of positivity.

A freelance writer, blogger, up-and-coming entrepreneur, wife, and mother of two beautiful daughters, poetry is a tool she uses to mend her heart when it’s hurting.

She’s battled with and triumphed over depression and anxiety: “I am the healer of my own wounds, and the weapon I used to heal and move on from the past was poetry,” Ms Tenge said.

She sees poetry as her “best friend” – a place without judgement.