Young poet shares his knowledge

Aphiwe Magida

A young Bothasig man has started a workshop teaching others how to follow their dreams in the art industry.

Born in the Port Elizabeth township of Zwide, Aphiwe Magida, 22, grew up with his grandmother who died when he was 7.

With his mother not in the picture and his father living in Cape Town, he lived with his aunt after that.

In Grade 7, Aphiwe fell in love with poetry, and after meeting poet Mzi Mahola – who was running workshops at Zwide library – he knew that was what he wanted to do with his life.

“Mr Mahola realised my talent but noticed that all my material was in English. He then taught me to write in my mother tongue, isiXhosa, and since then I’ve been able to write and perform my poetry in both languages.”

Aphiwe learned how to write short stories, and in 2013, he had two short stories published in the Intinga Journal at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

The young poet then moved to Cape Town in 2014 where he carried on with poetry at Sinethemba Senior Secondary in Phillippi.

At the time, Aphiwe lived with his long lost father in Crossroads near Nyanga.

Aphiwe says he has a passion for poetry, script-writing, short stories, novels and essays.

“I’ve done many competitions over the past couple of years. In 2017, under the mentorship of the Cape Youth Poetry Hub for Expression and Rhythm (CYPHER), I had a chance to perform for the Naked Word Festival.

“In 2018, I got second position at the Kraaifontein Art Competition, but won first position at the Naked Word Festival Poetry Slam in June.”

At the moment, Aphiwe lives with another aunt of his in Bothasig and is doing his second year in teaching at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

A few months ago, he founded Back 2 School, a workshop that educates young artists

“We teach them about the industry of art, the importance of having qualifications as an artist, building your brand, and getting paid for your art. During the workshops, we have performance art and also motivational speaking. This is my way of giving back and helping other youngsters with what I have learned.”

The free Back 2 School workshops are held every first Saturday of the month at the Cape Town Central Library.

The first one was held in February.

The next will be on Saturday April 6, from 1pm to 3.30pm.

“The first two workshops have been quite successful, and we have had a number of interested speakers and performers. We only hope to grow the workshops so they can reach other places within the city.”

Aphiwe says one day he wishes he can build libraries in the townships with books of African stories written by African writers.