Following his recovery from Covid-19, Hospital Porter, Odwa Sunduza decided to publish his first book, in an effort to bring hope to the hearts of Africans as they face adversity.
Sunduza who hails from a Silverton Trust Farm, in a tiny rural village near Ngangelizwe in Mthatha fell in love with poetry in his teenage years, whilst attending at Nozuko High School.
He started writing poems in English but for many years could not find anyone to publish his work. That all changed when he met Yamkela Ntwalana, Teacher from the same hometown, who co-authored and published a collection of Xhosa poems with one of his students late last year.
Thanks to Ntwalana’s mentorship, Sunduza has written and published his own book in isiXhosa.The book, Kumnyama eAfrika (It Is Dark in Africa), is a collection of 37 Xhosa poems highlighting some of Africa’s challenges, including rampant corruption, crime and the current Covid-19 pandemic. He also hopes it may speak to the consciences of those who commit crimes and loot state resources meant to benefit the poor.
“For example, I wrote the poem Intsholongwane yeCovid not only to highlight how deadly the virus is but also to assist in teaching people about the importance of government’s advice to wash hands regularly, sanitise and observe and maintain social distancing, “said Sunduza.
“When I wrote the poem, I had no idea I would later contract the virus myself. When I developed symptoms, I was scared. However, I told myself that I could not just wish it away. I decided to embrace my situation and told myself I needed to adopt a positive attitude if I was to win the battle against Covid,” he said.
One of his poems is meant to inspire people to return to the values of ubuntu, which Africans are renowned for. He said many countries, including SA, were beset with crime and corruption simply because people were no longer living according to the values of ubuntu.
Ntwalana praised Sunduza’s writing skills, saying he was impressed by his passion for the language. “Many young people nowadays do not know how to speak Xhosa properly or write the language, so it helps when we have these talented young writers who take pride in helping to preserve the language,” he said.