Grooming authors and poets

HAZEL ALLIES-HUSSELMAN

Future poets and authors are being groomed at Alexander Sinton High and Garlandale High with a project called The Write Club, an initiative started by three teachers from these schools.

The club gives pupils a safe space and a platform to express themselves through creative writing, music, dance and drama.

A pilot of this initiative started in the fourth term of school last year at Alexander Sinton High School, by teachers Monique September, Nabilah Appolis, and Adrian Dawson.

It has proven to be a hit among the pupils, and when the new school year started, the club went full-steam ahead.

Mr Dawson, who taught at Alexander Sinton, had since moved to Garlandale, and the club was established there too.

With the social media craze among the youth almost overtaking the interest in reading and writing, Mr Dawson said he was bowled over and encouraged by the interest shown by the pupils.

“The club is not compulsory, and to see the pupils coming here voluntarily, is really encouraging. The group is very passionate and they definitely have the talent and the skills.

“Our role is to guide them on how to use that talent and skills – to develop the skills they already have. We also get in guest speakers to show them how they can take their talent beyond the school,” Mr Dawson said.

Each of the three teachers also bring their skills to the weekly workshops. Ms September has experience in drama, Ms Appolis is a literary guru and Mr Dawson holds an honours degree in psychology and is a rapper.

The club is already working on a production, called I am not my circumstances, that they will host in June, to commemorate Youth Day.

An excited Mr Dawson said: “The club brings the pupils out of their shell. I’m sure they’ve always had this interest, but they didn’t know where to go to or how to go about it.

“We’d like to do a lot more, and are hoping to produce a documentary, with the help of funders or doing our own fundraising.

“Our short-term goal though, is to present the I am not my circumstances production, and later, to host a graduation ceremony. The Write Club is not grade specific and is open to all the pupils.”

Both Lyle Jansen, Grade 11, and Nuraan Isaacs, Grade 12, from Alexander Sinton High, write poetry, and both said they never allowed people to read their work, until they joined the club.

Lyle added: “It’s fun writing. I like poetry. Writing poems is an outlet for me. My very first writing was inspired by Albert Einstein, because to many he seemed like a mad man, but he actually said a lot of interesting things.

“I never allowed people to read my poetry, and I’ve also never read it out aloud, until I joined the club. I write about anything and over the past three years I’ve written a lot. At the club nobody discourages you or puts you down – instead, I receive great support here.”

Nuraan said she always enjoyed reading and when she heard about the club, she didn’t think twice about joining, as she would meet people who “are passionate about reading and are touched by words”.

“The club helped me to open up and allow people to read my poetry – something I felt very private about. I write about my experiences and I would like to encourage more people, especially my peers, to find solace in words. I live by the words that in reading you find your saviour,” she said.