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Budding poet publishes own book

Kenya Davids did what even the most established writers often struggle to do – she put pen to paper.

Originally from Paarl, this talented wordsmith published a book of 40 poems entitled Rebirth in mid-May this year.

Her biggest inspiration came from her father Chester, also a writer, while a little push from a generous social media following enabled her to pursue her dream – especially Instagram, a platform for sharing videos and photographs.

“I used to post really long captions on Instagram, and the response I got from followers was really positive,” Davids says, “and I think that’s what motivated me to put my words out there.”

She says a variety of themes are explored in Rebirth, including heartbreak, family and personal experiences. “The last section is completely dedicated to femmes,” Davids says, “and all the poems in that section explore femininity and the barriers we face as women.”

And surely for her it did not take long to write the book, as some of the poems in it she had compiled long before. These took up space on her cellphone note folder on her cellphone, while other poems were scribbled on receipts during her free time at work as a waitress.

“The idea of compiling them into a single book came to me only at the beginning of the year,” she said. “So the process took about two months.

“Honestly, I didn’t face any challenges writing this book, but coming up with the money to print the books was quite tricky. I did it all by myself and saved up money working as a waitress for a year.”

But ultimately, the biggest lesson Davids learnt in all of this was the power of words.

“Words have the ability to heal, inspire and bring people together!” she declared. “I also learned that anything is possible. I wanted to publish my own book before I turned 21, and I did that, so it feels great to accomplish a goal I set for myself.”

Two of her favourite poems in the book are “Magician” and “Caramel”.

“Magician” tackles the difficulties women face when they have their period.

“I really enjoyed writing this poem,” she says. “It’s short and to the point and I think it’s something a lot of us can relate to.”

“Caramel” is about coloured girls, and how they have the “earth bubbling inside their skin.” She performed the latter and finished top five at the Slam Poetry competition in Stellenbosch.

“My friends always used to tell me I have a way of putting things into words, something that is quite hard ... I stumbled into my passion for writing at the same time I found my passion for social injustice, I think that’s why a lot of the things I write revolve around girl power and coloured culture.”

Regarding future plans, she is hoping to publish another book, hence the ending of Rebirth, “till next time”.

“I want my next book to be longer, and for a different target audience. Rebirth was only to get my name out there!”

Although she did not particularly excel in languages, Davids says that subjects at school restrict creativity, and do not allow children to truly be themselves.

She is in the midst of planning several slam poetry events in different parts of Cape Town.

One of them will be at the Raptor Room sometime in October and will be featuring her together with a few other women of colour.

Davids turns 21 in December and is currently studying Journalism at City Varsity.

“Self publishing my own book was a huge accomplishment and I’m incredibly proud of myself. I feel like there are so many issues happening in this country that not a lot of us are willing to speak out about. I hope to be a voice for the voiceless, especially for my women”.

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