Ivory Park – One of the local teachers from Eqinisweni Secondary School has been recognised for his sterling writing ability. Enock Shishenge has been published in several poetry anthologies, newspapers, and literary journals. He was one of the few writers who received an African Honoree Authors’ Award. His writing has been published in several poetry anthologies, newspapers, and literary journals such as Timbila, Echoes, Turfwrite, The Burning Shacks, and others. A year ago, he wrote 21 poems during the first day of National Lockdown. Besides writing, Shishenge is a publisher with a deep passion for growing indigenous literature.
Shishenge, originally from Jimmy Jones village in Limpopo province, was jubilant to receive the award. He said: “It is a nice feeling to win, but the main aim is not to win but to use a pen like the barrel of a gun. To challenge the status quo and unsettle power through the written or spoken word,” he told The Olifants News.
He draws his inspiration for writing from anything, and great premises for his books originate from the most mundane beginnings to the harsh conditions of our existence. “I will write about where I live. I write about what people close to me live. I write about what happens in my community. So I don’t think I need to research when I write. My writing is centered around everyday life,” he said.
” Harsh conditions of my present existence inspire me to write. It is these conditions that fire my imagination, so I paint different feelings on the page. That is why I don’t think you can be a good poet without painting feelings through words. Good poets make you feel what they feel because they attach feelings to their writings,” he explained.
Shishenge said writing in indigenous African languages brings about a stimulating intellectual atmosphere on the page. “African languages are our identities, and they are the vehicle with which we can fight back the psychological violence we were subjected to in the ‘colonial’ classrooms. Indigenous African languages are the languages of our cultures. Using African languages makes us escape from post-colonial imprisonment and fight against neo-colonialism. African languages remain the only vehicle through which we can decolonize.”
He said the common traps for aspiring writers are speed, lack of reading, consciousness, and wanting to write in English forgetting their indigenous languages.” Most good writers start writing in their mother tongue. Speed kills; take time to write and get your work well edited. Writers are readers. No matter how big your writing talent is, you are doomed if you don’t read. Consciousness is very important for all writers. Writing in your language makes you not be detached from your culture. Writers without identities are very dangerous. You can tell, after reading two pages, a book written by a person who reads and who doesn’t,” said Shishenge. Other accolades that Shishenge won include, the Gauteng Brand Ambassador Award, The Star in Education Award, Somafco Trust’s Essay Writing Award, and won the Gauteng’s National Teaching Awards twice. He currently serves as the Deputy Secretary of Ivory Park South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU).