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Life-line for SA street poet

Social media users will recall the image of a young woman sitting on a tyre on the side of the road, with a banner proclaiming: “Help Me Publish My Book”.

From Facebook

The picture was posted on Facebook for the first time on 23 July, by Confidence Mukhari (25) elias Nyiko Yaka Shilumani, of Phalaborwa in Limpopo, asking Facebookers to share it “until it reaches where it is supposed to reach”.

The post has since been shared over 13 000 times, even by self-proclaimed publishers, until the past weekend when it reached HELP-U-PUBLISH Afrika founder Thokozani Magagula. Now, with the help of Moripe Group, Confidence’s dream of being a published poet is about to come true.

Thokozani said he was pleasantly surprised to discover that Confidence had still not been helped.
“I first saw her post in late July, but it slipped my mind because of the lockdown,” he said. “It wasn’t until a friend tagged me on it the past weekend, that I remembered about Confidence’s plight. I just knew I had to do something to assist. That is what HELP-U-PUBLISH Afrika is about; helping aspiring authors to publish their books.”

Thokozani Magagula 

Moripe Group director Success Moripe said when Thokozani presented the proposal to assist Confidence to publish her book, he immediately said YES.

“We are a mining company, but we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to help a young, aspiring artist to launch her publishing career,” said Success.
Confidence will be helped with the costs of book cover design, typesetting, the printing of the initial batch of her books and putting up her book on online bookshops. In turn Groep7 Printers And Publishers will give Confidence links to her book on Groep7’s bookshop and Kobo.com to use in marketing her book on social media.

“For printed books, she will merely have to supply us with the names and addresses of the people who ordered the books directly from her, and we will print and send the books,” said Groep7 director Illette Strydom. “Through this process, authors are then invoiced with the printing and courier costs, which they deduct from money paid to them for orders, leaving them with their profits. Confidence will set her own price for the book. We will also print and dispatch books ordered from our online bookshop, give Sars its share and pass Confidence her share as well. The same will be done with ebooks sold.”

An elated Confidence said many people contacted her after seeing her post, some claiming to be publishers. They promised to help, but later asked for cash and vanished when they realised she couldn’t pay.

“I sat on that tyre every day for a week, at various busy intersections of Phalaborwa,” she said. “Motorists hooted and pedestrians offered encouragement and support. But as time went on, I stopped because no one offered any tangible help. My hopes were now on the post, which I knew people kept sharing. A tiny voice kept telling me it will eventually reach the right people. I am so grateful it did.”

Confidence said her collection of poems is titled ‘Vantshwa Va Ximanjhemanjhe’, is about the wayward lives of young people of today, how they behave and interact with the world around them and the dire consequences of the decisions they take. She wrote 35 of the 45 poems in the book, the other ones contributed by fellow poets Bornwise Maenetja and Vinolia Mabasa .
Poet and published author Given Risimati Maceke, the winner of the 2019 Avbob Poetry competition Xitshonga category, has offered to edit Confidence’s work.

“Helping Confidence will be my pleasure,” he said. “I am already assisting a number of aspiring poets, with the assistance of teachers and lecturers.”

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About Constance van Niekerk

Constance van Niekerk, (Connie V) is a creative writer, poet, music lover, spoken word artist, freelance writer, blogger and educator. She has contributed to several anthologies and published her own collection, Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection available for purchase on all Amazon Stores Worldwide. Follow her on Twitter : @convanniekerk Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.


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