Lebo Makwela, Poet

"Poetry is something that really intrigues me. It's in the way a couple of words can mean so much. It highlights punctuation at its best and speaks volumes while being modest with word usage. Writing poetry is a craft, it is art at its best. Lebo Makwela, she defines herself as crazy, calculating and creative."

"Other than poetry, I love dancing and exploring other creative sides to myself. I’ve found happiness in all art forms, I’ve found it to be extremely powerful. I am the founder of the Facebook page Lebo The Creative. It is a platform where I share my writing. I’m a person who loves they own space, the silence helps me get lost in my thoughts."

"I’m a big planner. I have a very detailed 15 year plan that I understand will change as I grow and evolve into the wonderful woman I hope to become. My current biggest fear is losing the guy I’m with. He has helped me become comfortable with being myself again and made me realize that it’s okay to put myself first. I’ve gained so much inner-growth from being with him. My sister, Shalima Mkongi, is my biggest motivation in life. I look up to her so much and I don’t even think she knows that. The best thing about me is that I’m a black empowered woman."

When Did you get into poetry and why?
"I started writing when I was 14, 6 years back and today I thank God that my pastor found this gift in me. At first I just wrote because I was good at it and my pastor kept asking me to write poems for him but now I write for healing, to share stories and to just be a voice to those who don’t one. I’m not good with people so this is the best way I know how to communicate."

What do you love about poetry that makes you want to write it?
"I guess it’s because it tells stories beautifully."

Take us through your poetry writing, how do you create your content?
"To be honest it just happens. When my pen meets the paper and I can go on for as long as those feelings, ideas and words are flowing. After that then I sit down and re-read and edit until I’m happy with the piece."

Nkosi sekelela lomhlaba
For this world is built on the backs of women
And without us this world stands to go barren

Women aren’t just born
They are raised, created, moulded into these fine creatures we call women
We are men with a womb
We are mater pieces created from the ribs of men, a simple sketch
We were never created to be enslaved by men
Nor were we created to lay on our backs, birth children
And be where the pots and pans are
We’re not meant to be stepping stones for men
See, most of us are the reason why true men exist today
We are strong, brave, courageous
There’s no need for us to wait for a men to save us
Or put on the perfect fitting glass slipper on us
Because we are superheroes
We are as hard as rock
No wonder they say wathint’ abfazi wathint’ imbokodo
But sometimes we can be soft and mushy as mud
Because we allow ourselves to feel
We make homes out of houses
Children out of seeds
We are creators
And have the ability to do anything a man can do

If I was to raise a girl into a women,
I would remind her
She is smart
She is powerful
She is a champion, a worrier, a winner
She is intelligent, victories, beautiful
And she is enough
She will always come first even if she’s last
She is strong and can do anything a man can do
She is not her skin colour but wears in with pride
She is not her race but will win the race
Her small hands can create big things
She should dream big because the can be anything, do anything
If she wants to fly I will learn with her
Because I want her to know, she is never too old to learn
I want her to know that heartbreak will come and so will failure too
But know that my arms will always be open
She will stand up and give it another try until she wins
Because when doors close, others open
And if it seems like all the doors are locked, try the window
I will reminder her to go on her knees, close her eyes
And have faith, believe again
I will raise a woman

Do you think poetry can be used as a powerful device in women’s fight against patriarchy? Also in what other ways can poetry be used to make people “uncomfortable”?
To answer both questions at once, I would simple say that words are extremely powerful. They hit the heart and make you think twice. So yes, it is a great way to use in fighting patriarchy. It doesn’t just have to be written poetry, it can be all types of poetry like performance poetry or lyrical poetry. It’s about creating a platform where people can speak out and be heard, be it any form of art.

Do you think people don’t give poetry the attention it deserves in terms of it being an exceptional art form for voicing out injustices?
Not a lot people give poetry attention in general compare to other art forms but there are people listening and people are becoming more open to poetry.

What is your message to young girls/women out there

You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone shut you down, you are capable of anything. Surround yourself with people who will help you grow and want to see you succeed. Educate yourself as much as you can, you can never stop learning. Like Gandi said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world”.

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