“WINNING THAT AWARD WAS ONE OF THE BEST MOMENTS EVER”
By: Khwaza Mbasa
“The winner is Minenhle Mthembu!”
This is one of the best lines that Minenhle Mthembu said he has ever heard as he scooped an award for the best male poet at the Original Material Awards.
The 22-year-old poet from Mandeni is the first born of three children and he was raised by his grandmother. He studied in Samungu Primary School in Eshowe and in Nqabazulu High School in KwaMashu. It is clear that poetic blood runs in the family as both his young siblings are also emerging poets.
Mthembu started writing poems in 2008 and he has performed in a lot of places and events. In 2011, he was voted by the public to do an opening for The Soil show at The Bat Centre and in the same year he was named the best Zulu poet out of all KZN poetry circles. He has performed at the International Conventional Centre (ICC) Future Leaders Siyavala with some of South Africa’s great artists such as, Sfiso Ncwane, Professor, Teargas, Abanqobi and others.
Mthembu takes his work very seriously because it’s a reflection of him and he said that people haven’t seen anything yet because the best is still to come. “The original material award is just the beginning, people are yet to see a lot of things and this could be my big break,” he said.
Clearly winning that one award means a lot to him and that moment is one of the moments he will always treasure. “It means that I have worked hard enough to represent KZN poets. Last year year Sbo the Poet won this award considering how big he is I am proud,” he said. “Winning an award is every artist’s dream, winning it is awesome and so far it is one of my greatest achievements.”
Winning the award was not an easy ride as he was up against Mzamo Da Story Teller, Mlu and Smilo, Flintsky and Kgune Dlamini.
“Mzamo da story teller was my biggest competition, he is a great poet and I respect his work,” he said. Mzamo Da Story Teller was leading the category at some point but Mthembu won it at the end with 43%. Mthembu said that he was confident that he would win judging from the people’s response on his work.
“To each and every person that voted for me, to people who listen and appreciate my work the word thank you is not enough, I wish I had something in my hand to give you and show you how much I appreciate you I would. To the youth out there focus on your work, set your goals and work hard to achieve them,” he concluded.