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Humble Hermie is top poet

It was an experience of a lifetime when local resident Jaco Fouché was crowned the Avbob Poetry Competition’s English winner.

Each individual, regardless of background, is bound by the common experiences of birth and death, of loss and love. And everyone struggles to find words to articulate these transformative moments in our lives.

Avbob understands this all too well and launched a poetry competition in August 2017 in all 11 official languages.

The launch year of the Avbob Poetry Competition gave South Africa the gentlest, most authentic form of bereavement support – a poetry portal crafted by ordinary people of all ages, in all 11 official languages.

The second year of the competition saw the community of poets grow to more than 11 000, and witnessed the submission of more than 29 000 poems, up from 22 000 the previous year – all for the benefit of the bereaved. About to enter its third year, the competition confirms the power of poetry to heal and uplift, and affirms the fact that lines on a page can alter lives.

And lives were indeed altered when the Avbob Poetry Prize winners of the second competition were announced at a gala evening on 25 July. The calibre of poems crafted across this year’s competition made it a challenge for the 11 language editors to choose the winners.

Fouché is a clerk and retail salesman by day, but has worn many hats: computer programmer, barman and copywriter.

He now resides in Hermanus with his wife, and freelances, writing short stories, reviews, novels and young adult books. He’s been honing his poetic craft since his early schooldays, and while prose is his passion, poetry has always informed his work.

He has won several prizes for novels in Afrikaans, including the Eugène Marais Prize in 1997.

The sudden death of a friend in 2017 inspired him to enter the competition, as a way to articulate and unpack his feelings of loss.

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