Writer promotes Xhosa culture

Philasande Phinzi shows Vukani the two books he has written and recently published.

When Philasande Phinzi started writing poems and essays at high school and got applause from his teachers and peers for his writing ability he never paid much attention to it.

But the 26-year-old, who resides at Site B in Khayelitsha, has recently published two collections of poetry ttitled Usekhona na Umdlanga and Shattered Thoughts.

He said he never thought that he would write books, let alone be a published author.

The collections contain thought-provoking poems and mostly talk about the challenges facing young people and the black communities. But they also promote love and peace.

Mr Phinzi said he started writing poems when he was in Grade 10 and got massive feedback.

He said at the time he was writing for fun and never thought about publishing his work.

However, he said people then started encouraging him to write more poems. He said when he completed his matric in 2011 he battled to find employment and for a year and a half he was unemployed.

He quickly came to the conclusion that he needed to do something meaningful with his life.

He said he therefore decided to start writing poems and short stories.

Mr Phinzi said he wrote these two collections at the same time and it took him three years to complete them.

He pointed out that one of the reasons that it took him so long was simply because it was his first time writing. And he needed to give himself enough time to pen his collections and ensure that he produced quality work.

He said one of the poems in the Xhosa poem collection talks about the important role played by initiate schools in moulding young men. But most importantly, he said these books talk about life issues which affect people in their daily lives.

He emphasised that the Xhosa collection was also aimed at urging Xhosa-speaking people to read their language and protect it from dying out.

He said through his books he hopes to inspire young people, particularly those from the township, to write their own books and stories.

But he said the Xhosa collection also touched on the customs and traditions of this tribe.

“It reflects the real issues that affect black people. We need to support black and budding writers. We need to have a lot of black authors. There are a few Xhosa books in the library therefore people were not reading many Xhosa books. We need to have more books written by our people so that we could document our own stories the best way we know how.

“We need to do away with this perception that we as black are not reading. Perhaps one of the key reasons that people are not reading was because they do not relate to the content of some of the books written,” he said.

Mr Phinzi said a lack of confidence was one of the key obstacles he had faced in writing his books. He mentioned financial constraints but said he had already started working on new material and hopes to establish a publishing house.