To Be Or Not To Be…

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Mandla’s poetic journey to Cape Town   (Part 1)

My quest for Cape Town began on the 18th of August, a Thursday evening, my nerves were shot, anxiety levels high and I was immensely
overwhelmed by tense feelings. For on the following day, (Friday 19th August) I was to embark on uncharted territories as far I was concerned. My business in the Cape was the attending of a poetry audition held by the Drama for Life group hosted by Mrs. Malika Ndlovu, who is also a poet among many other things. The theme of this competition was formed around the concept of “Lover and Another” and entrants are spread all over the country, seeing people from Gauteng and KZN entering, with the recent inclusion of the Western Cape this year. Now this,
believe it or not was a first for me, so I was treading on undiscovered terrain in more ways than one, but the confidence and acknowledgement that I got from my peers, fellow classmates and staff, regarding my poetry, was enough to fuel my ambition to go out there and do my best.

While sitting at the bus terminal waiting for the bus to arrive, a series of thoughts were running through my head as to how my adventure was going to turn out. Questions like, am I going to get lost in Cape Town, how will the audition go and so forth, were circulating in my head. At that time I didn’t know the answers to those questions but the one answer that I knew was that these question marks were going to get filled one way or the other. The bus then arrived and soon thereafter, as I took my first step onto it, I thought to myself, “this is it, now or never”. Little did I know, however, that I was in for one of the longest trips of my life. The long journey gave me a chance to see the spectacle that is the Southern Cape coast with its vast stretches of greenery and diverse landscapes to the ever so beautiful seas and the unique towns, each respectively inhabited by interesting people. It was an enjoyable experience for me to just sit back in my seat and view these different places
as the bus drove through them. When the bus finally entered the bounds of Cape Town, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The massive scale of this city alone was enough to leave me rubbing my eyeballs three or four times to make sure that what I was seeing was indeed real. It took me quiete a while to get a hold of myself and keep it together, but once I managed to do that, I settled into the place where I was going to stay and prepared myself for the next day (Saturday, 20th August), my auditioning day.

Upon arrival at the audition venue my initial feeling was nervousness. But once I got into it and started reciting my poem for the judges
I became more relaxed. The judges then confirmed what I had initially thought about the performance, which is, that it wasn’t bad for my first ever poetry audition. So with that said, they allowed me to go through to the regional finals, something of which I’m very proud, but also at the same time dumbstruck by. As the day progressed I got the chance to see the rest of the entrants or should I say my competitors, at the creative writing and performing workshop. I must say that I had my work cut out for me. Not only were these individuals really talented but they also had previous experience in such events, so it’s safe to say that they were comfortable in such situations as I was not, seeing that it was my first time ever taking part.

But even with that in mind I never at any point lost hope because I knew that I had lots of people standing behind me and there was no
way that I could ever let them down. This is only the beginning though, my quest doesn’t end here. I still have to return on the 27th of August
for the semi’s. So until then, I’m not getting my hopes up but staying focused instead.

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