This young writer has written a book of IsiZulu poetry but he’s struggling to find a publisher

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Grade 11 pupil, MENZI MTHETHWA has written a book of IsiZulu poetry, but he’s struggling to realise his dream of being published. 

Itâ€s unfortunate that I didnâ€t have the privilege of growing up under my parents†care. My mother died when I was a year old and well, you know the story about disappearing black fathers. Years later, I met him just before he passed away. My grandmother looks after me and Iâ€m grateful.

Gcina Mhlopeâ€s books have given me life. Thereâ€s one book where she writes about changes and challenges in her life and her journey on how she become a storyteller. That book saved me; it encouraged me and made me believe that I can also overcome hardships and challenges. Even though sheâ€s a woman, I could still relate.

I have a gift of writing. I started writing songs for a music group I was singing with in my hometown. The other musicians in the group told me my writing was too powerful for songs and encouraged me to write poems. Thatâ€s when I began to write poems and after some time, I got into writing scripts for radio drama and songs for other people.

Iâ€m crazy about poetry, hence the nickname Crazy Poet. I always have a pen and paper with me, jotting down a line of a new poem or working on an old one. My friends and other people in the neighbourhood constantly tell me that these poems will drive me crazy. But itâ€s that “craziness” that resulted in me completing my first book; a compilation of IsiZulu poetry that Iâ€ve written. Itâ€s ready to be published but Iâ€m struggling to make sure that happens.

I gave my book to a well-known author at a gathering in Pietermaritzburg last year and he promised to help me get published. I havenâ€t heard anything from him since that day. Iâ€m not exactly sure what happened, maybe the copy I gave him got lost or he couldnâ€t help me.

The door to my dream of being published seems distant and closed because everywhere I go, Iâ€m referred to another people who will refer me to the next. I donâ€t have the resources to continue following up with these references. That is probably one of the reasons I might not live to see my work published. Iâ€ve spoken to tons of people, and right now, thereâ€s a teacher thatâ€s trying to help me out. Heâ€s managed to connect me to someone who wants to publish a few of my poems and not the whole book.

My wish is for my poetry to be published worldwide. Maybe Iâ€m pushing it by saying worldwide. I want my poems to be published and spread all over South Africa. It would really make me happy to see the creative arts uplifted in my community because weâ€re all so gifted and talented; we just need support and direction. He said he would update me on any progress and how my poems will be used in his book. His putting together a collection of Zulu poems from different writers.

Our problem as black people is that we donâ€t like to read. We always want things to come to us and we hardly make attempts to reach for the things that we want. Our habit of not seeking information is a challenge. If you ask many of my classmates who Chief Albert Luthuli is, they wouldnâ€t be able to tell you. Itâ€s important that black people read and know about our history. Itâ€s also important that young writers write, especially for the next generation.

I hope one day, I and many other young aspiring writers will see their works all over, and most importantly, that the poems and stories we write will be read by the next generation of writers.

8 COMMENTS

  1. An inspiring story. Poetry is never a crazy pursuit. Perhaps Menzi can publish his poetry online, either as an eBook or on a blog. That way, more people will be able to access it, and he will be able to spread the message himself on social platforms. The publishing industry in South Africa is very small, but there are so many other ways for work to be published and seen.

    • Dear sir/madam I am in search of a publisher I have poetry collections an a book I would like to have published but I’m struggling to find a publisher in port elizabeth. Any feedback would be welcomed. I wrote a poem for tata madiba which is at the museum in joburg. My mobile nr is 0604432279. Regards

  2. Hey im a writer too ..im writing Isizulu poems …i have written 54 poems ..but im struggling to find a publisher. Im 16 years nd doing grade 11 ..im from Eshowe Kzn …pls if anyone can help me pls do…my mobile number is 0797995939

  3. My name is ayanda mchunu from pietermaritsburg at swayimane kwazulu natal i am a poetry writter i am 18 years old now i have writted more than 100 poems and 2 novel i m looking for a puplisher my contuct 0791305276/0623422781

  4. My name is Sabelo Mkhize from Pietermaritzburg(22 years old) I’m a poetry write i have a lot of poems more than 100 so I need the publisher my poem is very attractive my contact (0670709950/0613158675)

  5. Hello sir I am Nomcebo Gumede from Jozini I have many years write my poem but my problem is that I struggles to get a publisher please help me contact me in this number 0637430270

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