To Be Or Not To Be… Continued!

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Mandla’s poetic journey to Cape Town (part 2)

Friday, 26th August, had arrived and my anxiety levels were now quadrupled from what they were the previous week. After my sleepless night the day before, consisting of nothing but practice, it’s safe to say that I was fairly ready for what was to come. The day started quite early seeing me wake up at round about 5:00 am in great anticipation of the events that were to take place during the course of that day and of course that weekend in particular. I then used a bit of that early morning time to go over what I had been practising the previous night just ensure that everything would be perfect by the time I set foot on the bus leaving for Cape Town.

Sleeping would be a luxury this time around as I soon came to discover. Not only were my nerves not allowing me to doze off, but the trip down to Cape Town also played its role in the matter. With the bus only arriving at 7:00 and the performance time being 11:00, the short time that I eventually had didn’t do me any justice. This, however, as I came to accept was a small price to pay for what the potential end result could be. Arriving in the Mother City this time was not as scary as before. To my own surprise I had managed to familiarise myself with some of the places in the area.

Upon arrival I didn’t get any real time to rest, just about an hour or two of shut eye time after my arrival. The thought of it being the semi-finals on the following day had kept me up for hours on end on the bus and these thoughts did not go away while I was trying to relax and rest. I eventually had to be out of the sheets, up preparing myself for what seemed to be the biggest moment in my life. The day was finally here, 27th August, a Saturday, a day I will not soon forget; for it was one of the most nerve wracking I’ve ever had to live through. I could feel my heart beat faster and harder the closer I got to the venue, my palms were dampened by fear and of course by the sweat that was dripping from them. All sorts of sensations were overwhelming my body at that point, but even with that being the case I knew that I needed to keep a cool, calm head in order for me to stay focused.

Getting onto that stage, at first, proved to be all that I had anticipated. It was scary, intimidating…basically all those initial feelings I had were now slowly starting to creep up and reveal themselves. At one point I began to doubt whether or not I’d be able to even open my mouth let alone perform a poetry piece. I must admit though that once I got to the point of having to actually start my performance, everything seemed to fall into place. I was all of a sudden reciting my piece in the most intense manner I’ve ever done surprising the panel and myself in the process. I felt as if I had effectively managed to draw in the crowd to what I was saying and that feeling to me had already made me a winner. The end result, however, didn’t bear the same good news for me. I grabbed fourth position, falling just a little behind the top three and missing an opportunity to go to the finals in Johannesburg. Looking back at the journey, I can say that it may have come as a major disappointment to me not to have made it through to the finals. But this journey has had more ups than it’s had downs. One of these positive aspects or ups that stood out in the duration of the whole experience was the generosity and humanity that people showed to me and also how much they sacrificed to help me out in all possible ways. From the organising of bus tickets and accommodation, to the moral support and upliftment; and I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank the whole of the TSIBA Eden student body for standing firmly behind me as well as the management staff who went out of their way to make the platform available for me to express my creativity. It has been a learning curve for me in numerous ways and not only did I learn about myself, but also about those surrounding me and how much they really care about me. So on that note I’d just like to end things off on a big thank you to everyone who was involved. You are the reason to why I feel like a winner today, despite the fact that I came fourth. Thank you!

I wish to send a super special thank you to the following individuals:
•Suzy & Tom Cinderey
•Ruth Powell
•Michael Jacobs
•Fiona and Duncan Simpson
•Andrew Simpson
•Pam Haddad

And of course, my family both at home and in TSIBA who stood behind me and cheered me on. Always know that your efforts and support will forever remain appreciated by me.

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